Random Harvest Newsletter - July 2012

Posted On: Sunday, July 1, 2012

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Dear Indigenous enthusiast,

The longest night is over and done with for the year.  It starts to get lighter quickly now and with the way time flies spring is just around the corner, not that it has been a bad winter so far.

As we headed towards mid-winter the light was really incredible.  I just loved riding around the nursery with Jeffrey and watching the play of shadows on the ground. 

The light shining on the creamy stems of the Acacia polyacantha (White Thorn) has been nothing short of magnificent.  The light is the real bonus of winter.

July is Tree Month

Let's celebrate trees this month.  July is a good time to marvel at the wonderful architecture of trees and to see the bark clearly and showing off beautifully in the low light. 

The bark of some species of trees actually seems to glow in this light. 

Towards the end of the month is when the trees start budding and producing their delicate little leaves - miraculous.

Tree Display with a difference

We are busy building a display garden on how to use small and tiny trees in small and tiny spaces as well as trees in containers for balconies and courtyards. 

This should be ready on the 15th July and we hope it inspires you to use more of our beautiful indigenous trees.

We are also going to show how a biodiversity or wildlife garden need not look wild and woolly (which I love) but can be neat and tidy and more of a conventional garden but still cater to the needs of wildlife.

In this spirit we are offering a 10% Discount on all trees for the month of July.

Compost special

July is a good time to start preparing the soil in your garden for the spring blossoming.  I have also managed to get ahead with my own compost making so am able to offer you our own Random Harvest Compost on special.

With every 3 x 30dm bags @ R21.50 each of Random Harvest compost purchased get

1 bag of mulch free

This will also help if you have a vegetable garden as now is the time to prepare and add compost to your soil.

Wood in our World

The children's program we did with Pridwin School was so interesting and the kids had a ball, so we decided to run the program for your children as well during the school holidays.

This will provide a fascinating look into where wood comes from and its importance in our lives and in nature.

Tactile stimulation at its best! Children will get to grips with huge tree trunk pieces, bark, compost and mulch. They will get up close and personal with the bugs and beasties that inhabit it too.

Each child will plant and take home a tree seedling of their own, as well as other goodies.

Venue: Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery
Cost: R90 per child. Siblings-10% discount.
Dates:  Tuesday 3rd July and Saturday 14th July
Time:  9.30am to 12.30pm
Booking essential: Call David at 082 553 0598 or Email: [email protected]

Tree walk

Jeffrey and I will take you around to show you some of our beautiful Indigenous trees in the nursery and gardens. 

We will share with you some of just why we love these trees so much and hope you will be able to see the trees through our eyes and why they are such an endless fascination.

Venue: Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery
Cost: R70 per person including tea or coffee and biscuits on arrival and breakfast after the walk.
Dates:  Saturday 21st July
Time:  8.30am
Booking essential: Call David at 082 553 0598 or Email: [email protected]
Bring your binoculars as this is a great time for bird watching.

Bird Walk with Andre Marx

Andre Marx has kindly agreed to do a bird walk again.  He, as many enthusiasts know, is a walking encyclopaedia on birds and their calls.

Venue: Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery
Cost: R70 per person including tea or coffee and biscuits on arrival and breakfast after the walk.
Dates:  Saturday 4th August
Time:  7.30am
Booking essential: Call David at 082 553 0598 or Email: [email protected]
Remember to bring your binoculars along.

Bird Seed

If you are one of those inveterate bird feeders that has hours of fun watching the birds at the feeding station.  We now have 25kg bags of Wild Bird seed in stock at R225.00 per bag - many hours of bird watching.

Nectar and Pollen

Yolam has added a new title of not only chef to our customers but also chef to the wildlife.

I never cease to be amazed at what happens on this farm.  The bees have been going crazy rolling around and collecting the white meal from the mielies in the wild bird seed.  I phoned around to find out what was happening and why they were doing it.  

Apparently they collect the meal when pollen and nectar is short (at Random Harvest, what a shock). 

This is not a good thing as they take it into the hive and when they bring moisture into the hive to keep the humidity up it goes sour and makes the honey sour.  We are now putting out a dish of honey for them each morning and this is how Yolam became chef to the wildlife.

I think this has happened because we have quite a few hives on the farm and our stock of flowering Aloes is low this year.  I have planted a whole lot of Aloes in the ground so that hopefully next year we can provide for the bees and also sunbirds that rely on them.

