Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - May 2015

Posted On: Friday, May 1, 2015

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

It is hard to believe how beautiful the weather still is. 

The sky in the mornings has been the colour of doves, pale lavender and dusky pink interspersed with small cotton wool clouds, and this backlit by the sun. 

It is so beautiful it humbles me that we live in such a beautiful world.

The only thing I am not happy about is to hear everyone else talking about the amount of rain they have had whilst, here at Random Harvest, we are down on last year’s rainfall by 40% - not fair!

In the Nursery

Mother’s Day

Why not bring your Mom along to visit us on Mother’s Day for breakfast, tea or lunch.  All mothers will get a gift of seeds to create a beautiful grassland bed in their gardens.

Hope to see you here.

Bird Walk

Andre Marx has once again agreed to do a bird walk for us on the 16th May.  If we are lucky the Fairy flycatcher will have arrived back at Random Harvest.  Isn’t it strange how little we think of birds migrating to overwinter here?

Time 7.00 for 7.30am:     Cost R100.00 per person including coffee and homemade biscuits on arrival and a hearty breakfast after the walk. Booking is essential:  Please call David on 082-553-0598 to secure your place.

Bulb Society Meeting

The Bulb society will be hosting a talk by Alan Tait on ‘Plant Propagation Tips and Techniques’ here at Random Harvest on 23rd May at 14h00.  It should be interesting.  You are welcome to come along and hopefully become a member of the society. 

For further info contact Margaret O'Carroll at [email protected]

Hearth to Health is a visionary culinary and nutrition education experience!

As you know I am very interested in healthy eating and am really pleased to introduce Liz Kullman RD (SA) who is a nutrition expert who will help start your ‘best health food journey’

These sessions will give you nutrition knowledge, health supportive recipes and cooking insights to help you nurture your and your family’s health. 

The focus is on what food actually does in your body and for your health based on traditional food wisdom and modern nutrition science. Then that knowledge is translated, using basic cooking skills into delicious, easy-to-create recipes that will nourish you to your core.

In May and June Liz will be running the following 4 workshop session of ‘FOOD AS MEDICINE’ that could change your life by creating a foundation of health.

You may attend only 1 or 2 sessions but would gain a better understanding and foundation by attending all 4.

Nourishing Bites and Build Your Best Defence Cuisine – May 29th and 30th, 2015
• Learn about the science of health and longevity. Navigate a health template for your life and go in depth into Gut health.

Deep Clean High Octane Cuisine - June 5th and 6th, 2015
• Boost your energy and immune health.

Seed, Land and Sea Omega-3 Cuisine – June 12 and13th, 2015
• Put to rest the big fat debate and learn about the need for healthy fats in the foods we eat.

Slow Food Cuisine – June 19th and 20th, 2015
• Learn about the benefits of Fibre rich cuisine.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: visit: www.dieticiansatwork.co.za

Cost: R425.00 each or R 1600.00 for all four courses:
To Book: Contact Liz: 083 456 3445 or Email: [email protected]

New in Shop

Clopas has made some beautiful hanging Tea Light Candle Holders that are in the shape of a ladybird.  Once again this talented man has come up with something that will add atmosphere to your patio or garden.  You could also use them to hold insect repelling candles when you are braaing or sitting outside.

Plants that are looking good

Tecomaria capensis - Cape Honeysuckle (E); Kaapse Kanferfoelie (A)

This may be a fairly commonly available indigenous plant but it flowers reliably and is also a great plant for a wildlife garden.

If you look at these pictures and see the combinations of colours it is like a painting in your garden.

Prune them regularly to keep in shape as they can get a little wild.

They tolerate shade for part of the day but require enough sun to flower well.


Gomphostigma virgatum - River Stars (E); Otterbossie (A)

This delicate looking plant is actually extremely hardy.  I have seen it blooming happily in winter in the middle of a stream in the Free State – that is hardy. 

