Random Harvest Newsletter - April 2015

Posted On: Wednesday, April 1, 2015

 

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

The mornings are getting cooler and darker. I love the changing seasons it makes me feel as if I am in tune with the rhythms of the earth.  Something which, in our modern world, we are in danger of losing.

In the Nursery

Public Holidays

Please note: Random Harvest is CLOSED on 3rd April (Good Friday) and 5th April (Easter Sunday).

We will be OPEN on Sat. 4th April, Family Day Monday, 6th April, Freedom Day 27th April and Workers Day 1st May

Children’s Eco Easter Egg hunt

Up until Sunday, the 3rd May bring the children along to the Eco Easter egg hunt.

The children should collect the clues at reception.  Follow the clues, learning something about the environment whilst having fun.  At the end there will be a cute prize for them.

Clopas has made these beautiful wire plant holders to look like a broken egg from which a chicken has hatched.

Talking of prizes, please don’t forget to enter our BUMPER EASTER GIVEAWAY PROMOTION

Look on our website (hyperlink) for details of how you can stand a chance to win this awesome prize worth over R2000!

Displays

Remember to take a walk through the Urban Farm Display which is behind the Gazebo.  It should inspire you to start your own veggie garden so you can enjoy the fresh and healthy fruits of your labour.
 
The displays are looking great especially the Waterwise Garden which has matured beautifully and is an inspiration to all who see it.

The Grassland Garden looks absolutely magnificent in the early morning and the late afternoon as the slanting autumn sun glints off the plumes.

It is not only the adult gardeners being inspired by this Grassland Display

The children are fascinated as well.  In particular they seem to be looking for all the creatures inhabiting this beautiful display.

This display reminds me of why I love grasses so much.

Plants looking great

The Synchelostemon densiflorus (Pink Plume) are looking marvellous.  This small shrub (Up to 1m) blooms profusely at this time of year.  It needs at least 4 hours of sun per day.

Plant as a backdrop to a perennial bed or if your garden is big enough mass plant them for a breath-taking show of flowers at this time of year.

Prune back hard after flowering.

This little yellow Leonotis (Wild Dagga) was discovered by a lady in Stilbaai in the Southern Cape.  We think it may be a sport.  A tantalising thought is that it may be a new species?  What is great about it is that it only grows up to 50cm and flowers on and off all year round.

I love the pale creamy yellow flowers.

If you are looking for a big floriferous creeper to cover a pergola or ugly wall you could do no better than to use the beautiful evergreen Podranea ricasoliana (Port St. John’s Creeper). 

Prune lightly and regularly to keep in control as it is a vigorous grower.

There seem to be so many pink flowers blooming at the moment.  One of the prettiest is the Hypoestes aristata ‘Little Pink’ (Pink Ribbon bush).

It grows in dappled shade and at this time of year is a sight to behold.  It is more compact that the normal Ribbon Bush.

Prune back hard in spring.

Barleria ‘Purple Prince’ (Small Bush Violet) grows beautifully in dappled shade.

It has a purplish cast to the leaves which make this an attractive plant whether in or out of flower.

Prune back to your required size after flowering.

As a nod to our Grassland Display I had to mention some grasses.

This Aristida junciformis (Gongoni Three-awn Grass) makes a great statement in a garden.  It does not need to only grow as an element of a grassland garden, but can be planted as a form plant as well.  It looks spectacular in a pot.

As with all grasses it should be pruned back hard in spring to keep it healthy.

If you want to attract seed eating birds to the garden you should plant some Panicum maximum (Guinea Grass).  This is a big grass and should be planted as a backdrop.

I remember driving past my patch of this grass and saying to my mom “Look how many birds there are in the grass”.  As we got closer another whole flock of birds that were foraging on the ground took off.  I am always amazed at how much they love this grass.

It can be planted in damp areas and can tolerate shade for part of the day.  As with all grasses it should be pruned back hard in spring to keep it healthy.

The Plectranthus bed is looking beautiful at the moment.  There can be no more rewarding plant for shady areas.

Remember to prune them back quite hard in spring.  This ensures a show of beautiful foliage colours and textures for most of the year and a marvellous display of flowers in autumn and early winter. 

These plants are great butterfly host plants and attract sunbirds and the tiny insects that feed the other birds.

I had to mention Croton gratissimus (Lavender Fever Berry) again.

This has to be one of my favourite trees.  It is perfectly shaped for a small (not tiny) garden.

It is beautiful from far and even more beautiful up close with the red spotted silver undersides of the leaves.

It is not freely available as the seeds are impossible to catch as they explode off the tree.



DIY Pond Kit

Build your own pond using the durable Firestone EPDM Pondguard Liner which is a rubber liner.

The kit contains everything you need – Full instructions, pump, piping, biofilter and 9 sq. meter of liner. 

The durable plastic box it comes in has a multitude of uses.

Price R4995.00.  You can order it directly from us.

 

From our Kitchen

Frans is baking the most delicious cookies which we are now offering for sale.

I have really enjoyed myself tasting the cookies and deciding which were good enough to offer to our customers. 

