Monday, June 3, 2013

Update from Random Harvest ............

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,
Three weeks to go to mid-winter and the days are starting to get longer, time just flies.  I can't wait for the light to start brightening up, it always makes me feel better.
I would like to say thank you to all of you who have visited us on Sundays - now that we are open.  It has been great to see all the old faces of customers who were not able to make it during the week or Saturdays.

Father's Day June 16th
Bring Dad along for a delicious 'Dig in' Breakfast priced at R55.00.  The breakfast will be a Sunrise breakfast of bacon, sausages, eggs, tomato, toast and homemade jam and served with a pastry for something a little sweet for afters.
All the Dads will get a culinary herb planted up in a terracotta pot as a thank you from us for the support over the years.
Public Holiday June 17th
Visit us on this day and every customer who spends R150.00 or more will receive a free litre bottle of bird seed to help keep the birds in their garden happy and to afford them hours of bird watching pleasure.
Proteadal - Development of one of the last wild areas in the metropolitan area - disgusting
Please help to stop this development by taking part in the campaign to try and wake the Mogale City Town council to what Gauteng and all of the people who live here will lose for short term monetary gain (In my opinion greed is mostly what it is about)
The campaign is called Protect the Krugersdorp Ridges from Development.
Please sign this petition to help to convince the Mogale City Council that they should not allow development to destroy the very ridges that create the sense of place and allow wildlife to survive in urban areas.
These ridge areas are listed as a Critically Endangered Ecosystem, much of the area is listed as "Irreplaceable site" by Gauteng Provincial Nature Conservation Dept. The Krugersdorp portion is home to a rare orchid which represents the last known population of the species on earth. In addition to the above the world renowned breeding pair of Black Eagles resident in the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens, use these ridge areas for hunting and raising their young.
Hold Control and click on the links below to add you voice of protest: - Protect the Krugersdorp Ridges