Plant it in or out of water where it will bloom happily almost all year round.

As it is quite a delicate so you would need to plant a few close together to get the effect.

Prune regularly to help it bush out a little.


Arctotis hybrid ‘Little Pink’

What can one say about this beautiful groundcover with its silver grey foliage and masses of pink daisy like flowers?

Plant in well-drained soil in full sun and water sparingly

Remove the dead flowers and prune lightly to encourage flowering during the growing season, which is in autumn, winter and on through to the end of spring.  The rest of the year it is a beautiful foliage plant that adds colour and texture to the garden.

A really worthwhile plant for planting along banks and hanging over retaining walls. 

An added bonus is that it attracts butterflies and many tiny insects as food for birds, frogs and lizards, to the garden.

Ruttya fruticosa - Jammy Mouth (E); Jêmbekkie (A)

This beautiful, medium sized, evergreen shrub has glossy foliage.  It bears masses of the unusual red flowers with a dark, almost black, glossy throat from spring through to late summer. 

It will grow and flower with as little as 2 hours of sunshine in the day and can be pruned to keep it to the size you require.

It is not strictly indigenous, according to my own personal definition which is north of the Fynbos and South of the Limpopo, as there are way too many plants for me to grow in that area alone, but comes from Zimbabwe – even so I could not resist it.

Kraussia floribunda - Rhino-coffee (E); Renosterkoffie (A)

I have been begging Jeffrey to grow this plant which grows beautifully in the shade and in a container – at long last I have some for sale.

You could prune it into a lovely small, glossy leafed tree or keep it as a shrub. I grows in semi-shade or shade and likes a compost rich soil.

The flowers are not huge but quite delicate and borne in beautiful clusters.  It then bears sweet tasting purple fruits that the birds love.

Jeffrey has definitely polished his marbles by producing this lovely shrub.

Isolepis cernua - Fibreoptic grass (E)

This delicate, tufted, little water grass only grows to a height of about 10 to 15cm and grows well in both a well irrigated garden and directly in water.

Its tiny size makes it ideal for planting at the edges of a wildlife pond or flower bed. I just love its delicacy.

Aloe fosteri - Foster’s Aloe (E)

I know I go on about this beautiful, trouble free Aloe every year at this time.  Every year in April I am astounded by its beauty and what makes it even more special it is the first Aloe in the season to bloom.  Being a small spotted Aloe is can be used even in the smallest of gardens.

The best part of the display is the number of insects and sunbirds that are busy in amongst the flowers.

This year Jeffrey outdid himself with this lovely picture of a White Bellied Sunbird in amongst the flowers.

Metarungia pubinervia - Red Sunbird Bush (E); Rooisuikerbekkiebos (A)

A beautiful quite large shrub (up to 2m here in Gauteng) with attractive almost quilted, large dark green leaves.  Its most beautiful feature are these bright red flowers that attract a whole host of insects and sunbirds to the garden.

A useful shrub for semi-shade and shady areas in the garden.

It is found in a restricted area in the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve but still tolerates our Highveld winters well.

I have added pictures of the well-known and well-loved Diascia.

Mike was told that Diascia will resprout after looking dead so he decided to test the theory.

He allowed the plant on the right to dry out completely until it looked completely dead.  Imagine our surprise when, given a little water, this delicate looking plant sprouted again from the roots.

I think if your plants start to look a little scruffy, cut them back, let them dry out and then water to start them afresh.

Plants never cease to amaze me!

DIY Pond Kit
Why not install a lovely wildlife pond in your garden as your winter project.

This kit contains everything you need – Full instructions, pump, piping, biofilter and 9 sq. meter of liner.  The durable plastic box it comes in also has a multitude of uses.

Price R4995.00.  You can order it directly from us.

On the Farm

The Highveld Bulb Society meeting last month held a course by James Haxton on how to photograph flowers.

Jeffrey, who has always taken the pictures for the newsletter, attended.

