Dear Indigenous Enthusiast
Magical March…I can’t get enough of it!
I had an early morning meeting the other day and was a little too early.
I was so pleased to see the sun rising and glowing on the grasses on our order platform. An added bonus to the day.
Some of my favourite plants are in bloom in March, and there always seems to be a riot of butterflies everywhere.
Beautiful evenings make it possible to enjoy the garden after a full day at work. Weekends can be spent revelling in pots, soil and garden beds to one’s heart’s content. We have plenty on to inspire you and some amazing plants on offer this month.
We are open on the 21st of March, Human Rights Day.
My Nursery staff are having the most wonderful experience discovering the basics of Indigenous Garden Design under Bruce Steads very capable instruction.
It is gratifying to see how it comes through in their assistance of customers and also in their own tasks around the nursery.
Please read more under Events about the great course in Indigenous Garden Design that Bruce will be offering to our customers – starting on the 4th of April 2020.
Holiday time is around the corner, which means kids at home. Our tea garden is the perfect place to have lunch or a leisurely breakfast with young people.
Peaceful, lots of fresh air and pretty. We have milkshakes, tasty, healthy home-made toasted sandwiches, pies, cakes and health muffins to name but a few treats. For those with a hearty appetite, our delicious steak roll is a firm favourite.
Book of the month: Pooley's Trees of Eastern South Africa, A Complete Guide, by Richard Boon. Published by Natal Flora Publications Trust. A fully revised edition of Elsa Pooley’s bestselling "Trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei" (1993), this is a must for any indigenous gardening or nature enthusiast. It is a compact guide that describes all the larger woody plants found in KwaZulu-Natal; Eastern Cape, north of the Buffalo River; Lesotho; Eastern Free State; Swaziland and southern Mozambique. R335 per book.
For a list of indigenous plants that have been identified as having horticultural value, our Indigenous Plant Catalogue is an invaluable tool. Tables that list key characteristics alongside the description make it remarkably easy to find what kind of plant you are looking for. R150 per copy.
Cast your eye on these irresistibles. Lovely gifts and self-spoils…or spoils for your garden!
Bruce is an ecological horticulturalist and garden designer who lectured for many years at Lifestyle College. He has graciously agreed to run a course here at Random Harvest Nursery for our customers.
He will start from the absolute basics (as he has done for my staff) and lead you through to creating a garden or gardens which are both beautiful and accommodate the needs of wildlife. He will also teach you how to interpret beautiful landscapes for your own garden.
These will be held on Saturday mornings from 9h00 to 12h00.
Dates: April 4th, 18th and 25th and May 2nd, 9th, 16th,23rd and 30th
Cost: R2500.00 for the full 8-day course.
You will complete the course just in time to spend a while designing your garden and be ready to go in spring to create your own peaceful haven.
To Book: Contact David on 082-553-5598 or email [email protected]
Where: Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery
When: 10h30 to 12h00
Cost: Free of charge – we just ask you to please support the nursery and / or the tea garden while you are here.
What to Bring: A notebook, your questions on the topic, and a friend
Date: Wednesday 4th March 2019
Topic: Bee Friendly Garden Ideas - A discussion with Clem Smith
Join us for an informative discussion on the many ways in which one can encourage bees to get the most out of your garden…and as many reasons that bees are good for your garden. Includes a honey-tasting.
Date: Wednesday 1st April 2020
Topic: Creating Cameos in your Garden.
How often do we see only a small portion of the garden out of a window, through a gate, from on the driveway, or in your courtyard?
We’ll discuss how to make these views picture perfect cameos, that inspire and lift your spirits every time you catch a glimpse of them in your everyday lives.
Bruce Stead who has been teaching indigenous garden design at Lifestyle College will be sharing his ideas with us.
I for one can’t wait to hear some of his amazing ideas that he is willing to share with us.
Why not join us on our next bird watching walk at Random Harvest? On our last walk, held in February, we saw 57 species, almost a third of our total bird count. Next bird walk details as follows:
Saturday, 14th March 2020 – Andre Marx
Start time: 6h30 for 7h00 sharp.
