Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - September 2015

Posted On: Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

We are galloping up to our 25th Birthday celebrations and the fruition of all the amazing events we have organised for you.


There are a number that I just have to share with you.

Events in September

Bird Walk

Andre has kindly agreed to do bird walks for us in both September and October.  These should prove interesting as the migrants are returning. 

Some of my customers have reported that they have already seen swallows arriving.  If you are lucky you may see the Chestnut Vented Tit-Babbler and the Grey Headed Bush Shrike which they saw last time.

The dates are
Sat. 19 Sept. 7.00 for 7.30am
Sat. 3 Oct 6.30 for 7.00am.
Booking Essential:  Please call David on 082-553-0598: Cost: R100.00 including coffee and biscuits on arrival, the walk and breakfast with Andre afterwards.

High Tea with Linda and Jeffrey

You are invited to spend some time with Jeffrey and I, me talking about Gardening for Wildlife and then take a walk in the garden where we can show what we do to have the amazing array of bird, butterfly and insect species at Random Harvest.

There with be a scrumptious High Tea served and we will also be giving you a booklet on Biodiversity Gardening.

This event is being hosted to raise funds for South African Riding for the disabled.
Date: 12th September, 2015 Time: 10 for 10.30 Cost: R150.00 per person including High Tea, the walk and talk and the booklet.

Their banking details are below, please email proof of payment to them with the details Random Harvest Event at [email protected].  This will confirm your participation
SA Riding for the Disabled Association
Nedbank  -  Clearwater Branch - Branch Code 182 505 - Account Number 1983 100 749

Website Marketing Workshop - 19 September 2015

Ryan Ebedes will once again be presenting a website & content marketing workshop here at Random Harvest, at 9am on Saturday 19th of September.

Based on feedback from the previous workshop, Ryan has extended the content into two sessions, and will be covering "Building your online presence" in the morning session, and "Creating and managing a WordPress website" in the afternoon.

Ryan and Glenice from Grounded Landscaping manage their own website and receive over 90% of their business from it, so these are step-by-step sessions on how other small businesses can do the same. 

Cost is R280pp per session or R520pp for the full day (which includes a Random Harvest lunch of toasted sandwiches).  Seats are limited to 15 per session. To book, go to www.thorntreemarketing.co.za/workshops

Here is a comment from the previous course:

"We will definitely keep an eye out for more courses that you will be offering. Informative, educational and very interesting - well-presented and easy to understand - especially for someone who is not au fait with internet terminology." - Teresa McCabe, www.blockwatchops.co.za

Domestic Gardener Training

Once again we had a really successful training.  I just love hosting these events and seeing how the students gain confidence over the day.  I have had a lot of very positive feedback on these empowering courses. 

Lindsay will run two more courses on 23rd October and 20th November.

Please book early if you would like your gardener to attend.  The cost of the course is R650. Contact either David on 082-553-0598 or Lindsay on 082 44 99 237 or email [email protected] to book

Introduction to Garden Design

Our nursery offers the ideal environment for gardeners to learn the design steps that will ensure a low maintenance, eco-friendly garden for all to enjoy.

Join Lindsay Gray of The School of Garden Design on 24/25 October or 21/22 November for one or both introductory design workshops that she offers at our nursery. Email Lindsay on [email protected] or David on [email protected]

I sent William on the course, which as you can see from the picture completely fascinated him - he really loved it.

Celebration Events

Please book early to avoid disappointment. See full details at the end of the newsletter.

I am so excited to have the amazing authors and plants people, Braam van Wyk and Elsa Pooley helping us to celebrate.

They are the two people I most respect most.  Their many publications have contributed the greatest amount to the knowledge both my staff and I have garnered over the years. I have booked myself and my staff for some of the events with them.

Elsa will be giving the following walks and talks
17th Oct. Identifying Indigenous Trees using a plant key
18th Oct. A celebration of small things (Wildflower Walk).

Braam will be conducting 2 Grassland walks on Sat. 24th Oct. and Sun. 25th Oct.

Jane Griffiths will do a talk on Urban Food Gardening on the 17th Oct
Full details below.


Maureen Rugani well-known ceramic artist will be exhibiting her paintings, a ‘new’ passion of hers for the whole month of October.  I have asked her to do some grassland landscape pictures.  I am so mad about grasslands I am sure I will be her first customer.

Africa Yarona (This beautiful Africa of ours), a talented group of sculptors and artists will also be exhibiting for the whole of Oct. 

