Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - June 2017

Posted On: Thursday, June 1, 2017

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

Can you believe that it is only a few weeks to mid-winter? I am so enjoying the early mornings when I take Abby out for her run. It is so dark, that all I see in the headlights is a little black shadow. The full moon has been a wonder. It is chilly but amazing.

Public Holiday 16th June

We are open on Friday the 16th of June – Youth Day.

Father’s Day

Diarise Sunday the 18th of June – Father’s Day! All Dads receive a gift of bulbs – gorgeous for in the garden or in a container.

We will be serving a breakfast buffet from 8h00 to 11h00 which 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 usual menu

Another item added to our menu for this special day is Lamb Curry and Rice with Sambals for R140.00 per person. The perfect comfort food for winter weather.

Monthly Coffee Morning – 7th June 2017

Time: 10h30
Cost: Attendance is free

Our regular coffee morning slot on the first Wednesday of each month will be on the 7th of June, 10h30 to 12h00. This month we talk about Soil Structure and getting the most out of your soil by adding essential ingredients.

Mike Viviers, our horticulturalist will be hosting this session. He is a fountain of knowledge on this topic, so be prepared to come away never seeing soil as “just plain old soil” again.

Arid Garden

Our arid garden is complete, and I must say that although it is very different to what we usually put together, I love the open and calm feel of this garden. It is particularly gorgeous in the late afternoon light, when the oranges, reds and yellows of some of the plants are more intense, and the slanted light catches the grasses.

It is designed to be a springboard for your own ideas as to what to put in a garden that requires far less water than a regular garden. Please come and get inspiration, and we’ll keep you informed as to when there will be an article on our website with more tips and suggestions to create your own beautiful space for a water scarce environment.

It seems this display is not only for people, the doves are certainly loving sunning themselves in the garden as well.

Herbs for Animals

Our next Herbs for Animals workshop will be in August, with details as follows:
Date: 5th August 2017
Time: 09h00-16h00
Cost: R950 all inclusive for the day’s workshop

This is the introductory 1-day workshop in the Herbs for Animals Workshop series. It covers creating with herbs to support wound healing in animals. This workshop is compulsory, to be able to attend any of the other workshops in the series (7 Workshops).

- Discover 10 useful herbs 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 and herby vegetarian lunch & teas.
- Gain access to associated online course & forum.
- Receive certificate of completion.

More information and booking details are on our website events section or on the course convenors’ (Happy Works) website www.happyworks.co.za (Link)

Gardener’s course

23 June 2017
Time: 08h00 – 16h30
Cost: R720-00 per person which includes two sets of notes, breakfast and lunch, as well as a beautiful Certificate of Attendance.
Domestic Gardener Training – Give your gardener the gift of knowledge with this comprehensive, practical day of fine-tuning his/her gardening skills.

To book, or for further information, contact Lindsay at [email protected]; Cell : 082 449 9237

Weekend Garden Owners’ Inspiration (Introduction to Garden Design):
Date: 24, 25 June 2017

This one’s for the homeowner. Learn the practical, logical steps to designing your dream garden that will also be sustainable and wildlife-friendly.
To book, or for further information, contact Lindsay at [email protected]; Cell : 082 449 9237


Random Harvest Nursery - use by patrons


We are always delighted when we hear positive feedback from visitors to Random Harvest. I for one, feel blessed to call this my home, and to come to work here in the nursery.

Although we love to share this piece of heaven with all our visitors, we do ask that you respect that it is a commercial concern.

Please remember that no food or drink is allowed to be brought onto the premises without prior arrangement, as we run a tea garden that sells a wide range of delicious food.

Should you wish to enjoy our lovely farm with a group you belong to such as a garden club or bird club etc., we’d love to hear from you. We have some super bird walks, tree walks and special interest themes that are perfect for groups such as these - please call our front office staff to make arrangements on either 082 553 0598 (Reception) or 072 562 3396 (David).

Please note for safety reasons of safety and security, we cannot permit unsupervised and un-booked groups to make use of the Random Harvest property.


Important: Plant Nutrients


Not many nurseries stock these two very interesting growth and soil enhancing products. I for one have been blown away at the positive effect that they have had on our plants. We now stock these for sale to our customers, so please ask at reception for assistance with these products.

Mike, our horticulturalist, will be giving an in-depth overview on how they work to enhance plant strength and resilience to tough conditions at our next coffee morning. Both products are available for purchase from our nursery.