It is unbelievable that this happened when last month was so floriferous with Ribbon Bushes and Wild dagga blooming in profusion.  Another important nectar plant is Strelitzia.

When planning your garden think about nectar and pollen for the bees and sunbirds in winter.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust celebrates the first annual Chrissiesmeer Crane Festival

The very first annual Chrissiesmeer Crane Festival is taking place on the 6th and the 7th of July in Chrissiesmeer, Mpumalanga. The Festival aims to spotlight our cranes and their wetland habitats.  There are only around 4000 Grey Crowned Cranes; less than 25 000 Blue Cranes; and only 260 Critically Endangered Wattled Cranes left in South Africa.

Cranes are charismatic indicators of the health of our grasslands and wetlands. Due to the incredible beauty and biodiversity of the area the EWT has decided to showcase this natural crane sanctuary As a result, the Chrissiesmeer Crane Festival was born.

The two day Crane Festival programme includes the following:

- Talks on Chrissiesmeer's lakes and pans, history, and the area's fauna and flora, including the cranes;
- Trips to see the cranes, to bird watch and stargaze;
- A live reptile show;
- Praise poetry by local learners;
- A photo competition;
- Activities for the kids, including face painting, puppet shows and storytelling;
- Arts and crafts stalls, including local produce and confectionery; and
- A special Saturday dinner with guest speaker and renowned photographer, Warwick Tarboton.

For more information on the Chrissiesmeer Crane Festival or to book your place for the trips and the Saturday dinner please contact Ursula Franke on [email protected]

Contact:

Ursula Franke, Senior Field Officer, African Crane Conservation Programme, Endangered Wildlife Trust
Tel: 083 332 8859, [email protected]

or

Nomonde Mxhalisa, Communications Manager, Endangered Wildlife Trust
Tel: 011 372 3600, [email protected]

I think this is an event not to be missed.

On the Farm

Even though it is winter there is still so much to observe on the farm.

The most beautiful thing to see at the moment is the colour of leaves.   They are really outstanding and are looking even more gorgeous in the soft light of mid-winter.

A few examples are

     
Bersama lucens
Glossy White Ash
Cunonia capensis
Red Alder
     
Greyia radlkoferi
Transvaal Bottlebrush
Heteropyxis canescens
False Lavender Tree
Kirkia acuminata
White Syringa

The plants are also confused with a few Puzzle Bushes (Ehretia rigida) starting to flower and we are not even into July yet. 

The Dovyalis longispina (Natal Apricot) are looking stunning with their red leaves.  This beautiful shrub or small tree has lovely glossy leave, really long spiky thorns. 

It bears edible but quite tart fruit that looks like a strawberry.  Great for a security hedge or as a dense shrub for birds to hide in.

I am so happy a striped field mouse has moved into our wildlife garden in the retail nursery.  There have also been lots of bird visitors and a family of skinks who live in the beastie box.

The Mongoose definitely seems to have moved into the nursery and we are now often seeing him in and around the top shade house.

The birds are getting noisier and noisier and in particular the Grey Hornbills.  What a lovely call they have. I was also happy to see the Brown Hooded Kingfisher out in the open the other day.  Normally you only get a glimpse of him in the trees.

You know it has been cold when the birds sit in the top of the deciduous White Stinkwood (Celtis africana) and Ehretia rigida (Puzzle Bush). 

There are at least 50 birds congregating in the tree and all facing east into the morning sun. 

They all seem to get on well when sunning themselves, Herons, Crows and Doves, all perching happily together.

Jeffrey redeemed himself with this close up picture of frost. 

After the rain when it was so cold the whole farm and surrounding area looked like there was snow on the ground there was so much frost. 

We braved the cold to get some pictures before the sun melted it all.  Jeffrey very quickly got out of the golf car, composes his shot for the best possible picture and found that he had no battery in the camera. Was his face red? 

I took some pictures with my camera which were not so good.  Needless to say that was also when we saw the whole mix of birds perching together.

About 10 days ago I was a bit late for work and Jeff and I were chatting in my house.  When we looked around there were about 20 White Eyes in the grindstone outside my house. 

Of course we had no camera and by the time I remembered the camera on my phone most had gone and the picture was bad.  What a cheerful sight on a cold winter's morning.

I think it is worth braving the cold and visiting Random Harvest to see how beautiful the plants are in this soft light which will soon be brightening up and getting a little harsher. 

Stroll around and wonder at the colours of the leaves and bark.

Next month I will probably be talking about the plants starting to bud - time flies.

Keep well and warm

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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