Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - May 2017

Posted On: Monday, May 1, 2017

Dear indigenous Enthusiasts,

These autumn mornings are so beautiful.  I have been taking Abby (my dog) out for a run early in the mornings and have seen the most amazing sunrises.

We really miss a beautiful part of the day when we sit comfortably in our houses instead of going out into the majesty of nature.

When we had those few beautiful rainy days the sunrises over the dam were also something to behold. Not to mention how fantastic it is to be going into winter with the soil moisture high. I loved the rain.

Mothers’ Day - Sunday 14th May

As I mentioned in my last newsletter, this year our tea garden helps you to spoil Mom on her special Mother’s Day Sunday with one of two delicious offerings…or both!:

1. A breakfast buffet served from 8h00 to 11h00 will include egg, bacon, sausages, creamy mushrooms, fresh tomato, bread and jam, muesli, fresh fruit with hot or cold milk and tea or coffee. Breakfast will be served on a first come first served basis.
Cost per person R125.00

After 11h00 we will revert to our normal breakfast and lunch menu

2. We are also offering a High Tea in the garden from 14h00 to 16h00.

PLEASE NOTE HIGH TEA IS BY BOOKING ONLY - To book please contact our reception on [email protected] or 082 553 0598.

All Moms visiting on the day will receive a special Mothers’ Day treat. 

For more details have a look at our Mothers’ Day News on the website.

Arid Garden

The Arid Garden is almost complete, and offers interesting plant combinations that will keep looking good through long periods without rain. 

A little water will keep it looking great, but it won’t need nearly as much as a regular garden.

Come and visit us for visual inspiration.

Monthly Coffee Morning – Wednesday 3 May
Time: 10h30
Cost: Attendance is free

I am thoroughly enjoying meeting and chatting to my customers over coffee once a month. 

Diarise the next one on Wednesday the 3rd of May at 10h30, which will cover Care and Planting of Aloes in the Garden.

I have so many customers coming in with queries about Aloes at this time of year, that I thought it would be a good topic for early winter and at flowering time.

Come prepared with Notebooks, a friend who also loves gardening, and your questions, and enjoy a cuppa while we chat.

Herbs for Animals - Workshop 1 - Wounds (By Happy Works – hosted in the Random Conference Venue)

We are so happy to be hosting this series of amazing workshops here at Random Harvest. We are really interested in our animals and all things natural and organic so it gels very well with us.

This 1-day workshop in the Herbs for Animals series is compulsory if you wish to attend any of the later ones.

  • Discover 10 useful herbs such as Bulbine frutescens to use as first-aid for wound healing - mind & body.
  • Take home 5 organically grown herbs for your own Happy Animal Garden.
  • Create 3 herbal preparations to start your herbal first-aid kit. Enjoy wholesome andherbal vegetarian lunch & teas.
  • Gain access to associated online course & forum.
  • Receive certificate of completion.

Date: Book for either the 20th and 21st May 2017 whichever suits you better.

More information is available on the course convenors’ (Happy Works) website www.happyworks.co.za

We are open on Monday the 1st of May - Workers Day

Competition winners

Our competition to win a midweek stay for two in one of our cottages was so well received, and we say a big congratulations to our lucky winners – Winner one is Mr Leeroy Mathebula and Winner two is Ms Sarah Gear.

I was so taken with the lovely comments from people entering that I wanted to share them with all of you. You can see our Cottage stay competition news item to read what some of the people entering had to say.

Win! Win! Win!

Win R1000 plant voucher and a personal consult with our very own Jeff Mapila!

Its competition time again! For the month of May, every time you buy plants at Random Harvest you stand a chance to win this wonderful prize in our Lucky Draw.

The more times you buy from us, the more chances you have at winning. Don’t forget to fill in the details on your slip and pop it in in our Lucky Draw box when you have paid. 

Entries close on the Friday 30th of June and the Winner will be announced on Saturday 1 July 2017.


Mother’s and Father’s Day Gifts

May and June are the months for Mothers’ Day (Sunday 14 May) and Fathers’ Day (Sunday, 18 June). 

We have some lovely gifts from vouchers and plants to beautiful bird paintings on slate such as the one pictured. 

For more ideas have a look at our Best Mothers Day and Fathers Day Gifts Ideas.

Products to Protect your Plants in Winter

Frost cover is a light, white cloth which keeps the frost off your plants. Wrap them loosely or make a “tunnel” for very sensitive beds of plants. Ask one of our friendly nursery staff for frost cover and they will be happy to assist you.

