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Random Harvest Newsletter - August 2020

Posted On: Saturday, August 1, 2020

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

I am so happy that the days are getting noticeably longer, I cannot wait for warmer weather.

The beauty of this time of year is the play of light on the stems of the trees.

It gives you great appreciation of the beautiful architecture of trees when they are either bare or the leaves have thinned out.

After being locked up for so long many people have been taking advantage of being able to walk around the farm, relax in the garden and enjoy the outdoors. Treat yourself with a visit to Random Harvest and take time to let the worries fade away and just enjoy yourself here with us. Please remember our opening hours are 8h00 to 16h00

Please note that if you are coming to Random Harvest from Cedar Road on the R114 please take the highway N14 as there are road works past Nooitgedacht School and the traffic is horrible.

FOOD PARCEL DRIVE.

Once again, I would like to thank you, our customers, and our suppliers sincerely for your generous donations.

We have managed to distribute a further 400 parcels this month.

LUCKY DRAW

As part of our efforts to raise more funds for the food parcel drive, when you visit the nursery a R100.00 donation towards the food parcels enters you into a fantastic lucky draw.

For every 100 tickets sold we will draw 2 winners of a R1000.00 voucher to be spent at Random Harvest in the nursery, cottages, or tea garden.

The need is really huge so if you are able to donate it would be sincerely appreciated.

THE BANK DETAILS FOR DONATIONS:

FNB account Random Harvest Nursery : Account number 51441129818 : Code 250741 : Current account

Women’s Day

We acknowledge the amazing Women in our lives on Women’s Day, the 9th of August. Whether it’s an encouraging smile, a helping hand, a courageous deed or wise business decision – you make the world a better place to live in. All women visitors will receive a free gift on Women’s day when either eating in the tea garden or purchasing from our nursery.

EVENTS

All events will be by booking only, and a maximum of 15 people can be accepted per event to comply with safe social distancing measures.

Call 082 553 0598 or email [email protected] to book your space.

A seat will only be assured on payments received, except for coffee mornings which is on a first booked first reserved basis.

Wednesday 5 August 2020, at 10h30
Topic: Gardening chat, question and answer session.
Cost: Free! Please remember that you still have to book your seat.
Pending current situation, we will be hosting a monthly coffee morning at Random Harvest Nursery. We haven’t chatted in such a long time that I thought it would be nice for you to bring your gardening questions which we’ll discuss and answer over a cup of coffee. This way everybody gets to benefit from the advice given. Should we not yet be able to meet in person, we’ll simply take this session online to a Facebook Live coffee morning instead.

For the Adults:
Wednesday 12 August 2020, at 10h30
Topic: Prepare your garden for Spring
Cost: R50.00 Donation to our food parcel drive (if you choose you could make it R100.00 and enter the lucky draw)
Preparing your garden for spring can be quite a job. We chat about removing and replacing plants, lawn, compost, fertiliser and a sensible watering regime. For this day only, a special will be run on compost:
Buy 4 Bags and get one for free

Wednesday 19 August 2020, at 10h30
Topic: Pruning demonstration by Mike Viviers
Cost: R50.00 Donation to our food parcel drive (if you choose you could make it R100.00 and enter the the lucky draw)

For the Kids:
Thursday 6 August 2020, at 10h30
Topic: Learning about compost.
Cost: Cost: R50.00 Donation to our food parcel drive (if you choose you could make it R100.00 and enter lucky draw)
Children always seem to be fascinated with our compost heaps here at Random Harvest Nursery. This gives them an up-close look at how compost is made, what it is made from, why it is so important and the life that is found in it.

Thursday 20 August 2020, at 10h30
Topic: Plant up a succulent pot
Cost: R50.00 Donation to our food parcel drive (if you choose you could make it R100.00 and enter the lucky draw)
This is always a favourite with kids. Choose wonderful succulents to plant up your own mini succulent pot to take home with you.

BIRD WALK/S

Our bird walks are back! In strict compliance with all health and safety precautions each Bird walk participant will have their temperature taken prior to the walk, be requested to keep a 1,5 to 2m distance from each other, and of course, wear a mask.

Saturday, 15 August 2020 – Lance Robinson Time: 7h00 for 7h30 sharp.
Saturday, 19 September 2020 – Andre Marx Time: 6h30 for 7h00 sharp
Cost: R85.00 per person, this excludes breakfast, which will be for your account.
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. We have a maximum of 10 spaces available per bird walk.
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..
Good walking shoes and a hat are advised for the bird walk.

TEA GARDEN

If you wish to visit and enjoy a cup of tea under the trees in the tea garden I would like to reassure you that the tables are well spaced out and my staff are diligent about sanitising the area after each serving, ensuring the next guests are seated at a properly sanitised table and chairs.

We have added a delicious Vegetarian open sandwich to our menu.

It consists of two slightly toasted slices of rye toast with hummus layered with peppers, shaved fresh vegetables and sprouts topped with Feta cheese and drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.