Below is a brief summary of what they are and the advantage of using them in your garden:

Rockdust, also known as “rock powders” or “rock flours”, is finely powdered igneous basalt rock that contains 76 elements. These are made available to the plant by microbial interaction. It is therefore recommended that you apply compost with rockdust for the best effect.

However, it is not classified as a fertilizer as it does not have high enough concentrations of nitrogen, potassium or phosphorous required to classify it as such. Working together, these two soil conditioners boost plant growth and can reduce insect and fungal attacks.

Lipids – a Google search with “Lipids” will reveal that every life process utilises lipids. However, the plant must produce these lipids and a shortage of lipids implies impaired functioning.

Horticulturists have tried applying lipids topically, but the lipids are too big, in the 120 micron range, to allow transdermal uptake. However, these lipids have been split and stabilised by a unique process, which reduced the size to between 6 and 20 microns.

The transdermal uptake of the nano-lipids takes about 30 seconds and the results are nothing short of miraculous. There are 8 formulations of which we currently stock (2) and it addresses issues like accelerated growth, stress enhancement, heat resistance, cold resistance, enhanced germination.

Watch this space for the full range, but gardening has just joined the 21st century.


Function / conference Venue – 30 people


As I have mentioned the use of Random Harvest as a venue for various groups and clubs, I thought it might be of interest to some of our customers and their employers / own customers, that we have a meeting venue that can accommodate up to 30 people.

Packages have been designed to suit every budget and requirement, so please contact our front office for more information on 082 553 0598

Autumn Colour

Perhaps it has been an early cold snap as well as some late rains, but have you noticed the beautiful autumn colours this year?

They seem to be so much more intense than last year.

Some of our trees and shrubs have been breathtaking.



We always think of autumn colour as just leaves before they fall from the trees, but our succulents also put on a beautiful show of reds, pinks, oranges and yellows at this time of year.

This is in response to cold as well as a little less rain and a change in light intensity.

Here are a couple of suggestions for indigenous plants that will reward you with plenty of warm hues in autumn. Plant them now for a reward next autumn.

Autumn trees: Combretum kraussii, Combretum erythrophyllum, Heteropyxis canescens

Succulents for autumn colour: Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, Euphorbia tirucallii “Firesticks” (pictured), Crassula capitella “Campfire”.

A Time to Plant Trees

So many gardeners hang back on planting as the temperatures plummet in May. Few seem to realise that this is a perfect time to plant trees and large shrubs, in particular deciduous trees.

They have the whole of winter to settle in before they shoot and come into leaf in spring. Just make sure you plant them correctly, and add enough mulch around them to protect roots from the cold and dryness of winter.

Mother’s Day feedback.

We have had super Mothers’ Day feedback from our Tea Garden. Thanks to those who joined us despite the freezing weather.

I am so proud of my staff, who pulled together and worked as a really amazing team.

There are a few pictures on our Facebook page for those who would like to have a look.


These two little girls really enjoyed Mother’s Day and spent the time taking their ‘baby’ around the nursery.


Plants That Are Looking Good


Plectranthus hereroensis - Herero Spur-Flower

This Plectranthus grows in full sun which is highly unusual. It has broad bright green leaves and bluish-purple flower spikes at this time of year. It also needs regular pruning to encourage it to bush out and keep in shape.

Plant with Leonotis leonurus, Syncolostemon species and Euryops species for an incredible burst of colour in your garden.

Plectranthus chimanimaniensis - Chimanimani Spur Flower

This is another Plectranthus that grows in full sun or semi-shade. It has pretty semi-succulent leaves and absolutely masses of pink flowers.

It flowers almost all year round but especially from early spring to early winter. It makes a wonderful container plant and attracts tiny insects to the garden – my kind of plant.

Albuca nelsonii Candelabrum Lily

This clump forming, evergreen, bulb is a beautiful and useful plant. It is very hardy and best of all grows in sun or shade. This is perfect for those difficult areas under deciduous trees or on the south side of a house or wall which are in sun for part of the year and shade for the rest of the year.

Added to this they are scented, bloom for a large part of the year and make good cut flowers.

Ilex mitis Cape Holly.

This lovely wildlife friendly tree is often overlooked. It is hardy with almost white bark. It has a graceful rounded crown of glossy, dark green leaves that are purplish-red when they first flush. Massed clusters of small, sweetly scented, white flowers are borne from Oct. to Feb. Male and female flowers are on separate trees, therefore only female plants bear fruit. The flowers are followed by tightly packed decorative red berries that attract flocks of fruit eating birds.

Sideroxylon inerme - White Milkwood

Who would have thought just how well the White Milkwood would grow in Gauteng. I planted this beautiful, protected tree years ago and it is thriving. The flowers are small but wonderfully scented and the fruit they bear attracts birds.