Agrisil is a liquid that contains silicate, a key element in plant defence systems. It is required for plants to function at their best. It boosts plants’ stress tolerance, so is excellent at helping them combat frost (and drought) and the damage it causes to their plant tissues. It is available from Random Harvest in 1 Litre bottles.

Gardening Courses

Domestic Gardener Course – 19 May 2017
We will once again be hosting Lindsay’s popular domestic gardeners’ course here at Random Harvest. Contribute to the growth and confidence of your gardener by offering him or her an opportunity for a qualification which is a source of much pride to them.

Introduction to Garden Design – 21 & 22 May 2017
Time: 08h00 – 16h30 each day
This one’s for the homeowner. Learn the practical, logical steps to designing your dream garden that will also be sustainable and wildlife-friendly.

The courses include notes, breakfast and lunch and attendance certificate.
Bookings: Contact Lindsay for bookings or further information on Mobile: +27 82 44 99 237 Email: [email protected]

Plants Looking Good

Autumn and winter are, in my opinion, the most colourful times of the year in the garden so I thought I would share these plants with you.

Tecomaria capensis ‘Tangerine’ – Cape Honeysuckle

I wanted to show you this beautiful clear ‘naartjie’ colour of the flower of the well-known and beloved Cape Honeysuckle which came up at Random Harvest. 

This is a versatile, wildlife friendly shrub that you can prune to suit your needs or just let it go wild in a corner of your garden for the birds.

Syncolostemon densiflorus Pink Plume (E)

The small to medium sized shrub just blooms and blooms at this time of the year.

It is a good size for a small garden. 

Prune once it has finished flowering to keep tidy.

It looks beautiful when planted with the purple Ribbon Bush (Hypoestes aristata ‘Purple Haze’) as they bloom together at this time of year adding a blaze of colour to your garden.

Another beautiful autumn flowering plant is Barleria greenii – Wild Bush Petunia. 

This is a really tough, small, thorny semi-deciduous shrublet. 

It can be planted at the base of walls or fences as a barrier plant in full sun or semi-shade.

Leonotis leonurus – Wild Dagga.

One of our most prolific flowering shrubs at this time of year. You will always find Sunbirds and insects hovering around to partake of the bounty of nectar this plant offers.

It is usually orange but the white form is also just coming into flower at the moment.

Remember to prune it back by two thirds after flowering. This will keep it as a neat and tidy small to medium sized shrub and ensure mass flowering the following season, as the flowers are borne on the new growth.

Pychnostachys urticifolia - Hedgehog sage.

Another small to medium sized shrub that should be pruned to ensure mass flowering and keep it in shape.

It is one of the best flowers to attract butterflies with its masses of beautiful conical blue flowers. 

Plant in sun or semi-shade as a backdrop to a cottage or colourful garden.

The Waterlillies (Nymphaea nouchallii) are in full bloom at the moment and buzzing with life. See our post on how they are pollinated. Hyperlink

They are wonderful planted en masse in a large pond or even as a single specimen in a large pot. 

Whichever way you look at it they are really beautiful.


Psychotria capensis – Black Bird Berry.

A truly beautiful shrub for shady areas. It has bright green, glossy evergreen leaves. It bears heads of bright yellow flowers that glow in the shade. 

These are followed by berries that change from green through yellow and red and eventually turn black. The fruit is relished by birds who patrol every day looking for the ripest berries.

You can prune it to keep it smaller or keep it as a single stem tiny tree.

I know I shared a picture of the Oleander Hawk Moth with you last month but Jeff got this picture of another one perched on the Psychotria capensis – just goes to show how much life indigenous plants support in our gardens.


Plectranthus hadiensis ‘Melmoth’ – Hairy Spurflower.

A few cuttings of this particular form of the Hairy Spurflower was collected in Melmoth District. It is a hardy and very drought resistant form that is suitable for dry shade under trees. It tolerates heavy and light shade and requires minimal watering. Even if it does wilt it will perk us soon after receiving a little water.

Plant close together and prune quite hard after flowering to ensure the next year’s blooms and to keep in shape.

On The Farm

At last, after years of flowering, the Erythrina latissima (Broad Leaved Coral Tree), has finally decided to give me some seeds. 

This after we have tried to hand pollinate them and tried all sorts of other ways to get seeds, they decided to do it naturally.

