Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - June 2015

Posted On: Monday, June 1, 2015

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

The first cold front has arrived with a shock especially after the amazing warm autumn weather which, I must say, seems to have confused some plants.  Considering it is almost mid-winter we should consider ourselves lucky. 

The thing I love most about this time of the year is the quality of the light and how it lights the stems of the trees. 

It is at this time of the year that you can see the beautiful architecture of the trees. 

Like this beautiful Acacia sieberiana (Paper Bark) in the nursery.


The bark of the other tree that is outstanding at this time of the year is the Acacia xanthophloea (Fever Tree). 

It is now that you can see the beautiful markings which I think look like hieroglyphics.  

I think if I could find the key I could talk to the tree.

In the nursery


Courtyard Display

We have built a new courtyard garden display. It is formal and modern and I can’t believe that I love this display as it is a far cry from what we normally do. I love the bits of glittering red glass pebbles amongst the plants.

Read more about the plants we used on our blog

I hope it inspires you and shows just how much you can do in a small space.

Urban Farm

It is such a privilege to have our customers use Random Harvest Nursery to celebrate special days.

This couple were celebrating, I think, their 50th wedding anniversary and sitting relaxing in the Urban Farm display.

It is not only the customers who are enjoying the display but the Mousebirds as well.

They are really enjoying the spinach – not leaving much for me.

If you have missed the display I suggest you pay us a visit to see it as we will soon be taking it down and replacing it with a herb garden.




Bird Walk

On the 4th of July Andre Marx will once again be taking a bird walk. It is a good time to see the birds as many of the trees are leafless or have thinning leaves making it much easier to see and identify the birds.

On the last walk they saw 60 different species of bird in a few hours. Most of these were spotted at the dam, as every fish eating bird in the area is feasting on the Tilapia I stocked the dam with!

Date: 4th July, 2015 Time: 7h00 for 7h30 Price: R100.00.
The price includes tea and homemade biscuits on arrival and a breakfast afterwards.
at the dam as every fish eating bird in the area is feasting on the Tilapia I stocked the dam with.
Date: 4th July, 2015 Time: 7h00 for 7h30 Price: R100.00.
The price includes tea and homemade biscuits on arrival and a breakfast afterwards.


Father’s Day

Why not relax with your father on Father’s Day here at Random Harvest. We are doing a breakfast special of eggs, bacon grilled tomato, sausages and spicy baked beans served with toast, homemade jams and tea or coffee for just R65.00 per person.

There will also be a small gift waiting for him to show our appreciation of your ongoing support.

Domestic Gardener Training

Every month, between 12 and 16 gardeners come for a day's training at our nursery. Lindsay Gray, principal of the School of Garden Design, together with one of my staff, takes the students through a range of garden principles which are then put into practice in a section of our gardens. We have had much positive feedback on this course and are pleased to be offering the course again on the following dates.

21 August; 23 October and 20 November – COST R650 per person

Advanced Domestic Gardener Training

In probably the quietest and coldest month of the year - July - Lindsay is offering a two-day advanced workshop for gardeners on 23/24 July.

The course curriculum is as follows:

Workshop One: Practical and creative aspects of design; measuring; design principles (including a practical) and plan interpretation (a must for workers in the landscape field)

Workshop Two: Learning to draw an accurate plan for an area including scale, formal and informal design, sketching and plan presentation

Employers may send their gardeners on the one or both of the workshops.

COST R1700.00

Introduction to Garden Design, Maintenance and Plan Drawing

This invaluable course for homeowners, novice gardeners and designers who might need a bit of inspiration, will be offered on the following dates:

22/23 August, 24/25 October and 21/22 November

To reserve your place on any of these courses, kindly email Lindsay on [email protected], or call 082 44 99 237. You can also speak to David Valoyi in our Front Office.

COST Workshop one R920.00, Workshop one R1100.00.


Plants looking good

The Dyschoriste thunbergiflora (Purple Dyschoriste) with its purple flowers and the Barleria obtusa (Bush Violet) with its lilac flowers are competing with each other to see which can produce the most flowers. As you can see from the picture the insects are also enjoying the bounty of their competition.

They can be planted in semi shade or sun in compost rich soil. The Barleria is a bit hardier than the Dyschoriste. Prune the Barleria back by at least one third after flowering and the Dyschoriste a little less to keep it dense and to encourage flowering the next season.

The Dyschoriste makes a wonderful medium sized hedge as well.

At this time of year the Leonotis leonurus (Wild Dagga) is also in full bloom.

If you plant them as a backdrop to the Barleria mentioned above it makes a magnificent show of colour. You would need to keep the Barleria trimmed in front of it.

Plant in full sun or at least 5 hours of sunshine per day. Prune right back (at least two thirds) to encourage mass flowering the following season.

I often thought how lucky we are and how blasé we are about the beautiful plants we can grow in our gardens. Can you imagine if this plant was blooming in a garden in Europe? People would be awestruck at its beauty while we just take it for granted.

The bonus is that the Sunbirds and insects buzz around the flowers collecting their meal of the day.

It seems that this month all I am doing is talking about orange and blue flowers.

The Black Eyed Susan (Thunbergia alata) is in bloom and looking so cheerful, as usual.

This fast growing creeper comes in a variety of colours from white through to pink, yellow and orange and blooms for long periods in the year.

It takes full sun but not very hot sun. I always find it grows a little better in either half day shade or light shade.

Plant in compost rich but well-drained soil and support it to help it to climb. The one in the picture is twining around a post in front of the tea garden storeroom.

