Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - October 2015

Posted On: Thursday, October 1, 2015


Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

Believe it or not our 25th birthday has arrived.  I am excited to share this milestone with you and would like to remind you of all the events we are hosting.

Birthday Month Events – Booking is essential for guided events.
Call David on 082-553-0598 to secure you place

Bird Walk – 3rd October, 6.30 am for 7.00am

Andre will be taking another fascinating bird walk.  There are only 5 places left so book early so as not to be disappointed.  Cost R100.00 per person including welcoming coffee and rusks and a hearty breakfast.

Jeffrey got his picture of the Grey Headed Bush Shrike after stalking him on and off for more than a month.

Elsa Pooley – 17th and 18th October 9.30am to 12.00 noon
Elsa is one of my heroes and I feel really privileged that she has agreed to spend some time with us. 

She is based in KwaZulu Natal so this is a rare opportunity to meet her while she shares her vast knowledge of all things indigenous.  She has lived most of her life in various game reserves so has come up close and personal with all the subjects she will share with us.  Cost R80.00 including tea and cake

Braam van Wyk – 24th & 25th October 9.00am to 11,30am

Braam is one of the most knowledgeable and fascinating speakers and also one of my heroes.  He is the author of the book ‘Wildflowers of the Highveld’ among many others.

I have been hoping he would visit us and give a few talks for quite a few years and at long last my wish has come true.

There are only a few places left on his Grassland walk with Braam van Wyk and talk on the 24th and 25th of October.  Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to spend some time with a person of his calibre.  Cost R80.00 including tea and cake

Jane Griffiths – 17th October 2.00pm to 2.45pm

Jane has written many books on food gardening.  She will give a presentation on Sustainable Urban Food Gardening. 

I am finding that people are more and more interested in growing their own vegetables which are healthier and fresher. 

Jane will be here for about 4 hours before and after the talk promoting her book.

See her Urban Food Gardening news item on our website. 

Cost R50.00 including tea and cake

Author, Speciality Food and Plant Day – 17th October 9.00am to 4.00pm
This is the big day for us when we have so many fascinating people visiting to share their products and knowledge with us. 

The Highveld Bulb Society will be doing a flower show.  The Wild Orchid Society (WOSA), and the Succulent Society will be here.

We will also be promoting books with authors and publishers being there to answer all your questions.  There are some fascinating books on sale and interesting people to talk to

On the food side we have people selling their own homemade products.  Some will also be selling food as I am sure the tea garden will not cope on that day and I want to be sure you don’t go home hungry.

Read more about this super day out on our news item.


Artist Maureen Rugani will be exhibiting her paintings from the 1st for the whole month.

African Yarona – a group of talented sculptors have already done their display. 

Maureen and some of the sculptors will be here on the weekends to chat with you.


Don’t forget the children’s events.  These will be held mostly at the same time as the walks and talks so you can relax and enjoy yourself while someone keeps the children amused.

Full program at the end of the newsletter.


In The Nursery

We have these amazing Grow Towers in stock.  They come complete with an internal irrigation system.  All you have to do is connect your hosepipe. 

I planted two of them up, one with veg and one with flowers and I must say I think they look great.  You could also plant up your herb garden in it.  A great solution for limited spaces.

It is an incredibly colourful time of year with the different coloured new leaves and the plants bursting out in flower.  Makes you happy as it indicates that summer is here.


The Mackaya bella (River Bells) look particularly beautiful this year. 

An amazing shrub for a dark shady area. 

Remember to prune it back after flowering to keep it in shape and ensure a mass of flowers next spring.

Gnidia pinifolia (Pine-leaved Saffron Bush).  This beautiful little shrub blooms with clusters of white, tubular flowers that have a slight pink tinge. 

They bloom profusely in winter and spring but does have some flowers all year round.  It is scented at night making me think it is moth pollinated.  Prune to keep in shape.

This shrub only grows to a maximum of 1m making it ideal for a smaller garden.  

For an outstanding display plant a border of Felicia ammeloides (Blue Marguerite) in front of this shrub.

Turraea floribunda (Honeysuckle tree).  This is truly an indigenous treasure. 

It is a small to medium sized tree with dense foliage to keep us cool in summer. 

It stays evergreen until it is time to flower. 

It then throws off its leaves and bursts into flower on the bare branches with beautiful green and white honeysuckle type flowers that have an exquisite scent.

Spring flowers Gazania, Diascia, Felicia, Osteospermum, Arctotis

These beautiful flowers will brighten up your garden for the whole summer if you remove the dead flowers regularly, are careful not to overwater them and plant them in a sunny spot in your garden. 

They also look wonderful planted up in a pot of mixed coloured plants.

Croton gratissimus (Lavender Fever Berry). 

This is another magnificent small to medium sized tree with the most beautiful foliage which is grey green above and silver spotted with maroon below which glitters in the breeze. 

It has some apricot coloured leaves in the crown for most of the year. 

It bears massed sprays of yellow, starry flowers that cover the tree in spring. 

The bees are so busy and collect so much pollen they seem to have trouble flying.

I have been greatly amused just watching them.

What is spring without a Scadoxus puniceus (Paint Brush)?

It is such an amazing thing to see this robust, leafless green shoot pushing its way through the grass and mulch. 

This opens into a beautiful huge red flower head. 

Only when the flower is open do the leaves appear.

Courtyard Garden

We have upgraded our courtyard garden.  I was so happy when Andrew, our builder, managed to repair the water feature of a ladies head which I really loved and had been broken for years.