Some of these mouth-watering treats are granadilla, pecan chocolate, almond and cherry and peanut butter cookies.

 

How beautiful are these Streptocarpus hybrids in this beautiful wire hanging basket made by Clopas? 

These will surely make a statement hanging on a shady patio.

He has also made some more lovely bird feeders. 

You can feed both seed in the form of a bell and a suet ball in one feeder. 

He is really a talented wire artist.


On the Farm

You know autumn is here when the Red Bishops start to lose their breeding colours. 

They are all in the process of becoming little brown jobs again. 

This is not to say that they aren't just as greedy and munching away at the feeding station. 

Whether red or brown they give me a lot of joy when around the office.

Jeffrey took a whole series of lovely pictures of this Bullfrog burying himself underground ready to hibernate for the winter.

We haven’t seen too many Bullfrogs this season as we have been quite dry here at Random Harvest. 

This was only our second sighting.  Both sightings were quite short lived.

We had the machine here this month turning our compost and mixing potting soil for us.

I don’t know why I enjoy working with these machines so much as I hate digging holes in the earth.  It always seems like sacrilege to me.

It must be in the genes as my Dad had a sand works with lots of big trucks and machinery and I think this is where my love for these machines must have been born.

I like playing with them to mix but definitely not to dig.

Talking of compost as part of our outreach program with the street children of Krugersdorp, we did a Domestic Gardeners course with the bigger boys. 

At first they were typical city children not wanting to dig in the soil, but as the day progressed it was difficult to get them away from the soil. 

Here they are enjoying the compost.

This amazing tuber of a Waterlily floated up in the pond in the nursery. 

I was totally amazed at how big it was.  It had these weird raised leaf scars on it.

One thing with indigenous plants is that you never stop learning

The bark on many of the trees is also looking amazing.  This is the bark of Terminalia sericea (Silver Cluster Leaf).

It has many species of lichen growing on it that are also multi coloured.  Really beautiful.

Each different tree species seems to have different species of lichen growing on it.  Another fascinating thing to watch here at Random Harvest.

I planted these unusual Scadoxus membranaceous (Dwarf Paint Brush) in the garden many years ago and promptly forgot all about them.

Imagine my surprise and joy when I saw this really large clump of them in full flower. 

Nice to live in a place that regularly has a surprise waiting for you – keeps life really interesting.

These little bees hanging on to the Stipa dregeana were really weird. 

They seemed almost comatose and did not move when you came close to them. 

They seemed healthy enough and I can’ work out what was going on. 

I checked in the insect book and they look like Amegilla atrocincta, a species of bee that sleep in groups with their jaws embedded in grass stems.  The females make clay burrows with a little tower to breed in.

The Cunonia capensis (Red Alder) in the packets are blooming, and for me there can’t be a more beautiful tree. 

It has gorgeous foliage with red petioles and spoon-like stipules which enclose the new leaf.

The fluffy white flowers are visited by butterflies, insects and birds.

This tree can’t tolerate drought or too much heat. 

Plant in dappled shade or on the East side of a building. 

Ensure it has enough water and you will be rewarded with a truly magnificent tree.

Jeffrey and I have gotten the gardening bug again and are finishing off my Mom’s succulent garden. 

We have so much fun working together but never seem to get enough time to play in the garden.

We started the garden last winter and believe it or not have taken away another 5 big bakkie loads of tree prunings, weeds and discarded plants out of the area.

Jonathan is not amused with me as I have been stealing some of his mother plants to use in the garden. 

Hopefully they will flourish and I will be out of trouble.

Hopefully we will finish within the next 2 weeks and then you can visit and view our handiwork.

We have had some interesting functions at Random Harvest this month. 

Dieticians at work held a workshop called ‘From hearth to health’ where they teach people how easy and delicious it is to eat healthily. 

We have decided to work hand in hand with them and offer you an opportunity to join them.

I will keep you posted once everything is arranged.

The Rolls Royce club had a breakfast with us.  I must say I was really nervous catering for breakfast for and serving 35 all at once. 

But kudos to our kitchen they coped well and everyone enjoyed themselves.

The cars vintage and new were absolutely beautiful.  My mom even allowed them to park on her lawn.

One of our chickens hatched out 12 babies.  Appropriately just in time for Easter.  They are really sweet huddling around their mom.  I just hope the slender mongoose doesn’t find them although we do lock them up safely at night.

Sitting on my veranda the other day I watched a White Bellied sunbird on the Halleria elliptica (Rock Tree Fuchsia) sipping on the flowers. 

The flowers hang like little bells so the Sunbird had to source the nectar from the bottom. 

When they finished each little flower swung like a bell for a few seconds.  It was an enchanting few moments.

A female Paradise Flycatcher came and perched on the fan on the veranda of the office – completely out of habitat.  I choose to think she came to say goodbye as they are going to be on their way migrating back to the equator.  I will miss their cheerful calls in the garden but in spring it is always something to look forward to.

Hope to see you soon

Sincerely

Linda

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