Random Harvest Newsletter - March 2014

Posted On: Saturday, March 1, 2014

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Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

Can you believe the winter equinox is just 3 weeks away and the season is rapidly changing?  I notice it when I go swimming in the morning and it is still dark at 5h30.  The morning chorus is also somewhat muted so I have overslept a few mornings without my wakeup call of birdsong.

The only birds that seem to be getting louder are the Paradise Flycatchers as they start preparing for their long journey north into Africa. Amazing how this tiny bird can fly such huge distances.

In the Nursery

Bird Walk
Andre Marx is once again kindly going to do a bird walk for us on the 15th March.  These walks are really popular so call early to reserve your space as we can only accommodate 20 people.  Booking is essential.

The price includes a sunrise breakfast after the walk (bacon, eggs, tomato, sausages, toast and jam served with a cup of tea or coffee.)

TIME: Walk will start at 7h00 but we will have coffee and biscuits ready for you by 6h30.
COST: R95.00 per person   BOOK WITH: David on 082-553-0598. 
Booking will be confirmed upon payment.

Public holiday 21.03 Human Rights Day
Lucky dip
We have a lucky dip on the 21st of March with each purchase of plants.  You could win anything from a pot of raw honey, a voucher for the tea garden, interesting gifts or the big prize of a voucher for plants to the value of R1000.00. 

Breakfast Special
We will also have a breakfast special of 2 rashers of bacon, 2 slices of grilled tomato, 2 eggs and 2 sausages served with toast and jam.  The price includes filter coffee or tea.  COST R48.50

Join us on Human Rights Day for a few hours filled with fun and good food.

Succulent Display
There is new stock of succulents in the nursery.  Take a walk around the display and be amazed at the colours, textures and forms of our succulent flora. 

Remember to collect your free copy of the succulent booklet.

Bird Paintings
New stock of the bird painting on slate have arrived.  I must say I just love the owl paintings.  There are also 2 painting of Giraffe which I find irresistible.

Children’s Events.
Following on the success of the garden safari for children in the last school holidays we are having another program these holidays.

Trees in our lives
We are offering a program teaching children about the lifecycle of trees.  They will discover trees with all their senses – smell, sight, touch.  Look at wood and learn to read tree rings, scratch in the mulch to find the life in it and finally learn to plant a tree which they will then take home with them.

The program will run from Wednesday to Sunday of each week from the 28th March to 6th April and from the 23rd April to 4th May.

COST:  FREE : TIME:  10h00 each Wednesday to Sunday

Plants that are looking good 
 


We have managed to find a few specimens of the beautiful and unusual pink Thunbergia alata (Pink Black Eyed Susan). Grow in a container or creeping up a trellis.

Tinnea barbata (Purple Tinnea).  I have at last got it right how to propagate this delightful little shrub which is covered in these pretty purple flowers almost all year round.  Plant in sun or semi-shade.

Aloe cooperi (Coopers Aloe).  New stock of this beautiful long flowering Aloe has arrived. It grows in normal garden conditions and even in quite wet areas.  Butterflies and sunbirds are attracted to the nectar they offer.

 

March is time for the Spur Flowers (Plectranthus species) to bloom. 

These rewarding plants that thrive in shady areas bear spikes of beautiful flowers that attract insects and butterflies to the garden. 

They also have beautiful foliage and can be planted simply for colour and texture of leaves never mind their gorgeous flowers. 

They are also important butterfly host plants.

Two of the sun loving species we have in stock are Plectranthus neochilius which looks like a shrimp plant and P. venterii which has gorgeous foliage. 

Both a very drought resistant and can be planted in a succulent garden.

The beautiful Crocosmia aurea (Falling stars) are starting to bloom.  Plant in a shady spot in the garden. 

They can also be planted in amongst smaller grasses where they will surprise you when they pop up in March. 

They also make good cut flowers.

Salvia chameleagna (Blommetjiesalie) is a beautiful long flowering shrublet for full sun areas. 

They attract butterflies and insects to the garden.

They also make a delicate cut flower.