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New Books
The guide to the 'Wildflowers of the Magaliesburg' by Kevin Gill and Andry Engelbrecht is a definite 'must have' if you live in Gauteng.  It is concise and clear with great pictures and easily understandable text.
It is also a great size to carry with you into the veld or when you go bird watching or fishing.  Finding out what the plants are around you can only make your excursion more enjoyable.
If you partner this with 'Wildflowers of the Highveld' by Braam van Wyk you are pretty well covered when identifying our wildflowers.
The book 'There is a Butterfly in my garden' is a great little book if you would like to get to know butterflies and encourage them to your garden.  Lievke Noyens is an enthusiastic amateur and has written a very readable book that is easy to follow.
Succulent display and Courtyard Garden
We have revamped the courtyard garden and planted it up with succulents to give you some inspiration on how lovely a succulent courtyard can be with its textures and different colour leaves.  As you can see from the pictures the doves love this garden as well.
We have an interesting variety of succulents available and an assortment of the beautiful Aloe hybrids in full flower and looking magnificent.  The hybrid Aloes and succulents make interesting and beautiful container plants.  Let your imagination run wild when planting and see what interesting textures and shapes you can create in a container.
Interesting goodies in the shop
Herb afrique - natural skin products.  My personal favourite in the 3 way gel for showering, washing you face and hair.  I can't wait to get in the shower to use this gel it smells and feels great.  The other product I am never without is their Skin Resque for all sorts of little skin eruptions from mozzie bites to little scratches, itches and grazes.
If you loved the Random Harvest Gardeners Hand Cream we have the last few pots available.  Unfortunately we will not be able to get the exact same formulation again.
The new stock of Lip Balm has arrived at last so if you are having withdrawal symptoms now is the time to stock up for winter.
There are some pretty butterfly cut outs to stick on your sliding doors and windows.
Crane Festival at Chrissiemeer
The crane festival will be held on Friday 12 & Saturday 13 July 2013
Why not spend a weekend in and around the beautiful grasslands and lakes around Chrissiemeer and get to meet and learn about our South African Cranes and also the Cranes of the world from experts who are passionate about them.
Contact Ursula Franke or 083 332 8859 to find out about the activities and to book you place and visit the Grey Crowned Crane flock of about a hundred  birds.
Plants that are looking good at the moment.
The cheerful Gazania krebsiana (Botterblom) are looking particularly cheerful.  Any size garden with a bid of sun can enjoy this little groundcover as much as the butterflies do. The Hypoestes have been amazing and while the purple form is in full bloom the white form is just beginning to flower.  A great plant for some colour in shady areas at this time of the year.
The white flowered form of the Felicia amelloides is also looking great.  You can take a walk to our mother plant area in the nursery and see just how pretty these plants are.  Once again the butterflies will enjoy them as much as you do. The Euryops pectinatus behind the gazebo in the nursery have been in full flower for months and look so beautiful as well as being the dance floor for butterflies collecting nectar.
If you just look at the pictures of a few of the plants in full flower how can people live under the very mistaken impression that indigenous plants are not colourful.  I challenge anyone to see so many flowering perennials and trees in an exotic nursery.
The soil is getting really dry now so a good idea would be to mulch with compost which retains some moisture which is so important for the tiny organisms that keep your garden healthy.  We have bagged up our own homemade compost which has been made naturally without any chemical help.
Introduction to Garden Design & Planning in August by Lindsay Gray
After a most successful course held recently at the beautiful Random Harvest Nursery where we had the opportunity to experiment and 'play' with the many colourful and textured plants to illustrate some of the principles of good garden design, I can hardly believe that it is time to offer the course again.
Join me on 19/20/21 July for yet another fabulous 2- or 3-day Introduction to Garden Design & Planning. Our add-on module on the Friday (19th), whilst still optional, is not to be missed. Learn how to create a sustainable garden, no matter how small your space, while introducing some biodiversity in your planting to attract all manner of wildlife. I do hope that Tinus Oberholzer who revised the Pitta Joffe book, Creative Gardening with Indigenous Plants, will be a guest speaker on the day.
To book your space, contact Lindsay on 082 44 99 237 or email
On the Farm
The trees are looking magnificent with their many and varied colour autumn leaves.  From the bright yellow of the Tabernaemontana elegans (Toad Tree) through the reds of the Greyia sutherlandii (Natal Bottlebrush), Kirkia acuminata and Combretum kraussii (Forest Bush Willow), the rich reddish brown of the Bersama lucens (Glossy White Ash)and the gorgeous orange leaves of the Croton grattisimus (Lavender Fever Berry). 
Who said winter was not colourful?
Not only do these leaves look beautiful but as they fall they make amazing mulch for your garden or if you prefer you can put them onto the compost heap and use the compost for mulch.  Alternately you could make leaf mould.  This takes some time but is amazing for growing seeds in.
A big heap of leaves is also a lot of fun for the children to jump into and play.
Talking of trees I was beside myself with joy when my one and only Seemanaralia gerrardii (Wild Maple) flowered for the first time and it is 20 years old.  I was relieved to see that the flowers are bisexual so hopefully I will get some seeds to plant.  This Cussonia-like plant is endemic to South Africa and occurs in rocky ravines.  Another really exciting plant is the Scolopia mundii (Red Pear) which flowered for the first time and I think it is about 10 years old.  This tree has the most beautiful bark and when it is covered in white flowers with the odd bright red leaf in the crown it is something to see.  I was happy to see that there are tiny seeds forming.  This is a tree I have been searching for seeds of for years so hopefully my seeds will mature and I can start growing them.
I was really the hell in when one of our tenants who is an avid birder saw a Crimson Breasted Shrike in the Faidherbia albida (Ana tree) in his garden.  I didn't like the fact that he saw it and Jeffrey and I didn't.
He managed to take a picture albeit not a great one but proof at least that he was a hundred percent right.  He now has strict instructions if the bird comes back to call me immediately so I can see him as well.
Jeffrey and I had a consolation prize of a whole family of Tawny Flanked Prinia playing in the shrubbery right close to where we were sitting in the golf car.  The babies were really cute and even tinier than the parents.  We sat there fascinated watching them for about 15 minutes. 
We also learned a valuable lesson.  Why we were there was to decide which shrubs to take out and which to cut back to 'clean up'.
In the process of cleaning up we would have destroyed the habitat in which these little birds are happiest.
Lesson learned we will not be cleaning up and cutting back but leaving the habitat for these little birds intact even if a little untidy.
I am happy to tell you that the Red Winged Starlings are becoming regular visitors at the feeding station in the nursery.
It is so lovely to hear their gently, fluting calls coming closer and closer until they arrive at the feeding area.
They are still a little shy and don't stay for long but I am sure this will change with time.
The Grey Hornbills have been very active and they too, have a lovely gentle call which we are hearing in the nursery.
I thought I would add this picture of the tables in front of Bushwillow Cottage.
Doesn't it look inviting?
If you are tempted by this picture remember we have a winter special on in the cottages at the moment of just R395.00 per person sharing for bed and breakfast.
Well! Cuddle up and keep warm.
Hope to see you soon here at Random Harvest.
Cell 079-872-8975
For directions please go to our website : or call 082-553-0598
Hours of business 8:00 to 17:00 Monday to Sundays

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