Saturday, 18th April 2020 – Lance Robinson
Start time: 7h00 for 7h30 sharp
Cost: R165 per person, including a great buffet breakfast after the walk
Bookings: (Essential) Contact Paul on 082 553 0598 or Ashley on [email protected] - Bookings cannot be made on our website – please use the details listed here.
Take a walk through the various vegetation patches of Random Harvest. The diversity of habitat increases the chances of seeing some of the 166 bird species spotted here. A bird list is supplied.
Note: Binoculars are important and greatly enhance your enjoyment of this activity – please don’t forget as we do not have spare.
Good walking shoes and a hat are advised for the bird walk.
*Buffet breakfast includes: Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Pork or Beef Sausage, Sliced Tomato, Creamed Mushroom, Muesli with milk or yogurt, Fruit salad, Cocktail Rolls, Butter and Jams, Tea, Coffee, Water Jugs, Orange Juice.
Friday, 13 March, 2020 & Thursdsay 3rd April - Domestic Gardener Training (08h30 – 15h45) (Note: April training has moved to Thursday to accommodate the Autumn Garden Show at Doonholm Nursery)
Give your gardener the gift of knowledge! This course is designed for the gardener at any skills level who works in the domestic, landscaping and commercial environment, to enhance their gardening skills with emphasis on sustainable gardening practice. Most languages are catered for on the day. A truly uplifting course! Breakfast and lunch included.
Saturday, 14 March 2020 – Essential Steps to Maintaining your Garden (08h30 – 13h00)
This morning workshop will provide you with all the basics of horticulture that every gardener requires to create and maintain a low-maintenance garden that is still a haven for wildlife. We cover the making of compost and its uses, mulching, understanding fertilisers, pruning, lawncare, pests and their role in the garden. You will feel super-confident after attending this workshop.
Contact Lindsay on 082 44 99 237 or email [email protected] for further details and to book your place.
Sagewood is our featured, self-catering, 4-star cottage for the month of March. From the carport adjacent to the cottage, to the cheerful lounge and pretty bedroom, guests love this cottage. It’s full of country charm, yet has the convenience of a work table with a view and free WiFi. All cottages are serviced daily, and fresh milk, tea, coffee and rusks are provided. For more information, please have a look at our (Hyperlink website) or call Paul on 072 562 3396 or email him on [email protected]
Late summer rains have meant that many indigenous flowering shrubs have had a sudden growth spurt, with flowering stems looking rather leggy. It’s very tempting to prune these, but keep those secateurs tucked away, as you will have very few flowers on your Hypoestes aristata (Ribbon Bush) and Leonotis leonurus (Wild Dagga) if you give in to any urge for neat and tidy, compact shrubs.
When it is time to prune, in early spring, cut the shrubs back by at least two thirds, to ensure a well branched and sturdy plant for next flowering season.
Namaqualand Daisies should be planted in the second half of March, and into April. Make sure you prepare the beds well prior to sowing seed.
Mix a good dose of compost into the soil and ensure that the soil is well drained and fairly light.
Scatter the seeds and then cover them with about 2cm of soil.
After raking the soil lightly, water well.
When the soil dries after this first watering, keep it damp but not wet or waterlogged whilst the little seedlings are still growing. As the seedlings come up, thin them out a bit, so as to reduce chances of moisture build-up causing mildew on the leaves.
It can be quite hot still, in March and into early April, so make sure that the Namaqualand Daisy seedlings do not dry out excessively. They will not be able to bloom well otherwise. Once the plants are established, water about once or twice a week depending on weather conditions.
Nymphaea nouchali – the deciduous Blue Waterlily has rounded floating leaves and beautiful, sky-blue through to pale- lilac or pink flowers with masses of yellow stamens in the centre.
As it is a submerged plant, its roots need to be at least 25cm below water.
Grows in light semi-shade or sun and is a wonderful addition to a pond or potted water garden, in a large pot.
