Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - April 2011

Posted On: Friday, April 1, 2011

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

Can you believe we have passed the Autumn Equinox and the nights are becoming longer than the days?  Not that it feels like autumn with the hot days and the rain - long may it last.

Succulent Display

We have built some lovely succulent displays, as is becoming traditional in April.  They are looking great and as each display is quite small they are easy to interpret for use in smaller spaces.  We have tried to show just how beautiful colours and textures of leaves can be and it is not necessarily only flowers that give colour and vibrancy to a garden.

Kalanchoe Sexangularis Yellow Kalanchoe (E) The leaves of this hardy succulent turn crimson red in winter if you don't overwater and then they bear bright yellow flowers on erect flowering stems adding colour and texture to the winter garden.

Remember succulents can be planted with different types of plants such as bulbs and grasses as the water needs are similar.  Choose your mix carefully and you can have colour and vibrancy all year round.

Our stock of beautiful hybrid Aloes will be arriving this week.  Now is the time to get them into the ground so they can give an extended flowering period in your garden.

Aloe Arborescens: Aloes - keep our winters bright and cheerful and are easy to grow. Aloe Greatheaddii: Plant in amongst grasses and other plants for the best effect. Aloe Marlothii Suikerbos: BE WATERWISE - Don't plant succulents with thirsty plants that need lots of water. Plant with plants with similar water requirements

There is a large selection of other succulents also available and we will be adding to them throughout the next three months.

Pay us a visit and lose yourself amongst these beautiful plants.

Products To Help Your Plants Through Winter

Frost Cover

Wrap the stems of your trees with frost cover 1.75m x 10m @ R39.90, 3 x 10m @ R58.50, 3 x 5m @ R29.25

Agrisil and Eco-T

I am watering my plants with a product called Agrisil which is a type of silica that is taken up by the plant and hardens the cell walls and this is said to help the plants resist frost.  Combined with a  product called Eco-T which is a microorganism they are said to help your plants resistance.

I am using both of these products as I have had great results with eco-T in my seed growing endeavours and really believe in it.  It will be the first time I use Agrisil so hopefully it is also as good.


We have a special on mulch to help you lay a blanket over the soil and keep it warm and moist.

If you have a trailer you can collect either rough mulch @ R185.00 per cubic meter or chipped mulch which is finer and more decorative @ R250.00 per cubic meter or bags of chipped mulch, which are easier to handle, at a special price of R18.50 per bag.

Great Plants To Hide Easter Eggs In

Prepare for next Easter by planting shrubs that you can hide the eggs in that are safe for the children to clamber around in and which alsooffer food, seclusion and nesting sites for the birds.  The fact that they are also beautiful is an added bonus.

Metarungia longistrobus Sunbird Bush (E), Orange-lips (E), Sonbekkiebos (A) Hardy, evergreen shrub with glossy, grayish-green leaves and cone shaped spikes of peachy-orange flowers that resemble the shrimp plant. An attractive, neat shrub, which flowers for a long period in late summer and winter. This plant tolerates some shade. The flowers attract nectar feeding birds and insects to the garden Size 1 to 2m. Duvernoia aconitiflora Lemon Pistol Bush (E), Geelpistoolbos (A) Fast growing, hardy, evergreen shrub with glossy, light green, lanceolate leaves and small two-lipped cream to yellow flowers in spikes at the tips of the branches all summer. The nectar-laden flowers attract Sunbirds and butterflies. A lovely plant for shade, semi-shade and sunny areas of the garden as well. Size up to 3m. Pavonia praemorsa Yellow Pavonia (E) A hardy, very attractive, medium sized, evergreen shrub with glossy leaves and purplish stems. It bears yellow Hibiscus-like flowers almost all year round, but with a peak from Dec to Mar. It is a beautiful form plant and a most attractive garden subject that grows in sun or semi-shade. Plant in well-drained, compost rich soil and prune regularly to keep a compact shape. Attracts insects to the garden.


Sclerochiton harveyanus Blue Lips (E), Mazabuka (Sw) Hardy, evergreen, shade loving, small to medium sized scandent shrub. It has attractive, slightly variegated, small, almost heart-shaped leaves that add texture to a shady garden. The pretty blue flowers that have two petals and almost look like half a flower are borne in summer. Plant in fertile, compost rich and well-mulched soil. A useful shrub for those difficult shady areas where little else seems to grow. It also makes an attractive container or indoor plant. Size 0.75 to 1.5m
  Rhamnus prinoides - Dogwood (E), Blinkblaar (A), umNyenye (Z), Mofifi (Tsw), iNyenye (Sw) Very hardy, evergreen, drought resistant, very fast growing, large shrub or small tree with shiny leaves and small inconspicuous yellow flowers all year round. The black berries provide food for fruit eating birds and the flowers attract insects, making this a must for any bird garden. Plant in full sun or semi-shade. Widely used for medicinal and magical purposes. Size 2 to 6m S.A. No. 452
  Buddleja auriculata Weeping Sage (E), Treursalie (A) Very hardy, beautiful, evergreen shrub with a weeping habit and beautiful black-green glossy leaves that are white on the underside. Bears fragrant flowers profusely in large sprays during winter. Can be planted as a specimen but would need some pruning to keep it in shape. It attracts birds and butterflies to the garden. Planted in conjunction with B. saligna and B. salviifolia it ensures a long fragrant blooming season. Size 2 to 4m S.A. No. 636.5

Easter Egg Hunt For The Kids

Bring the kids along for an Easter egg hunt.  We have laid out a trail they have to follow and answer questions.  When they have done the trail they can come and choose a succulent plant from the kids stand to take home and collect a little packet of sweets each. 