They are internationally renowned and some of the members will be on hand to answer questions and do demonstrations.

Publishers and specialist food and plant day at Random Harvest

We are excited to host this event on Saturday 17th October.  We have carefully selected authors and book publishers, and the Highveld Bulb Society and WOSA (Wild Orchids of Southern Africa) will be present. We believe in feeding body as well as mind and soul – on good, sustainable things.  We will have some exciting sustainable food producers selling their produce on the day too.

My obsession with books of an environmental nature is second only to the indigenous plants that I love so much! So it seemed fitting to include books in our quarter century celebrations…and we are doing so in what I believe is going to be a fantastic day. 

Elsa Pooley will be joining us for a whole week before the 17th October, and she will also be representing the Flora Publications Trust with some of their books.  Jane Griffiths is going to be joining us, and will be promoting her latest book Jane’s Delicious Urban Garden. 

Bruce Stead (Creative Indigenous Garden Design) and Kevin Gill (Wild Flowers of The Magaliesberg) will also be present to buy books from, ask questions and sign books. 

We will also have publishing houses present, with their books, including Briza Publications and the specialist publisher, Umdaus Press.

It would be lovely to see you here on this day to help us celebrate.

Linda And Jeffrey

If you would like to spend some time with Jeffrey and I while we share our passion for our indigenous plants and all the creatures that live with them we will be doing the following walks and talks.


7th October – Gardening for Biodiversity from 10.00am to noon.  This will be an interactive discussion about the delights of gardening to invite wildlife in to visit or stay.  Cost: R130.00 – includes High Tea, a booklet on Gardening for Biodiversity and a lucky draw.

10th October – Garden Walk and Talk 9.00am to 11.30am.  Meander through the garden with us while we share the history and how it has evolved and what our plans are.  Lots of tips on plant choices on what to plant where.  Cost R70.00 including Tea.

11th October Tree Walk 9.30am to 12.00 noon.  We will introduce you to the trees we love and share our fascination and some of our many observations with you.  We will give you tips on what to plant and some of the birds and other creatures we have observed.  Cost R70.00 including Tea.

Childrens’ Activities

We have organised events for the children to coincide with the Walks and Talks so that the parents can enjoy their event knowing that the children are catered for as well. 

All the activities are R35.00 each which includes a juice. The full details are on the program below.  Please remember booking is essential for all events.


Spring has come early this year and the plants have responded to the balmy weather.

The spring flowering plants are looking splendid at the moment and are offering up a real bounty of nectar and pollen for the bees and other insects.   They will also really brighten up a sunny corner and attract butterflies.

Osteospermum, Gazania, Nemesia and Felicia Hybrids all showing off for Spring.

The Diospyros whyteana (Bladdernut) are looking magnificent with their glossy red and dark green leaves and their beautiful, tiny bell-like, hairy flowers. 

A great little tree for containers and semi shade areas.


Selago glomerata (Blouaarbossie).  This small shrub is so floriferous that it is hard to find a time when there are only a few flowers in order to prune it back. 

It is an absolute butterfly magnet that will add real colour and beauty to a sunny spot in the garden.

Now is the time when our beloved Clivia’s light up the shady part of the garden with their beautiful huge orange and yellow flowering stems.

A shady garden without Clivia is a poor area indeed.


Two wonderfully fragrant plants are blooming on either side of the entrance.  The Carissa bispinosa (Forest Num Num) is on the left as you come in.  It is covered in clusters of white flowers.  Believe it or not this is the first time I have noticed their fragrance. 

This plant is not only great for the flowers but the red berries ripen for most of the summer - a great food source for fruit eating birds.

On the left is Jasminum multipartitum (Starry Wild Jasmine) which, as one would expect, is deliciously fragrant. 

This lovely creeper is very hardy, evergreen and a really easy plant to grow. 

It also offers juicy black berries for the fruit eating birds.

Other Goodies

I have managed to source some lovely pots for your garden. 

I hope the planting at the entrance will give you some inspiration on just how colourful and lovely pots can be.

Also new in the shop is a kids card game ‘Menzo’ which is not only fun but educational at the same time.

They will learn many interesting facts about our wildlife from these colourful and beautiful cards.

The producers of this game will also be joining us on the 17th for the Publishers day and will answer any of your questions.


Succulent Display

We have moved the succulent display and it is looking so beautiful with the different textures and colour leaves that succulents have.

On The Farm

It seems a little early for everything to start sprouting but every time I go into the nursery I see huge changes.

I love the delicate new foliage on the deciduous trees at this time of year.