Nymphoides indica - abundant, small, fluffy, yellow flowers at the edge of each leaf make the Yellow Waterlily irresistible to anyone who has a water garden or pond of some sort.
It thrives even in fairly small ponds, so is extremely rewarding.
Impatiens hochstetterii - Mauve Impatiens is a beautiful, soft, mounding plant for those difficult shady areas.
It also makes a lovely container plant for semi-shade.
It has attractive, glossy leaves with pinkish petioles and bears masses of pretty, small, solitary, mauve to pink flowers from Oct. to Apr.
It does not tolerate drought.
Aspilia mossambicensis - Wild Sunflower looks great when used in a mixed, colourful border or to create pretty, floriferous containers.
Can tolerate light frost and drought.
Prune regularly to keep tidy and promote flowering.
Plant in compost-rich soil, in full sun or semi-shade.
Attracts butterflies and tiny pollinating insects to the garden.
Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myersii’ - Foxtail Fern is a neat form plant that can be used as a focal point in the garden.
Makes a good container plant and is particularly beautiful growing gracefully over pond edges.
Grows well in light shade or semi-shade It is also a plant with many medicinal and traditional uses.
Crassula expansa fragilis - Striped Fragile Crassula is an ornamental green, spreading succulent ground-cover that looks great in rockeries as well as making a lovely container plant.
It is drought resistant and will grow in sun but prefers light shade to look its best.
Warburgia salutaris – The beautiful, small to medium sized Pepperbark Tree makes a great evergreen feature tree for the garden.
It grows exceptionally well in containers.
It is highly endangered due to the over harvesting of the beautiful bark, which is collected for medicinal purposes.
Leonotis cf. leonurus ‘Simba’ - Lion’s Ear is a smaller version of the original Wild Dagga, reaching only about 60cm in height.
It is an important food and nectar plant for Sunbirds, bees and butterflies during autumn and winter. It also makes a great container plant and smaller shrub for the garden.
The beautiful, velvety, tawny, yellow-orange flowers are repeated in circles up the length of every long stalk, mostly in autumn, however, ‘Simba’ is known for having flushes out of season.
This is a plant for full sun, in well-drained soil.
Eumorphia prostrata - Silver Cloud adds wonderful contrast and texture to the sunny garden with its evergreen, mounding, silvery grey foliage. Use it in a rockery or a sloped flower bed, and combine with strong, bold textures such as stemmed Aloes (e. g. Aloe marlothii, Aloe ferox, Aloe castanea), Strelitzias or the like.
Aloe cooperi - Cooper’s Aloe is a lovely garden plant and a beautiful addition to a grassland or marsh area.
This very hardy, stemless Aloe has beautifully ornamental leaves and spikes of apricot or yellow, tubular flowers that attract nectar-feeding birds such as Sunbirds and White-eyes.
ALL COLOURS Tecoma [=Tecomaria] capensis - Cape-honeysuckle
This hardy, evergreen, fast-growing, colourful, rambling shrub has attractive, bright-green foliage. The beautiful, large spikes of funnel-shaped orange, yellow, red or tangerine flowers attract Sunbirds, other nectar feeding birds, bees and butterflies to the garden. Cape Honeysuckle also has many traditional uses. This plant can be trained into a standard, used as a screening plant, clipped into a formal hedge or simply used as a beautiful shrub. If pruned to the size required, this essentially large shrub can be used in a small garden.
The millions of Brown-veined White butterflies wafting through on the breeze gave us a few days of utter magic. I loved watching the kids running through the grassland in amongst the butterflies. It certainly lifted our spirits and got the children to look at the grassland differently.
I really enjoyed the rain and kept on driving down to the dam to see the water pouring in
from where we collect it off the paving.
All the water pouring in dislodged the bits of Duck Weed on the edge of the dam which led the plant exploding on the dam. Luckily Jolam is so dedicated to cleaning it out with a swimming pool net.
We also took advantage of the wet ground to remove some of the huge weeds that had grown. Removing them when the ground is wet minimised the soil disturbance and thus the opportunity for other weeds to grow.