The trees were lifting the paving in the tea garden area so we have re-laid it and it is now smooth and much safer to walk on.

IN THE SHOP

Here are a few not to be missed items sold at our Random Harvest Shop.

Random Harvest Nursery’s very own Plant guide (R142.00) with descriptions of all plants once sold at, or currently for sale at, the nursery.

A fantastic table on the side gives a quick summary of the plant.

Hoopoe Bird Feeder – R120.00
Lemon grass Soap – R57.50
Railing Planters – R350.00
Glycerine Soap – R41.50
Herb and Vegetable Starters – R60.00
Combined Herb and Vegetable Starter – R90.00

Our Book of the month is Fanie and Julye-Ann Venter’s Making the most of indigenous trees. An amazingly practical and useful book on over 140 species of indigenous trees. - R410.00

COTTAGES

We have taken the opportunity of upgrading the gardens and making each cottage more private. We have started with Sweet Thorn Cottage, where we are making a new terrace under a beautiful Red Ivory Tree (Berchemia zeyheri).

We are recycling and reusing - It is amazing what you can do when cash is tight. We have cleaned bricks, salvaged pavers and offcuts of steel and are thus able to do the job very inexpensively. It is keeping my maintenance staff busy and will improve our guests experience.

Did you know that you can purchase a B&B voucher for future use? This makes a wonderful anniversary or special birthday gift.

PLANTS LOOKING GOOD

Hypericum revolutum - Curry Bush (E)
If you have a moist or well-watered, sunny patch in the garden, this rewarding, hardy, evergreen, medium-sized to large, fast-growing, shrub will delight you with its large, cheerful, bright yellow flowers arranged neatly along the stem from summer through to autumn, with a few flowers for most of the year.

After rain, it gives off a scent of curry.

Cotyledon velutina - Velvet Cotyledon (E)
Attracts birds, bees, butterflies, and other insects to the garden with the nectar-laden flowers of the Velvet Cotyledon.

This hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, succulent shrub has smooth, round, grey-green leaves that are edged with red.

The attractive, umbels of pendulous, tubular, orange-red flowers grow on long stalks from early spring into early summer.

It makes a wonderful container plant or form plant in pockets in a rockery or in a succulent bed.

Buddleja glomerata - Karoo Sagewood (E) is a very hardy, evergreen, large shrub that can be used as a small tree, focal point, windbreak, in a mixed border or as a hedge.

The silvery, quilted leaves are a beautiful feature and add colour and texture to a garden bed.

Attracts bees and butterflies to the garden with its dense heads of yellow flowers.

Baphia racemosa - Natal camwood (E)
is a hardy evergreen quite slow growing shrub or small tree with a dense, rounded crown of dark green, glossy leaves.

Not only does it bear sprays of violet-scented, pure white pea-like flowers but it is also the host plant of the Blue-spotted Charaxes and Orange-barred playboy butterflies.

An ideal tree for a small garden.

Plectranthus ambiguus - Plectranthus (E)
Is a hardy, evergreen garden and container plant for cooler, shade to semi-shade gardens.

It attracts insects and butterflies to the garden with beautiful spikes of densely congested, tubular, pale purple flowers.

Prune back hard before the new season’s growth to keep it looking neat and encourage flowering the following season.

Searsia [=Rhus] burchellii - Karroo Kuni-bush (E)
Very hardy, evergreen, large shrub ideal for an informal hedge, as a screen or as an element of a bush clump.

If pruned into a standard it makes a lovely small tree. The beautiful foliage adds texture to the garden.

Male and female flowers are on separate plants, therefore only female plants bear the bunches of reddish-brown fruit.

The flowers attract pollinating insects and therefore insectivorous birds to the garden. Both flowers and fruit attract birds to the garden.

Asparagus densiflorus ‘Cwebe’ - Cwebe Emerald Fern (E)
Hardy, attractive, evergreen, upright perennial with gracefully spreading fronds that cascade.

The exceptionally beautiful foliage is more fern-like than the other varieties and makes this the beautiful container plant that it is.

Also stunning in a semi-shaded rockery or forest planting. The new growth is a shiny, rich copper-bronze colour.

Fragrant, small, white, star-like flowers are borne from Nov. to April and are followed by beautiful, red berries, which attract birds to the garden.

Tarchonanthus camphoratus - Camphor Bush (E); Kanferbos (A)Very hardy, evergreen, decorative, large shrub or small tree with attractive silver foliage.

This useful plant makes an excellent screen and windbreak. It also makes a lovely shade tree for a small garden.

Sprays of white, thistle-like flowers, covered in white, woolly hairs are borne from March to Nov. All parts of the plant are aromatic and smell strongly of camphor. Used extensively as a medicinal plant.

The wood is beautiful and, among other things, has been used to make musical instruments. It has a fibrous root system and can be used for binding the soil.

This drought-resistant shrub is heavily browsed on by game.