 

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (Geelplakkie).  What a beautiful succulent this is.  Its red edged leaves and tall silvery flowering stem make this a really striking plant.  It is great in a succulent garden in full sun or plant in a container where its form and textures are shown off perfectly.

Crassula falcata (Propeller Plant).  Another beautifully textured succulent with overlapping silver leaves that look great all year round.  At this time of year bears gorgeous heads of scarlet flowers.  Great in a dry rockery or as a container.

 

I loved this picture of some of my customers enjoying the cottage garden display. 

This is exactly what gardens are about and why it is so important to create areas in the garden where you can just sit and enjoy your garden.

On the Farm

There have been so many interesting things happening on the farm this month.

I am very happy to report that the spider population seems to be recovering and we are seeing lots of spider webs again. 

I was really worried last year when Jefffrey and I thought the population had crashed. 

Not that I am so brave …. I put my hand on a spider on the edge of the pool the other day and nearly jumped out of my skin.  Luckily I didn’t harm him in any way.

Can you believe we got rid of the thousands of Black Wattle that were growing on the bottom of the farm, which is now our beautiful grassland, about 25 years ago?  This insidious revolting category one invader still comes up to haunt me after all these years. 

I heard a horrible story that they demolished a building that was 120 years old at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town.   They found a Black Wattle seed and it still germinated after all this time.  Just goes to show how dangerous these alien invaders are.

This is a picture of Jeffrey, good man that he is, pulling it out.

The fishes – Carp to my disgust – in the dam were coming up to the surface of the water. 

I was not sure if they were gulping air or feasting on the many millions of insects on the surface. 

Hopefully they were eating the Mozzies but they did look like these strange little aliens. 

By the way I bought supposedly only indigenous fish to put in the dam – so much for that. 

I am not sure what to do about them as I would definitely prefer to only have indigenous fish in the dam.

Speaking of the dam this huge Liguaan decided to take up residence when it was so full. 

I was really excited to see him but at the same time not happy that he is a huge predator of birds and their eggs. 

Since the water level of the dam has dropped I have not seen him again. 

As exciting as it was to see him,

I am also pleased that he has left and my birds are safer.

Talking of birds – Jeffrey took a picture of this European Honey Buzzard down at the dam. 

This is a really exciting new addition to our bird list as he is on the rare bird species list.

There is an old broken down thatched lapa at the dam which is filled with wasps nests which is his preferred food so maybe that is the reason he decided to visit.

Aren’t these baby doves in the fork of the tree cute?  How they stay in the nest beats me as they are so squashed. 

This was the second hatching.  I think the first babies were taken by a crow – one of my mortal enemies.

The strangler Fig in the fork of the Tipuana we planted has started to send down it roots, very exciting. 

I have had a lot of advice on how to treat the root from some of my readers and hope we can get the roots into the ground where they start doing their job of taking over the Tipuana.

There are some beautiful Bracket Fungus on the farm. 

In the photos they look like some strange abstract paintings. Jeffrey got down into the dirt to take these pictures. 

 

He even took pictures of the fungus inside the hollow trunk of a dead peach tree.

A bird, probably one of the Barbets, started this hole in a Rhus pyroides (Fire Thorn) and must have given up in disgust as the wood is so hard. 

I wanted to share this picture with you as it looks like an Elephants eye to me.  It also shows off the bark of the Fire Thorn beautifully.

Not only do the children love the sandpit in the nursery but the Sparrows love it as well. 

They had a lovely sand bath in it the other day.

You may think I am really weird but I have had such fun watching the Miggies in the nursery. 

I call it the dance of the Miggies.  The way they move around so gracefully in a little cloud with the sun shining on them is really beautiful and they have afforded me a lot of pleasure just watching them. 

They are also a great food source for the wildlife.

This is the time of the year for the caterpillars of the Emperor Moth to pupate.  They are looking colourful and munching their way through the Cussonias.

It is time for them to drop to the ground where they go through their metamorphosis in the soil.

Finally I thought I would remind you that if you would like to share a little piece of my paradise we do have a Bed and Breakfast establishment.  If you would like to find out more you can speak to David on 072 562 3396.

Enjoy the changing of the seasons and hope to see you soon.

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 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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