The bonus is that the attending winds saved me a huge job. The Papyrus had lodged itself against the island in the dam. We tried to move it away with little success and were making plans to buy chains and pull it away with the tractor. Fortunately for us the wind blew it to the side of the dam where we quickly anchored it.
The beauty of this was that it blew far further along the side of the dam than it had originally been and created a perfect fly way for ducks. Since this happened, we have seen White- faced Whistling ducks on the dam every day. I was hoping the one in the picture was sitting on eggs but sadly I was mistaken.
The Yellow-billed Duck were also there. Imagine my delight when they came out with a clutch of chicks. Unfortunately, they are barely discernible in this picture. The first time ducks have bred on the dam. I only saw them once and since then they have been very cryptic but Jeff has managed to see them a few times.
The Egyptian geese also have 3 babies on the dam and we have seen the Malachite Kingfisher.
We have been really busy with projects (my staff call me Pandora and no matter how they try they cannot keep the lid on). I am just not happy if I am not planning more and more projects. They challenge me and keep my life interesting and fun.
We have built a new shade house structure to house the masses of seedlings I have grown this year. All the seedlings have to be transplanted into seedling trays and housed.
But of course, life is not as simple as building a new shade house. The logical place to build it was in the area that houses my mother plants. Needless to say, this led to my staff having to move all the big, really heavy baskets and preparing another area to house the mother plants.
There’s nothing small about me……. while all this is going on, I, in my wisdom start paving in another of the shade houses just adding to the strain. My staff are long suffering and always work with a smile and a good heart. I am constantly reminded of how lucky I am to work with these positive, willing, wonderful people.
The saga of the boreholes continues as well. We had to install yet another new pump this month. Hopefully this is the last for a while.
In between all the projects there has still been time to wonder at all the beautiful things I see around me at Random Harvest. Some of the plants are looking gorgeous.
It is the first time we have had Aloe reitzii (Reitz’s Aloe) blooming in the nursery.
It has incredibly long spikes of flowers that are breath-taking. An added bonus is that it is very frost hardy.
It is the beginning of the Aloe season as the Aloe fosteri (Foster’s Aloe) are also budding.
I am looking forward to this as the birds and insects just flock to the flowers.
Draceana mannii (Small Leaved Dragon Tree) is a beautiful structural plant for shady areas. I managed to get a few plants and have been struggling to get the stock up so that I can offer them to our many customers who are looking for shade loving plants.
Imagine my excitement when a few of the plants bore these beautiful glossy orange seeds. The best part is that now I can get the numbers up by planting, that is if I beat the birds to the seeds.
When one talks about a plant dripping with seed this Gymnosporia buxifolia (Common Spike Thorn) could be the poster child.
Hopefully we manage to get our share but I am sure even the birds may not be able to finish them.
The flower of a Huernia species looks almost artificial it is so perfect. Just don’t put you nose too close and inhale as they emit a smell that attracts flies – unpleasant. Luckily it doesn’t waft far from the plant so we can still enjoy it.
The rare and beautiful Catophractes alexandri is also blooming for the first time. This is only the first flower so I am hoping in future to be able to harvest seed to grow.
It is always such a special time when the farm animals breed. These cute chicks are part of Jonathans flock on the farm.
One of the things I love about working and driving my golf car around the farm is the huge ever-changing sky. You would have to go far to find a bigger and more beautiful sky than what we have here on the Highveld.
Cottage To Let
One of my Mom's sought-after cottages at Random Harvest has just come up for letting. It is a well-maintained, beautiful big, 2 bedroomed home, with a carport, outside store room and its own little garden. Security is excellent, with night patrols and a gate guard.
Would suit quiet living, nature loving person / people with no pets. (We have dogs that accompany our security and for this reason we cannot allow pets).
For more information and to view the cottage, please contact David on 072 562 3396.
I just had to finish the newsletter with a close-up of the grasses I saw in the early morning sun.
I was so taken with their beauty.
Lucky me to have these moments in my life.
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