Admittedly, they are not the beautiful long pods they should bear but are quite short – I am just happy we have some seeds. I can buy seed but am always excited to germinate our own seeds.

There are some really simple things that make me happy. One of them is that we try not to waste resources and water. If you see how efficiently this chipper converted all our prunings into beautiful usable mulch one cannot help but to be excited.

Our new irrigation system utilising the sewage water we treat is on line. Believe it or not just the waste water is watering 25% of the nursery.

Words fail me to express just how excited I was to see just how much of the nursery we watered with what was normally waste water.

There have been so many beautiful moths and butterflies around not to mention the caterpillars. I have tried for weeks to get a proper ID but with no luck so I will just share some of the pics. If anyone can help me with identification I would truly appreciate it.

I must say when you really start to look at caterpillars and worms the variety is breath taking. I just wish I could find a book or website with some information on them.

Mike found this chrysalis with its golden spots and sparkly gold flakes.

I have searched in all my books and on internet but the closest I could get was the African Monarch butterfly.

I was just amazed at how beautiful it was. The plant it was on is Senecio rowleyanus (String of beads)

The dew on the spider webs in the mornings look like glistening jewels in amongst the plants.


The Highveld Garden display has settle into its place and is attracting so many birds and other wildlife it is amazing. The Gecko are enjoying the aloes. I think the Gecko in the picture is a Cape Dwarf Gecko.

The butterflies, such as this Yellow Pansy, love perching on the warm rocks to get them going in the morning.

Goes to show the amount of wildlife attracted to, even a small cornerwith the correct habitat, is nothing short of astounding.

Talking of habitat I was so excited to see this immature Green Backed Heron at the dam as, unless the habitat is correct, they are at best transient.

It seems that as the plants have matured around the dam they have created perfect conditions for these herons. Not to mention all the money I have spent stocking the dam with fish for them to feast on. The dam is an expensive hobby.

There are also a pair of Malachite Kingfisher at the dam at the moment. Hopefully they decide to stay and breed. I would be over the moon. Mind you they are so tiny I wonder if we would find the nest at all.

We regularly hear the Jackal calling all around the area at night but have only this month seen them on the farm. As excited as I was to see him I was really worried that he may find the Guinea Fowl babies a tasty morsel. I was over the moon when I saw this little family had survived.

I think this Cape Robin Chat got out of the wrong side of the bed – he is really grumpy looking. He looks a bit like me when I am in a grumpy mood.

We have been seeing butterflies all over the place as well. This Blue Pansy was in the retail nursery sipping from the Selago sp. The butterflies absolutely love this plant and you invariably see a few fluttering around them.

The perfect Painted Lady was puddling in the mud at the bottom of the growing area.

When I see things like this it rewards my dedication to running a commercial nursery without harmful pesticides (I was laughed at and told it was impossible when I made this commitment 26 year ago).

This Terrapin came marching through the growing section of the nursery.

I am not sure where he thought he was going but we picked him up (stinky creature that he is) and took him down to the dam.

He ran into the water and I have seen him a few times happily hunting around.

The Crocosmias are blooming at the moment and brightening up the garden.

One thing we don’t often think of is indigenous plants as cut flowers. Jonathan created this vase of mixed flowers and grasses. I immediately fell in love with it. It seems Jonathan is a man of many talents. One of the flowers he used was Crocosmia aurea.

We have been hosting a lot of functions here at Random Harvest recently. Here is Jeffrey busy boggling the minds of a group of pensioners about the magic of indigenous plants. They had a wonderful time and we were really pleased to have them visit us.

Talking of hosting people – they arrive by many modes of transport. The one I really love is when they arrive on horseback to have breakfast. Luckily my Mom is prepared to make one of her paddocks available for the horses.

Abby is growing up really quickly and loving her runs around the farm.

I am not sure who she thinks she is, facing off my mother’s bull.

I think she is only this brave as she is on the other side of the fence.

I must say in closing I am so grateful for the beautiful place I live and work on.

From the amazing light and vivid colours of the early morning light on the Tecomaria to the coming of the storm above the Faidherbia albida (Ana Tree) in the nursery.

I am so lucky to see such beautiful things that uplift my spirit on a daily basis.

I feel so blessed and I just love sharing this beautiful environment with all of my loyal customers. Without you my amazing life on this amazing place would not be possible.



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email [email protected]

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