Random Harvest Newsletter Archive

Random Harvest Newsletter - May 2011

Posted On: Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

A friend of mine who lives in the North-West of England once said to me it was like living in Tupperware.  After the weather of the last few weeks he has my full sympathy, I was beginning to feel the same.  Thank Goodness for the sunshine today, it makes me feel a lot better.

Mother's Day

As usual we will be celebrating Mother's Day on the Saturday before which this year is the 7th May as we are closed on Sundays.

I have made a bookmark with an inspirational saying and a bracelet made with mineral chips for all the moms.  You can either leave the bracelet attached to the bookmark or unhook it and wear it.

High Tea - Why not spoil your mom with high tea at Random Harvest?

For just R85.00 you will have a selection of yummy cakes and some fine sandwiches with a smoked salmon quiche and your choice of hot drink off the menu. 

Booking is essential - Please call David on 082-553-0598.

Succulent Display

Remember that we have done some beautiful succulent displays.  Why not come out and enjoy a bit of sunshine and spend some time browsing through the displays and marvelling at these amazing plants.

You could even get some inspiration on how to create a 'water wise' corner in your own garden - a nice project for winter as you will have to work and plant in a sunny area of the garden.  Remember succulents are fabulous when mixed with grasses and bulbs.  This will add interest to your garden all year through and also create a haven for wildlife.

Children's Books

We have 2 beautiful new books in stock for children.  They are from the series 'Vanishing Insects'. One is about the conservation of butterflies the other about Dung Beetles.   Although they are for young children I was fascinated reading them.  A must to teach children of parents who are interested in the environment and want their children to follow in their footsteps.

Frost Cover

Who knows what is happening with our weather?  Don't take chances, rather wrap the stems of your young trees with frost cover - just in case.  We  have some in stock and the prices are - 1.75m x 10m @ R39.90, 3 x 10m @ R58.50, 3 x 5m @ R29.25


Mulch is the blanket of the soil and protects the roots and all the organisms that live under and in the mulch. 

We will continue with our special on mulch for the months of May and June.

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.

There are also bags of chipped mulch, which are easier to handle, at a special price of just R18.50 per bag.

Paul Tree Walk 7th May

My brother Paul will take a tree walk through the gardens here a Random Harvest and talk about the trees and how they fit into the landscape and about the habitat they create for all that wonderful wildlife they attract to the garden.

He is really knowledgeable and will show you a whole new way of looking at trees besides just being able to identify them.

Meet at 8.30am where filter coffee and homemade biscuits will await you on arrival.

The cost is R50.00 per person and booking is essential.  Please call David on 082-553-0598 to reserve your space.

Plants that are looking beautiful


Barleria obtusa
Bush Violet (E), Bosviooltjie (A), iDololenkonyane (Z)

Hardy, evergreen, small, drought resistant, herbaceous shrublet that tends to sprawl.  It blooms profusely with violet flowers in autumn and has a few flowers most of the year round.  It grows well in sun or semi-shade but blooms profusely more in the sun.   Prune back hard after flowering to keep it in shape.  It is also a butterfly host plant, as well as being heavily browsed by both stock and game animals.
Size 30 to 75cm



Zaluzianskya katherinae
Evening Phlox, Drumsticks (e)

This hardy, drought resistant perennial has grey green leaves and masses of sweetly scented flowers, which open at night.  During the day the flowers are closed and resemble small, red drumsticks and open into beautiful white flowers in low light conditions.  Grow in full sun or light shade conditions in well-drained soil.

The white flowers and sweet scent attract the Emperor Moth.  This huge moth hovers above the delicate flowers sipping the nectar and in the process pollinates the plant.  Cussonia and Ekebergia species are the host plants to the moth larvae, so if planted together you can watch the whole lifecycle of this lovely moth.