Cut back quite severely after flowering.

Once again an orange flower. A few of the Clivias are confused and flowering now.

Now is a good time to think of them as they flower en masse in spring with their beautiful apricot-orange flowers.

Compost them well and layer the soil with mulch. You can water them about once a week and increase this to 3 times a week as we near spring.

It is also a good time to think about harvesting their seeds. Remember not to clean the seed until you are ready to plant them so they don’t dry out.




On the farm

The bird feeding table has been incredibly busy. Like a highway at peak hour with the birds queuing up for their turn at the food. Others are so aggressive they are shouting at the birds that are busy to get a move on.

At 4 o’clock the noise becomes deafening with the Weavers descending en masse on the table. The more noise they make the more I love them.

The dead tree I put in the nursery is a definite hit with the birds as are the beautiful wire and beaded bird feeders that Clopas makes for us. Just to mention we have new stock of the feeders that both attract the birds and are decorative.

The Grey Go-away-bird has found the feeding table and is costing me a fortune in fruit which he is sharing with the Black Collared Barbet. Not that I mind spending the money as I just love sitting for a few minutes in my frantic day just watching them.


If you look carefully at the picture you will see that the bees are also taking advantage of the juice seeping out of the fruit. Talk about killing 2 birds with one stone.

A new visitor to the feeding table was this Green Hoopoe.

As excited as I was to see him, the Cape Glossy Starling was really mad at the Green Hoopoe who was eating what, he obviously considered, his own private stash of a suet slab.

Luckily the Starling made such a racket that I had to go and check what was going on and saw the Green Hoopoe.

It seems the cost of stocking up the bird feeding station will skyrocket with these new visitors but who is counting when they bring all of us such pleasure.

The birds are getting really cheeky.

This Dove went and pecked a hole in the bag of birdseed.

It is much easier to feast on loose seed rather than having to work at pecking the seeds from the seed bells we make for them.

I was excited to see the Groundscraper Thrush back at Random Harvest.

He seems to only visit us in winter.

He loves scratching around in the disturbed areas of soil in the nursery.

Jeffrey, Timothy and I have had lots of fun pruning the Paperbarks in the nursery.

When Timothy has a chain saw in his hands it is like ‘boys with toys’. He loves working with it whilst I am terrified of the chainsaw.


The trees are looking absolutely beautiful after their pruning. I can’t believe how much we cut and what a heap of wood there was.

It is always a good idea to prune your trees to keep them in shape and allow a little sun to penetrate which is good for the plants that you grow under the trees.

It seems, most times, I am losing the war with the moles on this farm and I don’t like being defeated.

It started with me taking my bulbs out of the open ground and putting them in packets. The picture is of the holes they have made in the plastic and into the plastic bags where they are feasting on my bulbs.

The next step in trying to fool them is to plant in pots and hopefully this works.

I have tried every environmentally friendly way of controlling them. I even offer a R100 reward for every mole my staff catch and then I relocate them.

Unfortunately for every relocated one another takes their place. Well! One just has to be philosophical and keep trying to outwit them. As a human being it is quite insulting that a tiny creature like a mole can outwit you.

This dead tree fell over a few weeks ago.

It was really quite sad as it was full of nesting holes for birds.

Remember not to clean all the dead wood out of your garden as these dead branches are important for nesting and as a food source for birds who feast on the insects breaking down the wood.

A customer sent me these beautiful pictures of a Hummingbird Moth feeding on the nectar of the Ribbon Bush (Hypoestes aristata). If you look carefully at the picture you will see its incredibly long proboscis through which it sips the nectar whilst hovering in front of the flower just like a Humming Bird. Isn’t nature just wonderful and perfectly engineered?

The Aloe arborescens (Krantz Aloe) are in full bloom on the farm and looking magnificent.

It is hard to believe that the Aloes you see in the picture were taken out of a garden to be discarded. Luckily the lady called me and we were able to save them.


Celebrating 25 years in business - Thank you for your support

I love it when I see my customers enjoying what we have created here at Random Harvest.

We had a few High Tea functions for birthdays and anniversaries last month and everyone seems to have had a lot of fun.

People relaxing and enjoying themselves in our display gardens also keeps me striving to change things and keep them interesting for them to enjoy.

It is also great for city kids to have a farm experience.

Luckily we are blessed with really patient staff who take the time to teach the children how to milk a cow.

Where else but at Random Harvest? Just to mention the cows are really patient as well.

I would also like to say thank you to everyone who visited us on Mother’s Day which was a great success.

I also need to mention our tea garden staff who served 320 customers with only 2 mild little complaints. Well done to them!

Luckily we have been preparing for the cold and the plants are well-wrapped up at the onset of this first really cold snap. Fingers crossed that we don’t get frost damage.

The last plant of this newsflash has to be this wonderful picture of a butterfly sipping on the glistening flower of Delosperma lydenbergensis (Klipvygie). This lovely groundcover flowers for most of the year offering us beautiful flowers and nectar for the butterflies.

My final wonderful bird sighting this month was a flock of Hadeda Ibis flying over my pool in the early morning. The rising sun catching their wings changed them to silver.

Imagine how beautiful to see a flock of shining silver birds flying over you. I really love my life and all the beautiful things I see here.

Wrap up warmly.



Cell 079-872-8975
email [email protected]

For directions please go to our website www.randomharvest.co.za : or call 082-553-0598

Hours of business 8:00 to 17:00 Monday to Sundays

Cottages 072-562-3396 : Nursery 082-553-0598

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