Random Harvest Newsletter - June 2014

Posted On: Sunday, June 1, 2014

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Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

I find it hard to believe that it is almost midwinter – what has happened to this year?  I guess they say time flies when you are having fun.

The weather has been amazing and the plants are still looking beautiful with very little signs of winter showing.  May it continue like this?

This time of the year I like to call the time of shadows. Each morning one of the things I marvel at is just how beautiful they are in the soft and gentle light of winter. This picture of the Glossy Starling is a good example of the beautiful light 

Remember to take a walk in your garden to marvel at the beautiful architecture of the bare trees – it is the only time of year that we can see just how beautiful the shapes of the deciduous trees really are.

In the Nursery

Father’s Day

Bring your Dad along to Random Harvest for a meal or for tea and cake on Father’s Day.  We also have a gift for him, of a culinary herb in a beautiful wire basket. 
Hopefully the weather stays as nice as it is and you are able to enjoy the day out with us.  If it turns cold, a nice brisk walk around the farm is sure to warm you up!

Bird Walk – 14th June, 2014
Andre Marx has once again kindly agreed to do a Bird Walk. 
Winter is a good time to watch birds as the trees are quite bare and the birds are easier to see. 
There are also a few specials such as the Fairy Flycatcher that we will hopefully see. 
As the days are quite short now the walk will start at 08h00.  We will have Coffee and homemade rusks ready for you at 07h30. 
After the walk enjoy a hearty sunrise breakfast with Andre where he will answer your questions
Cost: R100.00 per person including breakfast
Booking essential:  Please book with David on 082-553-0598.  Your booking will be confirmed upon payment.

Gardeners Courses

I have had a lot of requests for courses for gardeners.  Lindsay Grey offers just such a one day course, at a cost of approximately R650.00 per student. 

I think this would be very valuable and the course will be very hands on.

Please would you give me feedback if you would be interested and I can then pursue the matter further.

Just as a little aside – Fritos and Gift attended Lindsay’s full day Biodiversity course that was held here in May. 

They were completely blown away by what they learned and so excited they had the broadest smiles for days afterwards. 

In Stock

New stock of the beautiful figurines from Animal Footprint have arrived.  I must say I find these creatures irresistible as are the bird paintings on slate by Wiebke.  I have to control myself so as not to take them all home with me.

There is also a selection of hybrid Aloes in stock.  These long flowering Aloes help to brighten up a winter garden.

I also found these bowls which I thought would make great bird baths with a few pebbles in the bottom.

Plants that are looking amazing

The Aloe barberae (Tree Aloe) are looking gorgeous and are covered with flowers at the moment.  I am really pleased as for the first time they are blooming in containers as well. 

The wealth of insect life around the flowers is always mind boggling.

I have been trying to get a good picture of a Cape Robin-Chat and this one very conveniently posed with Stachys tubulosa one of the plants that is looking great at the moment.

Stachys tubulosa (Mauve Stachys) is one of the toughest plants you can find. 

I have seen them with a thick layer of ice covering their leaves and still happily blooming into mid-winter

Prune back once a year after flowering for a great show in autumn and winter. 

The insects will also thank you for planting them as they offer up a lot of nectar

Chasmanthe floribunda  (Cobra Lily).  This lovely spike of orange flowers is carried between upright strap-like leaves on a bulbous plant that is winter growing and summer dormant. 

They also tolerate summer rainfall so you can leave them in the ground to multiply. 

Just don’t think they have died when they are leafless in summer.  Meanwhile they are busy multiplying to improve on the following year’s show of flowers.

The hybrid Diascia’s are in flower now. (Pictured Right) 

How this delicate looking, pretty plant tolerates the cold always amazes me. 

Plant in well-drained soil in full sun for flowers almost all year round. 

They need to be pruned lightly after each flush of flowers.

 

Display Gardens

The Succulent Display is settling in and looking great and as you can see the wildlife has also started to take up residence in it. 

This garden holds a real fascination for the children. 

Although I am never happy when people walk through the display gardens as they often get damaged. 