One of my all-time favourite is, of course, Celtis africana (White stinkwood) with its tracery of tender green leaves.


Jeff took this picture of the Red Faced Mousebirds sitting on an Ehretia rigida (Puzzlebush) last month.  They look as if they are just waiting for the Ehretia to burst into bud which it has now done. Soon they will be feasting on juicy orange berries.

The stems of the Rapanea melanophloes (Cape Beech) are almost obscured by the massed white flowers clustered along them.  These will also produce juicy purple berries soon and the Mousebirds will be in their seventh heaven with the masses of food all around them, as will all the other fruit eating birds,

The leaves of the Ficus burtt-davyii  (Scrambling Fig) turned this beautiful golden colour over the last few weeks in preparation for dropping off to make way for the new foliage.

The mother plant of the Euphorbia woodii is blooming for the first time. 

Interestingly enough, when Mike first identified this Euphorbia it was growing in a seep. 

Really unusual for a succulent.

This is Euphorbia caput medusa.  This is really one of the weird and wonderful plants. 

It is the first time I have seen this plant in flower and it is really strange with these most unusual flowers on the tips of the stems.

Mike and Jonathan found this fungus in their garden. 

It looks and feels like a petrified mushroom.  Something I have never seen before. 

I have it in my office as an ornament. 

Nature is always so full of surprises and each one of them teaches us something and helps us to live our lives full of wonder.

The fruit trees are covered in blossoms at the moment.  Hopefully, this year, they will lead to a bumper crop that we can turn into jam and preserves.

I, in my wisdom, decided that the Strelitzia reginae (Craneflower) in the picture was in the wrong place in one of the beds I am trying to upgrade.

Well! I certainly misjudged the size of this plant. It was huge.

It took 12 men to lift it onto the trailer. 

I am so lucky I have such involved, committed and willing staff to help me carry on with my dreams, they do everything with a smile even when I ask them to lift about 500kg.


The Brown Hooded Kingfisher is getting so tame, he sits out in the open even when there is a lot of activity around him. 

Previously we were lucky to see him obscured by dense foliage. 

He is also very vocal in the morning and I love waking up to his call.

The Grey Headed Bush Shrike is also getting very vocal with his haunting call.  I hear him at different times throughout the day.  Unfortunately Jeff has not managed to get a picture of him to show you …….we live in hope!

Talking of pictures Jeffrey, David, Ruben and William are lucky enough to have a really good photographer, Richard, come out and give them lessons.  They have learned a huge amount in only 2 sessions. 

The problem is that now with 4 people enthusiastic about taking pictures, my computer is getting overrun with pictures.  I know I am going to have huge problems in the future choosing pictures to share with you.

Jeff took this lovely picture of a dove where you can see each feather defined.

Doves may be common but they can always amuse one.  This dove has found a safe and secure place to lay its eggs – in a hanging basket in the compost room.  She takes absolutely no notice of the staff working in there, just enjoys her own private corner patiently sitting on her eggs.

Andre didn’t believe me when I told him we had our own personal beige Karroo Thrush. 

Luckily Jeff got this picture to prove what we saw. 

I first saw him in the early morning light where he looked positively ghostly.

The Black Collared Barbet are starting to drill new nesting holes in this old tree stump as you can see from the fruiting heads of the bracket fungus.

Whilst on the subject of holes we found these two: one made by a spider with all its webs around it.  My staff saw a big Rinkhals disappear into one hole.  I am always excited when we see a Rinkhals as it is one of the indicator species of a healthy environment.



We were privileged to be visited by The Horticultural Green Group an enthusiastic group of young people who are endlessly interested in horticulture and the environment. 

It is gratifying to know that the future of our industry is in good hands. 

A last little tip. 

If you are having problems with your irrigation (as I have been) take off the spray heads and check if there is anything blocking them. 

The picture perfectly illustrated what was wrong with my irrigation.  

Clean them and pop them back on and hopefully that will clear up any problems.

One has to be so vigilant to control alien species. 

As you know, I am so aware of them and yet still missed these masses of seedlings of Ligustrum (Privet). 

Jolam has done an excellent job of weeding them out from under the bushclumps in the grassland.

We have been burning the grassland in anticipation of the grassland walk with Braam Van Wyk. 

He asked us to do so to encourage the wildflowers to pop up. 

If we have a little shower of rain the grassland will look magnificent. 

Hoping to see you at some the exciting events.

Happy gardening.



