Random Harvest Newsletter - July 2017

Posted On: Saturday, July 1, 2017

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

This year is flying past so fast. Can you believe that mid-winter is already behind us? I am now looking forward to the beautiful ‘buds of spring’. I am also looking forward to it being warmer in the mornings so that when I take Abby for her run I don’t get into the office feeling like an ice block.

Although, cold or not, it is beautiful to be out in the quiet of dawn.

Monthly Coffee Morning – 5th July, 2017

Time: 10h30
Cost: Attendance is free

Our regular coffee morning slot on the first Wednesday of each month will be on the 5th of July, 10h30 to 12h00.

This month we talk about Trees. I’ve been called many things… but ”Linda De Luca – Tree Woman of Africa” has to be my favourite title!

If the truth be told, I am completely in love with my trees, so this will be as much a treat for me to talk about them as I hope it will be informative for my customers.

How to plant a tree, what to look for when choosing a tree for your garden, and a couple that are particularly suitable to certain applications in the landscape, are a few of the things I will cover. I really look forward to seeing you all.

I also want to thank the people who have been attending these coffee mornings and helping to make them such a success

Midweek “Trees are for the Birds” Overnight Stay

When: Wednesday 16th to Thursday 17th August 2017
Cost: R875 per person including dinner and breakfast, Wednesday
afternoon tea, Thursday morning rusks and coffee, walks and slide
presentation.

We invite you to our first ever “sleepover” event.

We start with welcome refreshments at 2:30pm on Wednesday followed by an afternoon tree walk, and then supper together over a slide show featuring some of South Africa’s most beautiful indigenous plants.

After a night in our comfy accommodation, early rusks and coffee will precede a Bird Walk (normally booked out before you can blink) followed by a hearty breakfast.

We aim to be finished for you to depart any time from 11h30 on Thursday. Please not the normal checkout is 10h00 but on Thursday the checkout is later to allow you maximum enjoyment of the bird-watching morning.

For more details please see our website, or contact us on 082 553 0598 / [email protected]

Promotion of Indigenous Trees

July sees the start of our annual tree promotion.

We have been working hard to bring you some great choices for all sizes of gardens.

If you are short of space, we have many species that make excellent container plants.


This promotion is valid on trees in larger containers – 20 Litre, 40 Litre, 100 Litre

When you purchase a tree, you will receive a free copy the tree booklet I have written.

For every 3 trees, you purchase you will receive a free1kg bag of Rock Dust. An absolutely essential additive to garden soil, especially when planting and growing trees.

There are so many beautiful trees to choose from it can be quite mind boggling. Never fear! We are here to help you with choosing the right tree for the right application and space.

Special on Flowering size Orange Clivias - R48.50

I have recently sourced some beautiful Clivias. They are magnificent flowering size plants, in 15L bags.

The regular price for this size plant is R98.50, but these are on sale for only R48.50 each, while stocks last.

Please see our Plant Catalogue for a full description and planting instructions.

Health Booster – EM will be in stock from 5th July

At our June Coffee morning, Mike expounded on the benefits of using “Effective Microorganisms” in the garden.

After having learned from Mike that Effective Microorganisms are not only essential for plant growth but are also vital to our own health I have been taking ‘Health Booster’ for 6 months. At a recent visit to the doctor he was amazed at just how good my blood test results were. Not only that but I have a great sense of well-being and will definitely continue to take ‘Health Booster’.

I have decided to keep it in stock in the shop for those who may be interested in joining me in taking this natural product.

Nursery Displays

Arid Garden

The arid garden display has settled down and is looking full and beautiful.

The succulents have wonderful colours and textures.

Winter is definitely a colourful time in an indigenous garden – all you have to do is visit the nursery and see how colourful it is looking.

Highveld Garden

Jeffrey has cut back the grasses in this display. It is amazing how the whole atmosphere changes with the seasons in this display.

The Melinus repens grasses were particularly beautiful with the sun setting the pink seeds aglow. They were so beautiful I had to leave them intact and only cut the other grasses back.

Plants Looking Good

Aloe cryptopoda [=wickensii] - Geelaalwyn (A)
This hardy Aloe has a single, large stemless, densely leaved rosette of grey-green succulent leaves.

The flowers are variable and may be red, yellow or bi-coloured with yellow and red flowers. Depending on conditions flowering time can vary between May and July.

This popular, easy garden plant provides a spectacular display when in full flower. An added attraction is the many Sunbirds that visit to feed on the nectar. It also attracts insects to the garden.

