Monday, April 22, 2013


I just realised I forgot to add the latest newsletter from Linda as previously promised.
Much love Marianne

Hard to believe it is the last gasp of summer and that the autumn equinox is a mere 3 weeks away.  We may be heading towards cooler weather but aren't the plants looking great and they are growing at such an amazing rate it is difficult to keep the nursery looking neat.
In the Nursery 
Toddlers trundle (from 18 months to 3 years) on Saturday 9th March; 10h00 to 11h30 Talk about a blank moment - the wrong date on the last newsletter for the toddlers trundle.  I would like to confirm that it is on Saturday 9th.   Bring the little ones along for a morning of fun and wonder.
Cost R50.00 (including parent / caregiver). Refreshment available from Waterlily Tea Garden
Senior Citizens Tea and Talk (for the over 60's) on Thursday 14th March; 10h00 to 11h30 Spend some quality time talking about indigenous plants for tiny gardens and containers with Jeffrey and Jonathan while enjoying tea and scones under the trees.  We are offering a 10% discount on all plants purchased and there will also be a lucky draw for a hamper of goodies.
Cost: R30.00 incl. scones and tea
Easter TreatsEaster Treasure Hunt for Children from Saturday 30th March to Saturday, 6th April;  Daily from 08h00 - 17h00 An Easter treasure hunt with a strong environmental theme.  The kids will learn about some of our fascinating indigenous flora as they discover the answers to clues on your treasure hunt.  At the end of the trail they will receive a small gift and some sweeties.
Free of charge - No Booking necessary
Saturday 30th March and Monday 1st April; 10h00 onwards - Easter High TeaFrans and Yolam have a wonderful Easter-themed high tea on offer in Waterlily Tea Garden on these two days.  The selection of sweet and savoury delicacies are sure to delight your palate!
Cost: Adults R110 per person, R55.00 per child under 12
BOOKING ESSENTIAL - call David on 082-553-0598
Saturday 2nd March; 9.00 to 13.00 - Workshop onCreating Biodiversity Gardens at Schools - A WESSA Eco-schools Green Flag Project Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery is hosting a talk and workshop on creating biodiversity gardens in school grounds. The morning will cover a step by step process for educators to create gardens that encourage our micro-wildlife to visit or take up residence in the school. Using a biodiversity garden as a teaching and learning tool for various subjects within the school curriculum will also be covered in the workshop. 
The workshop includes some take-home printed material.  Additional resources will be on sale during the tea break and after the workshop
Cost: R150 .00 includes tea and info pack
BOOKING ESSENTIAL David: 082 553 0598
Saturday, 6th April 08h00 to 17h00 - Succulent Planting DayCreate a succulent garden in a container - as large or as small as you wish. A range of small succulents and accessories will be available, that you can combine under supervision and with some advice if required.  A lovely family activity as it is for all ages. Bring your own container or choose from our selection of pots.
Free. Items to be used charged individually.
BOOKING ESSENTIAL David: 082 553 0598
Saturday, 13th and 20th April 09h00 to 12h30 - Mixed Media Workshop - Part 1 and 2Decorate a picture frame with mosaicing items and bits and pieces of memorabilia. We will provide the basics, but bring along anything you would like to add to your frame to make it personal.  No grouting necessary. Proceed at your pace, and complete over one or two mornings.
R180.00 per person per day incl. tea. R150 per day if booking both days
BOOKING ESSENTIAL David: 082 553 0598
Saturday 11 May, 2013 all day - Mothers Day High Tea Let Random Harvest Tea Garden help you spoil Mum with a delicious high tea in idyllic surrounds. An array of sweet and savoury delights are sure to let her know how special she is to you. Mums will also receive a free gift from Random Harvest.
R110  per person. Children half price (R55.00)
BOOKING ESSENTIAL David: 082 553 0598
Bird feeding station in the garden
A bird feeding station in your garden will give you endless joy and fascination as you watch the visitors and their endless antics and squabblings.
There are a few points to remember for a successful feeding station.
You should provide as wide a range of foods as possible to attract the widest number of species.  Remember that birds such as your Robins and Thrushes scratch on the ground for their food so some provision should be made for them as well.  A nice thick layer of mulch around the feeding station will do nicely for them to scratch in.
A dense shrub planted next to the feeding station is vitally important as, if the birds are alarmed, they have somewhere close by to hide until the danger is past.
Provide water in the form of a grindstone that they can walk into and safely bathe.  There should also be some dense planting close by for shelter.  A Birdbath on a pedestal is nice for most of the birds but provision of water at ground level is important for some birds as well as for lizards and other ground living creatures.
We have a range of products to enhance your enjoyment of the birds from suet balls for insect eaters to seeds and fruit feeders as well as peanut feeders and fresh corn feeders.
Local plants to attract birds to the garden.
 Rhamnus prinoides (Dogwood) is probably one of the best berry providers for fruit eating birds as it bears berries almost all year round. This is quite a big and wild shrub and should be controlled in smaller gardens by regular pruning.  Cassinopsis ilicifolia (Lemon Thorn) is another great berry providing plant. This shrub makes a beautiful container plant and can be trimmed into an attractive hedge. Keep pruned in smaller gardens to contain the size