Cell 079-872-8975
email [email protected]

Whole Month

Art exhibition by Maureen Rugani
8am to 5pm daily

Beautiful paintings exhibited and on sale that echo our love for the environment and all things natural.
Open 8am to 5pm daily.
No charge

Garden Sculpture Exhibition
8am – 5pm daily

Sculpture pieces exhibited and for sale, by various craftsmen in Southern Africa Open 8am to 5pm daily.
No charge

3 October - Saturday

Bird Walk at Random Harvest with Andre Marx
Start 7 for 7.30am

Andre Marx hosts one of his very popular walks around Random Harvest Nursery and Farm. Breakfast is included.
Cost: R100.00 includes tea and rusks before and a breakfast after the walk.

4 October – Sunday

Children’s activity:
Garden Safari
9am – 11.30am

Explore the fascinating world of tiny creatures that depend on our indigenous plants for their survival.
Cost: R35.00 incl. a juice

7 October – Wednesday

Ladies morning – Gardening for Biodiversity
9.30 for 10am to 12 noon

Linda De Luca and Jeffrey Mapila host an interactive discussion about the delights of gardening to invite wildlife in to visit or stay.
Cost: R95.00 – includes booklet on Gardening for Biodiversity, tea and a lucky draw

Childrens' activity:
Making a wildlife garden
10am – 12 noon

Explore the fascinating world of tiny creatures that depend on our indigenous plants for their survival.
Cost: R35.00 incl. a juice

10 October – Saturday

Garden Walk and Talk
9am – 11.30am

Linda De Luca takes you on a meander through the beautiful, 95% indigenous gardens at Random Harvest, sharing the history, how they have evolved and invaluable tips on plant choices and growing secrets.
Cost: R70.00 including tea

Children’s activity:
Garden Safari
9am – 11.30am

Explore the fascinating world of tiny creatures that depend on our indigenous plants for their survival.
Cost: R35.00 incl. a juice

11 October – Sunday

Tree Walk and Talk with Linda De Luca
9.30am - 12noon

Linda De Luca takes you on a meander through the start of the Random Harvest Tree Trail, sharing fascinating information on the trees and the creatures that are associated with them. She also talks about growing these particular trees in the garden.
Cost: R70 including tea

Children’s activity: Garden Safari
9.30am - 12noon

Explore the fascinating world of tiny creatures that depend on our indigenous plants for their survival.
Cost: R35 incl. a juice

17 October – Saturday

Publishers and Authors Day & Specialty Food and Plants Day
9am – 4pm

A day not to be missed at any cost! A feast for the mind, body and soul as we celebrate indigenous and food gardening, organic produce for sale and have publishers and authors present, to speak to and purchase books from. Lucky draws throughout the day, linked to various events.
No charge

Walk and Talk on Trees with Elsa Pooley
9.30am - 12noon

Well known author, Elsa Pooley shares her vast knowledge on some of our trees, and talks about how to use her tree book.
Cost: R80 including tea

Children’s activity: Garden Safari
9.30am - 12noon

Explore the fascinating world of tiny creatures that depend on our indigenous plants for their survival.
Cost: R35 incl. a juice

Urban Food Gardening talk by Jane Griffiths
2pm – 2.45pm

Well known author Jane Griffiths gives a 45 minute presentation on Sustainable Food Gardening in an Urban Environment.
R50.00 including tea and a lucky draw

18 October – Sunday

Children’s activity: Garden Safari
9.30am - 12noon

Explore the fascinating world of tiny creatures that depend on our indigenous plants for their survival.
Cost: R35 incl. a juice

A Celebration of Flowers – walk and talk with Elsa Pooley
9.30am -12 noon

Well known botanical author, Elsa Pooley’s knowledge about and enthusiasm for the beautiful veld flowers and often overlooked small herbs is infectious. Join her on a walk around Random Harvest, discovering some of the gems that this farm holds.
Cost: R80.00 including tea

24 & 25 October – Saturday & Sunday

Grassland Biodiversity walk with Prof Braam Van Wyk
9am to 11:30am

Prof. Braam Van Wyk leads a fascinating wander through our very special grassland. He discusses the relationships between plants, soil and creatures and how they function to create a healthy grassland ecosystem.
Cost: R80.00 including tea

Childrens' activity: Plant a Succulent Garden in a Box
9am to 11:30am

Create a miniature garden in a box that you can take home with you, using pebbles, sticks, feathers, plants etc.
R35.00 per child, per box planted.

For more information or to book for any of these events, please contact Random Harvest Nursery on 082 553 0598

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