Random Harvest Newsletter - June 2012

Posted On: Friday, June 1, 2012

 

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Dear Indigenous Enthusiast

Hasn't this weather been beautiful?  Unbelievably it is only 3 weeks to mid-winter and the days starting to get longer.  Another 3 weeks after that and the sap will slowly start rising in preparation of bursting forth in spring.  The way time flies these days - that is just around the corner.

The nursery is looking absolutely amazing.  There are still lots of plants in colour and the Barleria obtusa  (Bush Violet) are still covered in pale Blue flowers and looking just gorgeous.  

Dyschroiste thunbergiflora Barleria obtusa
 
Black Sunbird on Wild Dagga Garden acraea on euryops

There seem to be a lot of blue and purple flowers at the moment, and one of the prettiest is Dyschoriste thunbergiflora (Dyschoriste).   Its beautiful blue flowers have almost navy nectar guides to encourage insects to pollinate it.  Masses of flowers are borne in autumn and early winter with intermittent flowering during the rest of the year.  It is a beautiful shrub for a sheltered garden and can be grown in sun or semi shade.

The Sunbirds are flitting around the Leonotis leonurus (Wild Dagga) making the most of the bounty of nectar.  Not only are the Sunbirds busy but the Wild Dagga is also humming with a huge variety of insects as well.  We managed to get a picture of the Black Sunbird.  He flits so fast it is difficult to get a perfect picture.

We still have some Pincushions and Ericas in the nursery.  Of course this is the time for the fynbos plants to bloom, and they are looking just gorgeous.

Some people may think the yellow daisy bush Euryops pectinatus is a bit boring but it certainly helps brighten up a winter garden with its masses of cheerful yellow daisies.  Nip it back regularly and remove the dead flowers and this very hardy shrub will give months of pleasure.  An added bonus is that the butterflies just love it.

The Buddleja auriculata (Weeping Sage) are just coming into bud.  In a few weeks they will be open and you will have a delicious fragrance wafting through your garden.  This tough plant needs pruning back after it has flowered to keep it in shape and ensure an abundance of flowers next season.

Keep your garden pretty in pink with the delicate looking but really tough Diascia integerrima  with its year round flowering time.

There are lovely Strelitzia regina in 20 litre bags.  The flower is such a symbol of South African flora and really loved by all.   Plant a Strelitzia in your garden and watch the sunbirds, they just love the nectar.

The Succulent garden is looking great.  I will leave it up for about another 6 weeks.  If you haven't had time to come and see for yourself just how beautiful it is I think you should visit us and be inspired to plant succulents.

Help with your Halleria - Judging from the number of calls I have received the Halleria lucida (Tree Fuchsia) have been badly attacked by a small white fly.  This is not the usual white fly but about 4 times as big.  The leaves are turning spotty and sticky and falling off.

I judiciously used the environmentally friendly option of Pyrol to spray the plants and have had great success.  My Hallerias are all coming back.  You do need to spray under the leaves as well as on top.  Spray every 4 days for 4 or 5 times.  I am going to keep a watch and spray them a few times again in mid-July, mid-August and mid-September.

Father's Day - Breakfast on 16th June - (the day before Father's Day).

Spoil Dad with a hearty cooked breakfast and sit outdoors under the majestic trees listening to the birds and sipping piping hot coffee.

He can also collect his gift of bird seed so he can sit in the sun and watch the birds squabbling over the seed - and RELAX.
 
I am sure there is nowhere he would rather be than at Random Harvest
 
Herbal Hand Cream - We are now selling this hand cream in the shop.  The cream is really great after you have ploughed your way through a pile of dishes or after a hard day's gardening.  Repair chapped or dry hands at only R35.00 per pot.  You need only a little, and the comfort and smoothness is almost instant…the carefully chosen herbal extracts really work!!!

Bird Paintings (now frogs as well) - What a great present for Dad!  Now there are not only birds hand painted onto the pieces of slate but frogs as well.  Considering the work in them I think they are going for a song.  Starting at just R90.00 up to R500.00 for the big owls. 

There are also hand painted fridge magnets at R48.50.