 Gymnosporia buxifolia (Common Spike Thorn) offers safe nesting sites for the birds as well as a bounty of insects that visit the flowers and the nutritious seeds for the onset of winter.  Ehretia rigida (Puzzle Bush) this aptly named plant has numerous stems that gracefully arch. It bears masses of lilac flowers in early spring and these are followed by beautiful orange berries which offer a bounty to the birds at the time they need extra energy for the start of the breeding season. Contain the number of stems in smaller gardens.
 Grewia occidentalis (Cross Berry) has delicious edible fruits and gorgeous pink starry flowers almost all year round. Keep in shape with regular pruning.  Duvernoia aconitiflora (Lemon Pistol Bush)The nectar-laden flowers of this attractive fast growing shrub attract Sunbirds and butterflies. Plant in sun or semi shade. Flowers almost all year round.
The best thing you can do for the birds in the garden and your soil and plants is to put a generous layer of mulch onto the soil once or twice a year.
Living within this layer of wood chips is a world of tiny insects that break down the wood and provide free meals for your ground scratching birds.  These same insects burrow into the soil making tiny tunnels that aerate the soil and help distribute the nutrients from the composting process of the wood.
Mulch also acts as a blanket to the soil and prevents the soil from freezing and thus killing off all the tiny roots near the surface of the soil.
To save money why not collect from us by the trailer load at R185.00 per cubic meter or by the bag at R19.95.
Plants that are looking good at the moment.
Helichrysum cymosum (Impepho) has beautiful silvery leaves and works well on banks or growing as a sub shrub under trees. Plectranthus species (Spurflowers) are coming into flower and what a show they will give in March.  The Plectranthus Mona Lavender are looking particularly good at the moment.
  Not only are the flowers beautiful but they attract a whole host of butterflies as well such as this Eyed Pansy which is sipping nectar from a Galpinia transvaalensis (Wild Pride of India).
Waterlily Tea Garden and Meeting and Training Venue.
I thought I would give you a gentle reminder of what a great place the tea garden is for a business breakfast or meeting place for friends for special occasions.
The small conference venue is also getting more popular with all delegates enjoying the ambience and the food.  Mostly people do not want to have to go home and back to the rat race.  We can accommodate that wish as well in the Bed and Breakfast cottages.
Please remember us next time you need a break or somewhere to meet.
On the farm
In my wisdom I decided to clean the dam and weed around it.
The area now looks great but I was a bit ambitious with the cleaning around the dam and destroyed some of the cover the baby Moorhens had been using.
After all my efforts to save them a Black Headed Heron managed to catch one of them.  I was really sad as the babies were almost grown.
This highlights just how careful you have to be when providing habitat for wildlife.
I have certainly learned my lesson and will be more circumspect when dealing with the habitat I have spent so much effort creating.  One small misjudgement and tragedy happens.
Jeff found this gorgeous little terrapin walking along the road.  I think he is a marsh terrapin.
This is a very widespread species, occurring in most parts of the country, where slow-moving or still water is present.
They are often seen on land as they move from one water body to another. They grow to about 20 to 30cm.
They are omnivorous, eating just about anything from water weed to frogs and insects -  even birds that they lie in wait for - ambushing them when they come to drink.
We went and put him in the dam hoping he will move in and not move along.
Although he will be making a hearty meal of the frogs.  Everything we do has its own consequences.
I was also really excited to see this little African Stone Chat down at the dam.  He is a really pretty bird.
Jeffrey is getting really good with his pictures.  I was amazed to see the stripy body of this beautiful Citrus Swallowtail butterfly so busy sipping at a little mud patch in the nursery.
Butterflies will readily make use of any place that they can take up mineral-enriched liquid, particularly muddy or wet sandy areas such as the one pictured.
Amazing just how beautiful nature is if you manage to capture a moment like this.
I think I have to be one of the only nursery people in the world who gets excited when worms eat my plants.
Not only am I excited but I go and collect the worms that have left the tree because all the leaves are eaten and put them onto a tree that has enough leaves for them.
Totally weird for a nursery person.
These mopane worms were on the Schotia brachypetala (Weeping Boerbean).
I was also excited to find the empty egg cases.
The mopane worm is the larval stage of the Mopane Moth.
They feed on a wide range of plants, including Diospyros species, Rhus species, Sclerocarya caffra, and Terminalia species.
The Schotia that they had stripped is already putting on new leaves so no harm done and we got hours of pleasure just watching them.  Cheap at the price!
Not only are the Schotia getting eaten but the Ekebergia capensis (Cape Ash) and Cussonia sp (Kiepersols) are also being eaten by the larvae of the emperor moths.
You have to be vigilant to see what happens to these larvae.  When they are ready to pupate they all let themselves down on a string of silk together and bury themselves in the soil to pupate in relative safety.
I have only managed to see this once.
When I see things like this hare in the nursery it is not only a joyful and exciting experience but it also confirms that we are right not to use poisons that kill every living thing within their reach.   So what if a few plants have to be thrown away if they are unhealthy.  What can compare with sharing your life with the wildlife around you - no money can pay for that.
I have been growing plants for years but they still manage to amaze me every day.  The forms and shapes are endless.

