Random Harvest Newsletter - February 2011

Posted On: Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

Unbelievably it is the end of January - time flies when you are having fun.  

I also can't believe that at the beginning of summer I thought we were going to have a drought it was so hot and dry. 

Now I feel as if I am living through the deluge. 

This rain has been unbelievable, but I am not complaining the dam looks great and I hope it is replenishing the boreholes.

IN THE NURSERY

The nursery is looking great with some beautiful plants.  We will be running a few specials in February.

Gazania hybrid frosty mix @ R15.00 (Top left)
Felicia ammelloides 'Variegated' (Variegated blue marguerite) @ R15.00 (Above)
Tulbaghia violacea (Garlic flower) @ R15.00 (Top Right)

We have had a few customers asking for the indigenous Impatiens - Right (Impatiens hochstetterii) which is looking so beautiful under the trees at the entrance. 

We have some in stock now - they make a very pretty addition to a shady area.

There is also a whole selection of wild flowers to add between the grasses in a grassland garden.  Some of which have never been offered before.

VALENTINE'S DAY

Although Valentine's day falls on a Monday, at Random Harvest Valentine's day(s) will run on the 12th, 14th, 15th and 16th February.  Please visit us and collect your Valentine's day gift.

SPIDER TALK

If you missed the previous talk on spiders by Astri Leroy she will be giving another talk on the 19th February. Join her to learn more about these fascinating but much maligned creatures.  Although there is no charge booking is essential as space is limited.

Please call David on 082-553-0598 to book your space.

IN THE SHOP

We are offering 33% discount on selected items in the shop.  Some of the items are the beautiful 2011 calendars, the moon calendars and the pewter boxes plus many more.  Browse around and see if you can find a bargain to tempt you.

On the farm

The dam is no longer the dam but Lake Random Harvest, the amount of water (the most in the 40years we have been living here) is unbelievable and it is also unbelievably beautiful.   I have to take a drive down there at least once a day.

The amazing thing is how the habitat has changed and thus the birds have also changed.  There are no more shallows and so all the birds that hang around the edges have gone.  As you can see from this beautiful picture of the cormorant below, the fishing birds are still around.  

Talking of fish as the dam was filling I saw a Tilapia that was about 30cm long - exciting to see we have such big fish in the dam as you never see them.  Dave saw a Barbel that was even bigger in the dam.  He must have 'walked' to the dam through the wet grass as I never put any in the dam.

The other very exciting thing Jeffrey and I saw was a huge Rinkhals.  He was thicker than my wrist and very intent on hunting something so we had a real good look at him.  This is exciting as Rinkhals in the area are becoming few and far between because of habitat loss. 

My staff just has to be very careful when walking around that they don't step on him.  Mongezi, who is employed to harass the Indian Mynahs actually saw him swimming across the dam.

The Bullfrogs have been out in force and we have seen quite a few of them although the dam has not been ideal for them to breed in as they use shallow water in grasslands and the dam is just too deep and steep at the moment.  We have seen a few big ones.

This doesn't mean that there haven't been millions of frogs in the dam.  There have been groups of hundreds of tadpoles making the water shiver with their movement.

 Jeffrey and I were really lucky the other day on our way to the dam we saw one of the trees full of cattle egrets and wondered what they were doing as it was a first to see them perched in trees, normally they are following the cows or the tractor. 
 
 When we got closer we saw thousands of tiny striped river frogs leaving the dam.  They were so cute - exact replicas of the adults in miniature.  We then realised why the cattle egrets had congregated - for a fast meal.

Another very interesting observation was the dragonflies.  There were hundreds of them congregated in a small area of the grassland on the farm.  Jeffrey and I sat for ages just watching them but could not figure out what they were doing.  I am going to have to do some research to try and find out just why there were so many together.

Talking about the grassland it is amazing what rain will do.  We cut the grass on the farms around us before it can burn to make compost.  I was saying to Jeffrey in the beginning of November that I thought we wouldn't have enough grass this year as it was not growing. 

Then down came the rain and the change was phenomenal - the grass is thick, tall and beautiful. 

Never mind seeing anything else it is just great to drive through the grasslands and just appreciate their beauty and variety never mind observing the number of tiny butterflies and the many insects that call it home.

The cycads in the garden have been seeding.  Cleaning the seeds is a monumental task as the red fleshy part is stuck tight to the seed. 

We saw that the birds had been picking at them in the bowl and decided to put the birds to work.  Jeffrey spread the seeds on the floor and down came the Bulbuls and Olive Thrushes. 

The seeds are too big for them to eat so they just clean the seed and save a huge job.  The only thing we had to do is collect them from where they had been spread each morning and leave them for the Birds to finish the job.  

The Caterpillars of the emperor moth are back munching away at the Cussonias and Ekebergia capensis again.  They are in themselves beautiful and fascinating, but in their next stage of life when they are huge moths fluttering around I am even more thrilled. 

We have a few Zaluzianskya katherinae (Drumsticks) in stock and to watch these magnificent moths hovering over the glistening white flowers in the evening is really exciting.  

The relationship between these plants in which one feeds the larvae the other relies on the moth for pollination is just one of the many amazing interactions in nature.

I wish you all the best for the New Year may you be happy and prosper and keep observing and enjoying nature in its beauty.

Sincerely

Linda
[email protected]
079-872-8975

Cottages 072-562-3396 :  Nursery 082-553-0598

Hours of business Monday to Saturday 8.00 to 17.00.  Closed on Sundays.

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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