This young chap was so fascinated and enjoying the garden very carefully that I was fascinated watching him and how observant he was.

Children’s Parties

The outings for children where Gift takes them around and teaches them about various aspects of the environment have been so successful that when a young girl, Emma, asked me to do her birthday party and I decided to do so.

It was such a huge success that I have decided to add children’s parties to Random Harvest’s repertoire of events with the proviso that the children go on an adventure with Gift while the parents enjoy the nursery. 

Please contact either David or myself for more information.

The parents had high tea and the kids had snack packs, cupcakes and ice lollies.  Emma’s mom brought her special birthday cake along.

Emma’s parting remark was that it was the best birthday party she had ever been to.

Footprint Limited

There is this wonderful environmental magazine called ‘Footprint Limited’ that has printed a wonderful article on my endeavours to restore the grassland on the farm.

If you are interested I can print out the article for you when you next visit Random Harvest.  I cannot believe I live in such a beautiful place and it has just reminded me of how special our grasslands are.

On the farm

Jeffrey is really outdoing himself with his photography these days.  He took these beautiful pictures of the visitors to the packed flowers of the Crassula perfoliata (Sosatie).  Although this is a Western Cape plant it copes very well with summer rainfall in well-drained soil.

There has been such a racket going on in the grassland which I think is a noisy beetle. 

Although I scrabbled around in the grass I couldn’t find out what was making the noise. 

There have been large numbers of butterflies in the grassland as well as these beautiful iridescent green flies (not the nasties that have been bugging me all summer).

This bee visiting the Aloe flower amongst the Natal Red Top Grass (Melinus repens) is another example of just how little wildlife requires from us to live. 

This was taking place in a small display of Aloes and grasses at the entrance of the nursery.

Talking about life in the grassland – last month I mentioned the bug that my friend’s daughter had seen in the Melinus repens. 

Jeffrey and I have had our noses in the grasses but have not seen the bug. 

Luckily Heather had taken a picture of it and I thought I would share it with you.

Isn’t nature just perfect?  No wonder I am so besotted with the tiny lives that are lived out all around me.

Talking of tiny lives that do amazing things this huge web was spun by tiny community spiders working together and living together.   They share their lives and the prey they catch.

If you look at the picture of the tiny spider it is hard to imagine they can build this huge nest.

Now we go from the sublime to the ridiculous with this really big rain spider.  Aren’t the markings beautiful?

To think I was so worried about the spiders last year.  They have certainly made a comeback.

Talking of beautiful creatures. I think this caterpillar of the Death’s Head Hawk moth is gorgeous Pictured above). 

There is always a surprise round the corner if you have an indigenous garden.  What a treasure.

At last we have managed to get a good picture of the Grey Hornbill.

Luckily he decided to visit the nursery to pose for me. 

He is coming closer and closer to the feeding table.  Hopefully one day he will pluck up the courage to come to the table.

Finally a few plants that are blooming in the garden.

I was so excited that the rare and endangered Haemanthus deformis bloomed for the first time.

I think the green edged bracts are particularly delicate and beautiful.  Hopefully we will get some seed to grow.  Hold thumbs!

This really tough Asparagus transvaalensis just volunteered on the farm a few years ago.

We now have a few plants in the nursery.  It is my kind of plant, a tough survivor. 

It is hard to believe this tough plant has such delicate flowers which have the most amazing and wonderful perfume.  You can catch this gorgeous scent from 10 meters away. 

In fact it was the perfume that sent Jeff on a mission to find the plant. Now not only do we have delicate flowers and a wonderful perfume but the birds also relish the black berries it bears as well.

Finally the glistening pinky-orange flowers of the Cotyledon barbeyi (Plakkie) are just massed on this succulent plant at the moment.  A feast for the eyes as well as for the bees and other insects that are buzzing around the flowers.

It seems that winter is arriving on Thursday so cuddle up and keep warm.

Sincerely
Linda

PS Please remember to like us on Facebook. Our page has grown in leaps and bounds and it is a fantastic way for all of us at Random Harvest to hear from you.

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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