  I have been growing Mimusops obovata (Bush Red Milkwood) for years and this is the first time I have seen the flowers and how strange they are - amazing!
  Years ago I managed to get some seeds of Turraea obtusifolia (Small Honeysuckle Tree) and after much patience I have the most beautiful plant in my garden.  You can smell the flowers from 15m away.  It is mostly worth the wait to have a corner in the garden where you plant slow growing plants which over time mature into beautiful specimens.  Hopefully I will now have some seeds to sow and share them with my customers. 
I was very excited to see a Fork Tailed Drongo sitting on the windmill in the nursery.  Another addition to our birding list.
I would also like to remind you that we are no longer involved with the nursery at Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden.  If you are looking for Random Harvest quality plants and service you will have to visit us here in Muldersdrift.
Cottage to Let
We have a lovely, large 2 Bed-roomed cottage to let here at Random Harvest so if you know of anyone who would be interested please let them call my mom Rita on 083-302-7370.
Take a few minutes out of each day and just sit and enjoy your garden - look forward to seeing you here in the nursery.



  1. Thanks so much for keeping us updated to Lindas newsletter all the way from South Africa, Marianne.
    I love to read about all the seasonal plants and about the happenings at Random Harvest quality plants and service there in Muldersdrift.
    Tell her from me that she writes a wonderful newsletter that is very informative and that her photos are great.
    I need to find an Australian volunteer to write something here from Australia in a similar way to how Linda does it for you there in South Africa Marianne.
    Thanks so much for sharing. xo

    1. She will be tickled pink when I tell her, what you said, Milli. Hugs.


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