Occurs naturally on the Witwatersrand.   Size 25 to 35cm



Gladiolus dalenii
African Gladiolus (e), Vlamlelie (a), isidwi (z), sidvwana (Sw)

Very hardy, summer growing, deciduous perennial with erect, grey-green leaves in a fan that grow from a corm.  The tall, erect flowering stem has flowers varying from orange-red to yellow, pale green and speckled brown from Feb. to June.  It makes a spectacular show when planted in clumps. Plantes in a grassland garden, which is its natural habitat, it looks amazing above the grasses.  Plant in full sun or semi-shade.  Just looking at the flower you can see that it was used to develop the many different forms of Gladiolus that you can buy as a cut flower.  It has many medicinal and magical uses.   Size up to 1,5m



Sansevieria aethiopica  
Mother-in-law's Tongue (E), Skoonma-se-tong (A)

Hardy, succulent plant with subterranean horizontal stems and rosettes of erect mottled leaves.  The plants form dense stands under trees.  A tall flowering stem carries creamy, scented, whitish-yellow tubular flowers that open towards the evening at irregular periods during the year.  These are followed by reddish-orange berries that attract birds.  It makes a beautiful form plant that grows well in those difficult deep shade areas under trees, or simply use it in a container.   Size 30 to 50cm

 On the Farm

Can you believe a huge Bullfrog came out at this time of the year - this weather is confusing the wildlife and the plants never mind us.   Jeffrey found him on one of our roads and took him down to the dam before the tractor or bakkie rode over him.  Isn't it amazing how he ran off on all fours like a dog?  I hope he buried himself good and snug before the cold snap we have just had.

There was a beautiful Spoonbill at the dam and Jeffrey and I wanted to get a picture to show you.    Jeffrey got slowly out of the golf car and crawled on his haunches through the long grass (this near the home of the Rinkhals).  He was gently moving the grass stems apart trying his best bushman tracking tactics.  After this slow, careful movement he was about 5 meters away and just as he was about to press the shutter of the camera - the Spoonbill took off.  Poor Jeff he was full of grass seeds, a few ticks and no picture - for all his sacrifices to take the perfect picture to show you.

Linda raises the white flag - The moles have won.

After all my building of bulb beds, filling them then emptying them to put rubble and crushed stones and filling them again all just to deter the moles from having a feast of my bulbs - I give up.  Nothing I do seems to keep the moles out of the beds.  I have tried every environmental friendly method there is to keep them out - with no success at all.

I have finally, after persisting for the last 5 years, given up and changed the beds to succulent beds.  I will now grow my little Aloes in these beds in the hopes that the moles don't develop a taste for Aloes.

Jeffrey took these amazing pictures of the Tilapia in the pond in the nursery.  In the top picture of this newsletter you can see just how clear the water is. 


All we use for filtration is the bio bags that we sell in the nursery.  It is fantastic how this inexpensive solution to filtration actually works so well just by providing habitat for the organisms that help clean the water by using up the nutrients that cause algae bloom.  Tilapias also graze on the Algae helping to keep it in control.  The left picture unfortunately is not very good but you can clearly see the fish grazing on the bio bag. 

I just had to show you this picture of a Tilapia eating a worm it reminded me that the other day a Tilapia caught a Dragonfly as it was dipping into the water.  While they were having an epic fight Jeffrey ran for the camera but was too late to get a picture. 

Working with nature instead of against it is just so gratifying and works so well.



From Rosemary of the Herb Basket

Well, it is official… the cold is here.  We have already had temperatures of 20C.

I hope that you have harvested your basil and preserved it, either in oils & vinegars, as a pesto sauce or chopped up and frozen in ice cubes for use during the winter season.  If you have stevia in your gardens, now is the time to cut it back and dry the leaves for use in winter too.

The stevia dries beautifully - when the leaves are crisp and dry, store whole in a tight sealing glass jar out of the light to use to sweeten your drinks and food.  Lemon verbena can also be cut down now and the leaves dried for teas - they retain their fragrance beautifully

It is unfortunate that so many people believe that you can't grow in winter….this is not so and although the growth slows down, you can still grow many of valuable herb plants during winter. Most of the common herbs that can endure long cooking periods can be successfully grown now.  This includes the thymes, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, sage, parsleys, chervil, celery and coriander.

I can't do without thyme, the common thyme and the lemon thyme, I find it to be invaluable in seasoning food and really love the lemon thyme fragrance and flavour - try it with chicken and fish.

Sage growth does slow down but if in a protected spot, still very useful to have and essential with fatty meats and onion dishes. 

Rosemary is great with chicken and lamb. 

Contact Rosemary at [email protected] for more info on winter herbs and their uses.

Hope you enjoyed the bit on herbs

Keep Warm and Keep gardening


Cel 079-872-8975
email [email protected]



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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