Random Harvest Newsletter - September 2011

Posted On: Thursday, September 1, 2011

Please Note: We have had a problem with the server on our website which affected our mailing list.  This should now be sorted out.  All new subscribers will be on the new list and if you ask(ed) to be un-subscribed that will be done as well.

Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused, LINDA

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast

At last spring seems to have sprung - the plants are budding, the birds are singing and I am warm at last.

INVITATION

DEMONSTRATION OF HOW TO BUILD A POND

We had to postpone the pond demonstration until this Saturday the 3rd September and consequently a few people had to cancel.  If you were unable to attend and have time this weekend I am sure you will find it fascinating and see just how easy it is to create a beautiful, wildlife pond in your garden.

Cost R100.00 (includes tea and scones) - to book your space call David on 082-553-0598

FLOATING POTS

If you are cleaning and sorting out your pond think about a few floating pots.  They are a great way to add plants to a pond with very little effort - just plant in the pot provided, fit it into the ring and drop it in the pond.  You can tie a few together for added effect in a bigger pond or anchor them with a brick and bit of nylon string threaded through the holes in the pot to keep them in place.
Medium Floating Pot - R68.00
Small Floating Pot - R45.00

SPRING IS TIME FOR COLOUR

Some plants that are looking really great at the moment. 

Tulbaghia simmleri
Sweet Garlic (E)
Hardy, fast growing, deciduous, bulbous plant with attractive, grey-green, fleshy, strap-like leaves that die back in winter.  Umbels of deep lilac, sweetly scented flowers are borne on long stems and make an excellent cut flower.  It flowers from late summer (May) into early spring (Sept.).  Plant in well-drained soil in semi-shade or full sun.  Leave these bulbs in the ground where they will readily multiply adding to the colourful display each year.  Attract tiny insects to the garden.  Used medicinally.
Size 30cm

Ochna serrulata
Small Leaved Plane (E), Fynblaarrooihout (A), umBovu (Z),
S.A. No. 481
Very hardy, small, semi-deciduous shrub with glossy, mirror-like leaves that flush red in spring.  The profuse, bright yellow, scented flowers are borne from Sept. to Dec.  The flowers are short lived and amazingly fragrant.  They are followed by black fruit on an enlarged red calyx that looks like a flower and persists on the shrub for months.  As with Ochna natalitia this plant deserves pride of place in any garden. The seeds attract birds to the garden.   Grows very well in containers.  Plant in sun or semi- shade. Used medicinally.
Size 1 to 3m

Lampranthus aureus
Oranje Vygie (A)
Hardy, succulent shrublet with grey green succulent leaves.    As with all Lampranthus sp. it bears masses of glossy flowers.  This species is particularly beautiful with its large glistening orange flowers with a yellow centre that are borne in winter and spring in profusion.  Although they come from a winter rainfall area they adapt well to summer rain.  Plant in amongst other drought resistant plants or grasses in well-drained soil and wait for the display.  They will certainly not disappoint and will brighten up cold winter days. 
Size up to 30cm

The Greyias are all in flower or coming into flower. The three species are G. sutherlandii, G. radlkoferi and G. flanaganni.  G. sutherlandii and G. radlkoferi are very sculptural small to medium sized trees that bear the most gorgeous red flowers in spring on bare branches. G. flanaganni on the other hand is more of a large shrub and  bears beautiful clusters of red flowers for up to 8 months of the  year at the tips of the branches but whilst it is in leaf. 

We are lucky enough to have all of these different species in stock and in flower at the moment at R75.00 each.

Besides these plants there are a lot of different plants coming into bloom that will be looking amazing in a week or two especially the Osteospermums.

REMEMBER TO LET EARTHWORMS HELP YOU PREPARE YOUR GARDEN FOR SPRING

We have a new fertiliser in stock 'Nutrimix' earthworm castings.  I have tried it in my soil mix and have had good results so far.  The price is R49.50 for 15dm making it an economical natural fertiliser for your garden.

EARTHWORM COMPOST

The stock of Earthworm compost is almost depleted for this year and at just @ R29.00 per bag I would make sure I get some of this lovely dark compost, which is full of earthworm castings, eggs and even some earthworms.

VEGETABLE SEEDS

We have just received our new stock of vegetable seeds.  Now is the time to plant the seeds if you would like to produce some yummy veg in your garden.  There is really nothing to beat the taste of freshly picked vegetables from your own garden.  Maybe that is just the Italian peasant in me.

TREES

Some of the trees are looking truly amazing at the moment.  I have taken pictures of a few of them for you. 