Public Holidays

We will be open on the following public holidays
23rd April Easter Saturday
25th April Easter Monday
26th April  Special school holiday
27th April  Freedom day
2nd May  Public holiday

We will be closed on - 22nd April Good Friday

Public Holiday Tea Garden Special

We will be running a special on tea or coffee and scones for just  R25.00 per person.

We will be better prepared for this one than what we were for the breakfast special.  We had 140 people all arrive in the space of 2 hours.  Luckily the nursery is so peaceful that most of the people did not mind waiting a bit but for those of you who got frustrated I am really sorry - we really did not expect such a response - I thought we were well prepared, but boy was I ever wrong!!  All I can say is thank God for friends - Liz and Rosemary were amazing.

Spider Talk

Astri Leroy has kindly agreed to give her Spider talk again on 9th April @ 14.30.  This is in response to the people who couldn't make it.

There is no charge but a donation to the spider club would be greatly appreciated.

Booking is essential - Please call David on 082-553-0598 to book you space

Bulb society 

On 16th April @ 14.00 the Bulb Society hold a meeting here at Random Harvest.  They normally have very interesting speakers who are more than happy to impart their knowledge.  Tea and scones will be served.  There is no charge just pitch up and enjoy.

On The Farm

The other morning I heard this very loud bird call.  Searching for what made the sound I found a Bar Throated Apalis that had gotten himself lost in the office.  The thing I really hate about birds in the office is that the ceilings are so high and it is only with difficulty do you help them find their way out.  Eventually Yolam managed to catch him to take him outside.  These birds are so tiny that you would think a puff of wind would do away with them.  What this Bar Throated Apalis lost in size he made up for in cheekiness.  Most birds will try and peck you out of fear when you catch them - not this one.  He shouted abuse at Yolam and I, completely fearlessly.  When we let him go, he perched on the plum tree outside the office and continued to abuse us roundly, soundly and loudly for at least 2 minutes and then went off about his business.  He was completely fearless and totally gorgeous.

We had problems with water the other morning so I was in the Golf Car with William, the security, just before sunrise on my way to the dam.  The sky was all shades of red, pink, grey and blue and was breath taking.  The cows were lying peacefully in the grass calmly chewing the cud, the birds were just waking up and I felt like the luckiest person in the world.  It was so peaceful, pastoral and uplifting and it just confirmed that I am definitely blessed daily staying on a farm like Random Harvest.  This notwithstanding the fact that five minutes later we drove into a ditch at the dam and had fun trying to get the Golf Car out - well nothing is completely perfect.

I was pleased to see some young Guinea Fowl in a group on the farm.  This is something we seldom see.  It seems as if they have colonized the windbreak I planted around the growing area.  It is nice and secluded and as safe as a Guinea Fowl can be from predators.  At least Jeffrey and I can slowly creep up on them and hopefully we will see tiny babies next year.

I just love the call of the Burchells Coucal and its promise of rain.  I also love watching them in the garden. He really is a handsome bird.  What I do tend to forget is that he is a serious predator as well.   The other morning while I was doing my exercises in the pool I heard a commotion in one of the shrubs.  I looked up just in time to see the Coucal catch and fly off with a Cape Robin in its beak.  Sometimes it is better to live in cloud cuckooland when watching nature rather than think about the reality which is that we are all just part of the food chain.

I told you about the huge Rinkhals living down at the dam.  We have been laying new pipes and I told the guys to be careful of the snake.  The snake had no problem with them digging and they saw him a few times until they came near his lair under a Rhus burchellii.  Then he showed his displeasure in no uncertain terms and threatened them hood up and all.  Needless to say the pipe took an alternative route round this plant and the snake retreated, satisfied.

Enjoy this wonderful weather and happy gardening.



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

Hours of business 8:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday (Closed Sundays)



[email protected]

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

Hours of business Monday to Saturday 8.00 to 17.00.  Closed on Sundays.


Directions from the N1

  • From the N1 take the Beyers Naude off ramp and travel north along Beyers Naude Drive.
  • From the Christian De Wet Road crossing (Northgate is towards your right) continue along Beyers Naude Drive for 8.2km.
  • If you are traveling along Christiaan De Wet Road, turn left or from Northumberland Ave. turn right into Beyers Naude Drive.
  • Using Garden World Nursery, which is on your right, as a landmark measure 1.8km to our turn-off.
  • Opposite Oakfield farm (which is well sign-posted) at Valdor Centre turn right into College Road.
  • Continue for 2.2.km keeping right and following the small directional signs to Random Harvest Nursery.
  • You will find us on the left.

Directions from the N14

  • From the N14 (Krugersdorp - Pretoria Highway) take the Randburg/Zwartkop offramp (NB Do not take the Randburg/Lanseria offramp if you are coming from Pretoria).
  • Turn left towards Johannesburg along the extension of Beyers Naude Drive.
  • Pass the turn-off to Diepsloot - Nooitgedacht
  • Take the next tar road to your left at Valdor Centre into College Road 
  • Follow the directional signs (See above).

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