Makes an attractive form plant and also looks good planted in containers. Plant in well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade. It will flower best in full sun.
Size 50 to 75cm

Leonotis leonurus - Wild Dagga (E); Wildedagga (A)

Very hardy, drought and frost resistant, evergreen perennial shrub.

This well-loved, decorative shrub has masses of showy, compact clusters of orange or white velvety flowers repeated in circles up the length of every long stalk from Feb. to July.

An important food and nectar plant for sunbirds, bees and butterflies during autumn and winter.

It has been grown as a garden plant in Europe since the 1600’s.

It is extensively used as a traditional medicinal plant and as a magical herb. Use the dried flowers in potpourri.

Plant in sun or semi-shade and cut back severely after flowering, for denser growth and mass flowering the next season.

Size Up to 2m



Jamesbrittenia grandiflora - Wild phlox (E)
Hardy, evergreen, fast-growing small shrub with multiple stems.

Its aromatic, grey-green, quilted leaves are dense and completely cover the waving stems.

At the tips of the many stems clusters of beautiful, quite large (dia. 2.5cm), light purple flowers create a wondrous, long- flowering show in spring and early summer.

They attract insects and butterflies to the garden. Prune severely after flowering to ensure mass flowering again next season.

Create an amazing display by planting Wild Phlox in groups. It also makes a great border and container plant. Plant in light, well-drained soil. Size 1 to 1.2m

Petalidium oblongifolium - Bloubos (A)
Very hardy, evergreen, drought resistant small shrub with pretty silver-grey leaves.

It bears attractive blue flowers on and off all year round.

This plant tolerates a range of quite harsh conditions. Plant in sun or half day shade.

Attractive in a mixed border, planted in groups or in containers. Attracts insects to the garden. Size 40 to 60cm

Cyrtanthus mackenii - Ifafa Lily (E); Ifafalelie (A)

This hardy, evergreen, clump-forming bulbous plant has attractive glossy, dark green, narrow, strap-like leaves.

From July to Feb. it bears umbels of narrow tubular flowers, in profusion.

It is a beautiful addition to any garden, and makes a wonderful container subject.

It prefers semi-shade and moist, compost-rich soil. Size 20cm

Aloe marlothii- Mopane Aloe (E); Bergaalwyn (A)
Very hardy, large, upright, single-stemmed Aloe with a rosette of large, fleshy, thorny leaves. The beard of dried leaves is an attractive feature of this plant.

The horizontally branched spikes of tubular orange, red or bicoloured flowers with protruding dark stamens are borne from May to Aug.

The flowers attract many species of birds and butterflies to the garden. Excellent accent plant. This is the typical, tall, standard Aloe seen on rocky ridges on the Highveld.

Used medicinally. Plant in well-drained soil in a rockery, succulent bed or as a feature of a grassland garden. Size 2 to 5m S.A. No. 29.5.

Kirkia wilmsii - Mountain Seringa (E); Bergsering (A)
Fairly hardy, deciduous, often multi-stemmed tree with beautiful, fine, feathery foliage.

It has smooth grey bark with scars where the leaves were attached and is most attractive. The autumn colours are brilliant ant pinks and reds that set the tree alight.

The spring colours are almost as beautiful making this a great foliage and texture plant. From Oct. to Dec. it has masses of small yellow flowers clustered at the ends of the branches.

It makes a lovely specimen plant but has a swollen root system full off water which is used in times of drought. This swollen root system can cause damage to paving, pools and walls.

It grows naturally in the Steelpoort valley and turns the hillsides aflame with its fabulously coloured leaves. Plant in sun or semi-shade and protect from frost when young. Size Up to 8m S.A. No. 269

Ruttya fruticosa - Jammy Mouth (E); Jêmbekkie (A)
Fairly hardy, evergreen, beautifully rounded shrub with glossy, dark green foliage.

It bears unusual, exceptionally attractive two-lipped tubular orange or yellow flowers that have a shiny black throat.

It blooms from spring to late summer and attracts bees, birds and butterflies. Prune back after flowering to keep in shape and encourage flowering.

Plant in a mixed border, as a beautiful screening or container plant. It requires compost-rich soil and also tolerates slightly acidic soil. Size 1 to 2m.

On The Farm

You are probably surprised to see an exotic bird in the newsletter.

This budgie decided to visit the bird feeder.

This, as you can probably understand, conflicted me.

Firstly, I thought if he found a mate they could become a pest.

We have enough alien invaders in this country without adding another. Secondly, how could I just let him die from the cold or Lord forbid kill him ourselves.