The bare tree I love most is the Acacia polyacantha I call it my ghost tree with its white bark starkly contrasted against the dark blue sky in the early morning light.  I have to visit it every morning just to marvel at its beauty. Take a look at the beautiful stems of Psydrax obovata and who in their right mind would want to plant that tree of the frozen north a Silver Birch?   P. obovata is not only evergreen with beautiful glossy green leaves but has clusters of beautiful white flowers that are followed by black seeds making it a perfect tree for birds - nesting, resting, breeding If you are looking for beautiful coloured leaves in autumn and winter you need look no further than Heteropyxis canescens.  We took this picture last week which just goes to show how long the beautiful colours last.

Acacia rehmanniana
Silky Thorn (E), Sydoring (A), Musivhisha (V)
Hardy, drought resistant, semi-deciduous Acacia with small, attractive grey-green, velvety leaves.  The beautiful red bark on the young stems glows in the sunlight while the mature bark has dark brown rough strips with a red background.  The white puffball flowers have a silvery sheen, and are grouped at the end of branches from Nov. to Feb.  These are followed by clusters of lovely beige, woody pods that persist on the tree.  It matures into a lovely flat-topped tree that can be used instead of Acacia sieberiana (Paperbark Thorn) in smaller gardens.  This beautiful medium sized Acacia attracts a host of wildlife and makes a wonderful garden plant.

Size 6 to 10m - in Gauteng 5 to 8m  S.A. No. 182
 

ON THE FARM

The dawn chorus started on Monday last week.  Isn't it just great to be woken up by the birds in the morning instead of the alarm or the telephone?  I love just lying in my bed for a few moments just listening to the birds - a true privilege indeed.

There have been flocks of up to about 50 Common Waxbills in the nursery.  I am amazed as I only saw them for the first time last year.  They are also flitting in and out of a dense hedge in my mom's garden - I am sure that they are looking into it as a potential nesting site.

Talking of my mom's garden, she noticed that her fishes were depleted in the pond and was wondering what had happened to them, maybe the cold?  Maybe it was the Hamerkop who has been hanging around a bit although we have never seen him fishing at any of the ponds. 

She decided to keep an eye on the pond and imagine her surprise when the Brown-hooded Kingfisher dived into the pond and came out with one of the few fish left in its bill. 

I was surprised as I was under the impression that they only ate insects but I checked in Roberts Birds and they actually do fish sometimes.  Very exciting but I still have to catch him in the act.

The Mousebirds are feasting on the nectar of the last flush of the Aloe flowers in the garden.  From this picture you can see clearly why they are called Mousebirds - their feathers look like fur. 

Amazingly enough we saw a whole lot of them together with Bulbuls and a few other birds I failed to identify in the Brachylaena discolor.  

I never thought of the Brachylaena as a particularly good bird tree.  I looked at the flower and couldn't see any discernable nectar and can only think that they were pulling the green seeds (like tiny spring onions) out of the middle and eating them.  I need to try and find out exactly what they were after.

The Olive Thrush is such a cocky little bird.  I have 2 grindstones with water in one slightly above the other making space for 2 birds to bathe in.  A Bulbul came down to bath followed by the Thrush. 

The Thrush started an aggressive display to chase the bulbul.  He went on to bath - as soon as his back was turned the Bulbul was in the top grindstone.  When the Thrush noticed him he again aggressively displayed. 

This little tableau went on for a few minutes until they had both bathed.

I always think spring has arrived when the Hoopoe start calling, I just love it.  The Burchells Coucal has also been calling like crazy - hopefully he is calling the rain. 

I have also heard the Grey Hornbill and Brown-hooded Kingfisher calling in amongst the rest of the birdsong.  My next one to look forward to is the Paradise Flycatcher - then I will really believe summer is here. 

There have been a few new birds visiting the feeding station amongst which were the Southern Boubou Shrike who gives his really aggressive call if someone dares goes near his suet ball. 

The Glossy Starlings have been quite acrobatic in their efforts to get the suet ball from the top. 

The Cape Robin and cutest Striped Field Mouse have been taking the opportunity of eating the seed and suet the other birds drop.  Quite a parade going on outside my office.

The Geese have all been sitting on eggs and 3 hatched 2 weeks ago.  Another 8 hatched yesterday, they are just cute little fluff balls. 

When you see the 2 week old with the new babies they look like gangly teenagers. 

It is always such a lovely time of year when we have the babies running around the farm.

Happy gardening out in the sunshine and warmth.

Sincerely

 

Linda

 

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)

 

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

 

DIRECTIONS

 

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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