It has a neat rounded lush crown that makes a good shade tree and also a beautiful container plant.

Ptaeroxylon obliquum – Sneezewood

This shapely, evergreen tree is usually seen as a forest giant.

We have a form that only grows to about 4m tall. It bears sweetly scented sprays of creamy-yellow flowers.

It can be deciduous and have beautiful, golden autumn colours if in very cold conditions but in most areas of Gauteng it stays evergreen

Chasmanthe floribunda - Cobra Lily
How great is it to have this bulb growing in winter when most of the other bulbs are going dormant?

Mix with deciduous Agapanthus sp. or Crocosmia sp. for a lovely effect of complimentary plantings that give colour to the garden in winter and summer.

On The Farm

I have not been having fun with the dam this month. We got a terrible infestation of the alien invader Azolla filiculoides that turned the dam red within 2 weeks.

I tried to spray vinegar which burns plants but with no luck. Eventually Timothy and Jolam got into the dam in this cold weather and took it out manually. You have no idea how grateful I am to them for their efforts.


What was amazing is the number of tiny fish that were trapped in the net as we scooped out the Azolla.

It took more time to save them than it took to scoop out the weeds.

I now know why we have been seeing so much of the Malachite Kingfisher – he is feasting on these tiny fish.

It is once again a joy to visit the dam and watch the birds.

Aloes are simply beautiful !!

Now to turn to a more pleasant subject. The Aloes are looking amazing at this time of year. I am so happy I planted a whole lot out in the open ground for both my and the birds’ enjoyment.

The Aloe arborescens will bloom for a few months now. The Aloe pretoriensis with their tall flowers are also looking amazing with their pink-orange flowers.

A friend of mine gave me the newly described Aloe tongaense. It looks like a miniature Aloe barberae (Tree Aloe). I am happy to report that it has bloomed for the first time this year. Here’s hoping I get some seed that I can plant.

I am not the only one happy with the Aloe flowers. The sunbirds are going crazy with the bounty of nectar and can’t seem to make up their minds which is the most delicious, so they flit from flower to flower trying to get the best one available.

The Brown Hooded Kingfisher has been very vocal in the garden.

Birds can sometimes be a pest. We bought these nesting logs for resale but the Black Collared Barbet had other ideas. He moved in and is daring us to sell his nice cosy nest. What can one do?

Just pay and be happy to offer him a home. Not only that but it is opposite the feeding station so he has everything he needs. All I can say is “Happy to be of service”.

The Groundscraper Thrush are back. There were four of them displaying in the Ana Tree (Faidherbia albida). I think they may breed here. Jeffrey and I will keep a lookout for nests and keep you posted.

A quick update to let you know the Guinea Fowl babies are doing well.

I never realised how much the birds utilised the nursery until I started taking Abby for a run at dawn.

All the roads between the plants have either Guinea Fowl, Thick Knees or various Lapwings.

They are getting so used to us driving around that they pretty much just ignore us.

Birds can sometimes fool you as much as plants do.

When Jeff showed me this picture I was excited and thought it was a new bird.

I started going through Roberts Birds only to find that is a female Common Fiscal.

Butterflies can also make you feel a bit stupid at times. I could not identify this butterfly after going through Steve Woodhall’s wonderful book ‘Butterflies of South Africa’ – with no luck.

After emailing Steve it came back as the Painted Lady Butterfly, one I know well. Was my face red?

I just had to share this beautiful picture Jeffrey took of a Yellow Pansy. The butterflies have been amazing, I would have thought it was getting a bit cold for them. I am grateful they are still around as we have been really enjoying watching them.

I thought I would share a few plant photos with you.

How beautiful is this Barberton Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) blooming its head off in winter.

They are such rewarding plants and make a beautiful show when planted with Anthericum saundersiae.

This rare bulb, Haemanthus deformis also has a beautiful flower.

As you can see we are not the only who appreciate the flowers but the bees do as well.

I always watch the interaction of wildlife and indigenous plants with wonder at just how perfect nature is.

I was so excited to find the Pellaea fern that appeared in the grassland near the dam.

Every year our efforts at restoring are rewarded by the appearance of new species of plant.

Seeing things like this makes all our efforts more than worthwhile.


Finally I had to share this picture of Abby watching TV and not knowing what to do about this bear.

She certainly keeps me amused.

Here’s looking forward to the sun rising earlier and the days getting longer. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful country with the best weather in the world.

Hope to see you soon,



Cell 079-872-8975
email [email protected]

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