Lucky for me my staff can’t seem to throw anything away.

Domestic Gardener Training

I would like to remind you of these two courses Lindsay Grey will be running in October and November.  The confidence the students gain and the positive feedback I get are gratifying.

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]

On The Farm

Spring is the time when all the life on the farm is really busy and getting ready for summer – the geese and chickens have babies and the birds are calling non-stop from the dawn chorus and into the night when the Thick Knees are calling their mates.

The Pin-Tailed Whydah has taken up his post around the bird feeding station. 

He is really irritating the Weavers who he chases non-stop from what he considers his territory.  He is so busy chasing the other birds I wonder when he has time to feed himself.

I am happy to report that the swallows are back at Random Harvest after their long journey. 

There are lots of insects around for them to eat. 

I just wish they would come and nest on my veranda.  I guess I can live in hope.

The wicked looking Purple Heron has been frequenting the dam hunting for the baby Moorhens. 

Luckily the Cyperus Papyrus reeds are so thick that the chicks have a refuge he cannot penetrate. 

I am happy to report that they are alive and well and will soon lose their baby feathers.

Talking of the dam - I am so annoyed with myself. 

I let the water from our laundry run into the dam. 

The so-called environmentally friendly soap I use had so many phosphates in it that the dam went green with the algal growth that this product stimulated almost immediately. 

I am using EM (Effective Microorganisms) to try and take out the phosphates.  I will keep you posted and if it works (which it seems to be doing) I will stock it in the shop for you to use in your ponds. 

It is wildlife and fish friendly and will not mess with the balance in your pond or affect your fish.

Luckily it was a nice hot day when Mike went into the dam to spray the EM.  Amazingly enough the birds took absolutely no notice of him at all

There are quite a few hunters at the dam, one of which is this little Black Shouldered Kite who is currently hanging around and hunting the doves that come down to drink.

Another quite deadly hunter is the Terrapin.  I hardly ever manage to get a picture of one but was lucky enough to catch this little chap sunning himself on a log.

Jeffrey and I had this long conversation about what the non-descript little bird he took a picture of could be.  He said it was a female Stone Chat. 

After trawling through Robert’s birds I disagreed with him only to have Andre confirm his identification - much to Jeffrey’s delight.

The very next day what do we see but a male Stone Chat sitting on a rock. 

Lo and behold just as he flew off the female came and posed for us. 

We were really chuffed.

David, Jeffrey and William are doing a photography course which they seem to be loving. 

At the same time they make me feel inadequate with all their talk of apertures and ISO. 

I guess I am also going to have to learn. 

David put his lessons to good use and got this lovely picture of the Tilapia in our pond. 

It is wonderful how as simple a thing as the Biobags we sell keep the water so clear.

I decided to burn the Kikuyu Grass on the bank of the dam as this year I want to start killing it and replacing it with veld grass. 

Wow can Kikuyu make smoke and smoulder but the job is done and I hope to start ridding the farm of this horribly invasive grass this year.

We have had some interesting visitors this month. 

The picture is of a group of students who do Saturday school at the University of Pretoria.

Hopefully this will inspire some of them to become involved in the environment and with indigenous plants.

The Green Industries council held their conference here at Random Harvest. (See our Facebook Page for pictures)

The Web design course also went down a treat again.  Amazing what we have to learn to keep up with the times.

I did a talk on biodiversity gardening for South African Riding for the Disabled which people seemed to love.  The booklet I wrote was also a hit.  Remember I will be doing another of these talks on the 7th October at 9.30am.

One of my loyal customers told me that she used Turpentine to kill the Onion Weed in her garden.   This weed is a real pest and almost impossible to get rid of.

I decided to take her advice and sponged some Turpentine on the leaves of some Onion Weed in the planting bags. 

My goodness! This really sorted out the Onion Weed. 

The main bulb completely rotted away. 

Some of the side bulbs survived so I think if you want to get rid of it all together you will have to be vigilant and sponge even the smallest leaves. 

Best of all, it did not affect the plants in the bag at all but I must say we have been really careful with it.  This is a picture of Anthony waging war on Onion Weed.

The windbreak around the nursery is looking beautiful as you can see from this picture of Brachylaena discolour (Coastal Silver Oak) and Tecomaria capensis (Cape Honeysuckle) blooming together.

The amount of insects feeding off the nectar and pollen is amazing. 

I think my bees assume that I planted it especially for them as these plants are just behind their hive. 

I love the bees so much that they are not wrong.

The Combretum bracteosum (Hiccup Nut) are in full flower and what a sight they are to behold. 

Not only do they have beautiful flowers but beautiful foliage as well. 

This is a lovely big creeper to plant over a pergola but remember it is deciduous which can also be useful to allow sun through in winter.

The Acacia mellifera (Black Thorn) had so many flowers on their bare branches that you could not see the branches at all. 

The flowers are borne before the leaves. 

The beautiful white flowers against the dark blue sky were a gorgeous sight.

Another Acacia blooming early in spring were the Acacia hebeclada (Candle Thorn). 

This tough little Acacia is one of my favourites with its upright seeds and lovely shape.

Arguably the Erythrina acanthocarpa (Tamboekie Thorn) is one of our most beautiful flowers.

I am hoping to have some for sale next year. 

This has been a long drawn out effort to get some of the quite rare plants into cultivation and I am pleased to say we seem to be winning.

I hope you decide to join us for some of the birthday events in October, and if not, just to come and soak up the indigenous splendour that explodes from the nursery at this time of year.

Happy Gardening

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



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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