It is amazing how much he learned in one afternoon and I can already see the difference.

Jeffrey and I went down to the dam and as we came around the corner we saw Yellow Billed Duck, Green Backed Night Heron, Black Headed Heron, Moorhen, Egyptian Geese, Purple Heron, Dabchick, White Breasted Cormorant, Baby Guinea fowl and an added bonus of a hare at the same time. 

No wonder I love this farm so much!  A nature reserve in my back garden.

Birdlife South Africa held a bird walk here last month.  In the space of about 2 hours they saw 60 different species. 

Including a Malachite Kingfisher with a fish in his beak.

He is one of the many fish eating birds feasting on my R3000 worth of Tilapia that I stocked the dam with.  Little do they know I did it for them? 

I am not sure how long the Tilapia will last although I did put lots of hiding places in the dam for them to give them a chance at survival.

I added this picture Jeffrey took of a Tawny Flanked Prinia for no other reason than I just loved it. 

These cute tiny birds are so busy they are a pleasure to just sit and watch them as they go about their business.

The Black Collared Barbet excavated this hole in the branch of a Tipuana (no matter how I dislike alien trees they sometimes have their uses). 

What always amazes me is how perfect the circle is at the entrance to the hole. 

They obviously have an inner compass to create this sort of perfection.

Talking of aliens these fungus fruiting head are growing on the remains of the stumps of the Casuarinas that lined our driveway. 

The fungi have slowly decomposed them so that now, you can break off chunks of wood with your hands.

I am going to miss these beautiful mushrooms when they have finished their job and the stumps have disappeared.

Talking of mushrooms I am surprised at the number of mushrooms we have had growing here as we have had so little rain.

I guess it is because the rain has come in dribs and drabs of 2 or 3 mm at a time and kept the humidity high.

Lots of different plants are seeding at the moment and I added some pictures of some beautiful ones.



Cyphostemma juttae - Namibian Grape (E); Basterkobas (A)

This impressive large succulent has huge grey leaves and bunches of gorgeous red seeds that are also much sought after by birds.


Cryptocarya transvaalensis - Mountain Wild-Quince (E); Wildekweper (A)

It is just loaded with beautiful huge black berries just offering themselves up to the birds to come and eat them and distribute them.  Tell me the birds and we humans have not been tamed by plants and put to work at ensuring they are widely distributed and don’t only grow under the mother plant.

The Eco Easter Egg Hunt for the children is now over.

The children seem to have had a lot of fun and as usual my staff were so amazing with them. 

How many times did I see a child just take one of them by the hand and lead them to the Urban Farm Display where the clues to the hunt were?

We had two heifer calves born on the same day in April. 

My mom was really pleased as most of the previous calves born this season were bull calves which doesn’t help with milk production. 

She was despairing of her beautiful bull who she thought had a predisposition to producing bull calves.  Happily she was proved wrong.

The chickens that were hatched last month are growing up so quickly. 

They are already scratching around in the soil with their mom.

My gardening efforts are going well.

We have finished the succulent bed which, I think, is looking absolutely amazing. 

I can’t wait for it to settle and grow a bit more and see how it develops.

The next bed I have started is the Plectranthus bed.  I had to do this one as the irrigation system is so old and needs refurbishing. 

So bad luck for gardening for a while as I will be doing nothing but digging up the bed and replacing irrigation pipes. 

Wish me luck!  I will keep you posted on how we are doing.

I so love seeing all our loyal customers relaxing and just enjoying what we have created here at Random Harvest. 

My staff and I would also like to thank you and let you know how much we appreciate your support.  So a VERY BIG THANK YOU from all of us.

It is due to this support that we are celebrating 25 years of Random Harvest this year. 

In October we are going to have a lot of fun events and talks by wonderful people such as Elsa Pooley. 

Watch this space and I will keep you posted of all the arrangements.



Cell 079-872-8975
email [email protected]

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