Lip Balm - New stock of Honey and Beeswax lip balm with some olive oil and apricot oil in it for good measure has just arrived.  I love this divine product and am now so spoilt I will not use anything else.

June 5 is World Earth Day - Think of this beautiful earth we live on and share with so many other species.  Create habitat for micro fauna (all the tiny things that share our space) and do something positive for the tiny piece of this earth that we are custodians of.  Indigenous plants are the basis of creating habitat in our gardens.  Even if it is only 3 or 4 species we plant in our gardens they will provide food and shelter for the garden residents.

Protecting our earth is a conscious decision that we need to make - plant indigenous, create habitat, beware of poisons and treasure the soil.

Dead wood

Rotting wood is so important for the insects and birds in the gardens.  Leave some of the bigger dead branches in the tree for hole nesting sites for the birds.

The smaller branches can be cut and left to gently rot away on the ground.  They will provide food and habitat for insects.  These in turn will attract birds such as Robins and Thrushes which just love scratching and probing for insects on the ground.

Add to this some winter flowering plants in sunny areas and both the birds and insects will be happy.

Blog

I am busy putting an article on trees and pools on the website.  All the info is there and the pictures should be up in a weeks' time.

N.B.  The nursery at Walter Sisulu Botanical garden has nothing to do with Random Harvest.  It has been many years since we had anything to do with this nursery.

Please remember if you are looking for Random Harvest quality and service you will have to come directly here to the farm.

Past Events

Mother's day High Tea went well.  All the feedback we had was a yummy high tea.  A great time was had by all sitting under the trees and being spoilt.

Pridwin School visit. - The boys of Grade 1 at Pridwin School visited us for a morning learning about wood in our world. 

The feedback was that the boys had an all-round "awesome" time.

Scratching in the compost and mulch for grubs was a hit.

I think they all went home dirty and happy after experiencing something really different for city children.

On the Farm.

As usual I live such an interesting life here on Random Harvest.

I saw some of my sworn enemies - crows at the dam.  Jeffrey and I go down to chase them and see one staring intently and a couple bombing down to the ground.  Lo and Behold! There was a slender mongoose.  I have seen him around and at least this time managed to get a picture albeit not a great one.

Crow Mongoose

Talking about exciting sightings of the Mongoose.  Last Sunday morning I was sitting quietly in my cottage and looked over my shoulder and there was the Slender Mongoose drinking from my bird bath.  As I turned around he looked directly into my eyes and then shot off into the garden.

I don't know if you can imagine my excitement, but I nearly jumped out of my skin.  What a privilege.

Jeffrey was lucky to see this Black Shouldered Kite.  He followed his progress around the farm and luckily enough got a picture of him eating a rat he caught.  Unfortunately not of him swooping down on the rat.  That would have been a bonus.  The Black Shouldered Kites has starting to hang around the farm and we are seeing them regularly.  Lucky!

Black Shouldered Kite
   
Sacred Ibis Hadeda

After I cut the grass around the dam the Sacred Ibis are back.  I have mostly seen them hanging around on the edges of dams but never in the water.  I just loved the scene in the picture and had to share it with you.  They are strange unwieldy looking birds

While on the subject of Ibis - I saw this lump on one of the compost heaps.  I thought it was a dead Hadeda.  I always worry about poisons used in the area around us as over the years I have found a few dead birds.

Happily this Hadeda was just enjoying the heat coming up through the compost on his tummy and the sun on his back.  Talk about an idyllic life.

Nature is amazing.  We burnt a fire break around the big compost heap.  I really don't like to see the blackened grass and always think of the creatures although we do walk through the grass and try to make sure we are not going to burn something. 

Inevitably we do have casualties, so imagine how happy I was when this Yellow Pansy butterfly landed like a little ray of sunshine on the black grass. 

Take a few moments to look at the so called 'drab and dull' Highveld in winter.  The colours in the grasses are amazing and when the sun which is so low in the sky shines through them they are really beautiful.  Not drab but beautiful autumn colours and full of life.

When next you visit us at Random Harvest bring your binoculars along as this is a great time to bird watch when the trees are bare and even the leaves on the evergreens have thinned out.

Be well, warm and happy

Sincerely

Linda

Cell 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 Saturday, 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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