In my wisdom, I caught him and put him in a cage I had. He looked so forlorn and lonely in the tiny cage and, as I know Budgies are flocking birds, I just had to do something about. Besides the fact I hate caged birds – I felt really bad.

When next you visit Random Harvest, come and visit him in his new big cage with his beautiful yellow wife. They sit and preen each other and seem really happy.

I can’t go past a pet shop without buying them and Abby a new toy. I think I am entering my second childhood but they are cheerful and make me smile. Who can ask for more?

And now for something really exciting. A pair of Hamerkop have decided to nest in my mother’s garden.

How amazing is this?

We hardly ever see them at Random Harvest and now they come and nest here.


They have picked the right spot, almost overhanging the pond in the garden and very close to the ponds where we keep the Waterlillies. Needless to say, there are fish in these ponds. Just what a pair of nesting Hamerkop need for a perfect life.

Please keep a look out on our Facebook page where we will be posting a video of the nest building activities. Please would you like our page and invite you friends to like too.. I would really appreciate it.

When the trees lose their leaves and the grasses go brown it is an ideal time for bird watching. We have had some great sightings in the last month.

Another bird eluding Jeffrey was the Cardinal Woodpecker.

Jeffrey always battles to get a good picture of a Black-backed Puffback. This time he hit the jackpot and took this beautiful picture to share with you.

It is at this time of the year that we start to see the Southern Boubou. They seem to get tamer, more visible and more vocal. Here he is sitting in the Toad Tree (Tabernaemontana elegans). A perfect tree for a small garden.

The other birds who are increasing in number are the Grey Hornbill. We are seeing them flocking together and being very vocal. They have the most wonderful call.

The only problem I see is that they really enjoy eating the skinks and lizards. Talk about being conflicted!

Aren’t Jeffries photographic skills getting great? I love this picture of a Speckled Pigeon. They are often seen in the garden at this time of year

The Hadeda Ibis are enjoying the garden as well. Relaxing and sunning themselves in the succulent garden. Aren’t their iridescent wings just beautiful?

We are beginning to see the birds in the grassland more and more. Although we see them each year, I, for one, never get tired of watching and listening to their remarkable calls.

I loved this Cape Longclaw sitting on the very tip of a branch singing his heart out. The sun on the burnished breast of this tiny Stonechat was beautiful. You can imagine how small he is as he is perching on a grass stem. He may be tiny but he is cheeky and I just love his attitude.

This picture of glistening sunbirds on Aloe arborescens is a perfect illustration of what I am always trying to say about how important indigenous plants are to the wildlife.

When I say the plants are literally swarming with life I am not exaggerating.

How wonderful it is to get 2 different species of sunbird in the same picture frame and these were just a few of the birds visiting the Aloes.

The dark Sunbirds are Amethyst Sunbirds and the other one is a White-bellied Sunbird.

The Moorhen babies are growing up. As you can see from the picture I am sure he is nearly ready to leave and carve out a territory for himself. I say happy hunting, I hope he finds a place that loves and respects him as we do at Random Harvest.

The way the Moorhen pair are cuddling up makes me sure that there will soon be another crop of babies for us to enjoy watching them grow up.

I can never understand why people only want to choose evergreen trees. I think deciduous trees add a beautiful dimension to a winter garden. They also keep us in touch with the changing of the seasons.

 

One of my favourite features of deciduous trees are their beautiful architecture.

Seeing the branching patterns and the enchanting shadows they cast in the low light of winter days is something I will never tire of.


Other creatures have also been enjoying the winter sun on the farm.

This skink was sunning himself on the beautiful bark of the Aloe barberae (Tree Aloe).

The butterflies are looking glistening and healthy. This African Leopard butterfly was out enjoying the sunshine as well.

We found a beautiful chrysalis on a Clerodendrum myricoides (Blue Cat’s Whiskers). I have not been able to identify it but have asked Steve Woodhall to help us. When I hear from him I will post the name on our Facebook page.

I think it may be the pupa of the Common Leopard.

Someone’s dogs got in and killed my Mother’s turkeys. She was really upset so Jonathan went on the hunt for more turkeys for her and found these beautiful bronze ones which I bought for my Mom’s Mother’s Day present. They are so colourful and they look almost as if they have been painted.

I think it has been a mild winter but when we did have a cold snap the water in the cow’s water trough was iced over. Luckily as icy as it was there was no damage in the nursery. I believe this shows how well Agrisil works for frost prevention.

The weather has been so amazing. Why not take advantage of these beautiful days and come and browse around the nursery. We’d love to see you here.

Sincerely

Linda

Cell 079-872-8975
email [email protected]

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