PLANTS ON SPECIAL

Rhamnus prinoides - Dogwood (E) is a large, evergreen, very hardy shrub worth scooping for your garden if you love birds.

It is very fast growing, so needs to be trimmed to keep in shape, especially in smaller gardens. This makes it an excellent component of a mixed planting screen.

Insectivorous birds love the many insects that visit the flowers and frugivorous birds relish the succulent black fruit. It is also a host plant to the Forest-king Charaxes butterfly.

Watsonia hybrids – Mixed colours.
This show-stopper of a plant has the advantage of boasting a lush fan of up to 8 long, glossy, bright green leaves in autumn and winter, providing contrast and visual texture in the garden.

Before it dies down in summer, it produces the most magnificent, tall spikes of beautiful, bold, showy flowers in spring and very early summer (Oct. to Dec.).

These hybrids come in a range of pretty colours - pink, pale pink, white and coral. Flowering stems are sometimes branched.

The flowers provide nectar and pollen (both before midday only) for nectar and pollen-feeding insects and birds. Makes an attractive, large container plant and beautiful planted en masse in the garden.

GARDEN TIP

Whilst everyone has been preoccupied with Corona virus, they seem to have forgotten about PSHB (Polyphagus Shot Hole Borer). If you think about it, on an ecological scale, it is far more deadly.

As the winter was so cold the PSHB would have been hibernating.

Now that it is getting warmer, they will once again become active.

I would suggest that you examine your trees closely for new holes (we are not sure how to distinguish between entry and exit holes).

Any signs of weeping will tell you that there has been a fungal infection from the spores ‘planted’ by the borer.

I have been spraying the trees of Random Harvest with PSHB Fungicide and we have not lost 1 tree to PSHB in two years. I am thrilled with the results we have achieved and in an environmentally friendly way. Double bonus!

I suggest you make a monthly check of the trees in your garden part of your life.You can obtain PSHB Fungicide from us or we can courier it to you. Alternately if you need assistance with your trees either spraying or on a consultancy basis please call me on 079-872-8975, Jonathan on 076-830-5242 or Mike on 071-102-4730.

Let’s try and halt this plague before it eats its way through our whole country and causes untold damage to the wildlife that depends on the trees.

ON THE FARM

The Aloes are in full bloom and are looking absolutely magnificent at the moment. Not only are they a feast for the eyes but the number of Sunbirds and insects that visit them is astounding.

This White-bellied Sunbird was feasting on the nectar.

The very hard-working bees are also having an easier time as the aloe flowers are close to their hives, making it easier for them to collect pollen and nectar. Hopefully this year we have a bumper crop of honey thanks to their hard work.

The birds are sensing the change in seasons and are getting more active. The wonderful liquid calls of the Southern Boubou are being heard in the garden. At this time of year, it is easy to see them. A little later in the season and they become quite cryptic.

The Speckled Mousebirds are feasting on the nectar in the Aloe flowers. The one in the picture was just hanging there, in between feasting on the fruits of the Ziziphus rivularis (False Buffalo Thorn).

I am not sure what the argument between the Amethyst Sunbird and the Fiscal Fly catcher was all about. But both were quite angry.

The Hamerkop are back on their nest in the garden and making a racket. Hopefully, they will breed again this year.

We placed logs down at the dam for our customers to sit on, while they relax and do a bit of bird watching.

Well! The Hadeda Ibis decided it was a perfect place for them to sit and sunbathe and relax and have taken over the area.

While sitting at the dam, you can let your imagination run wild. I said to Jeff we just missed the elephants. He thought I had gone crazy, but if you look at the mud clods on the opposite side of the dam it looks like elephant dung. We had quite an amusing moment with these musings.

As you can see the plants around the dam have been frosted. This is the first time in about 8 years that we have had so much frost.

The Egyptian Geese made a nest on the island and laid a clutch of eggs. Only four babies hatched. I thought I would share the picture to show how camouflaged the babies are by the ripples in the water.

Ronald was very brave and went down to the dam in the chilly early morning and got this lovely picture of the Sacred Ibis being tinged pink by the rising sun. There are always wonderful moments like this when we take time to observe nature.

The dry Tamboekie grass (Hyparrhina tamba) is so tall it looks like a Buffalo weaver mistook it for Papyrus and started building his nest.

The dam has quite a bit of algae in it which is a clear indication that there are too many nutrients in the water. So, in my wisdom, I decided to make rafts of trays with Water Cress in it as it grows in winter and I was hoping it would use up some of the nutrients.

The rafts worked well but the seedlings were too small to cope with the conditions. My poor long-suffering staff had, after braving the cold water, on one of the warm days in winter to put the rafts in the water had to then go and take them out again. I am lucky my staff are so kind and do everything with such a good heart.

So instead of using an alien species, like Water Cress, to help sort the problem, every time the algae starts to bloom, we are spraying it with vinegar. So far so good, we are now managing to control the problem in a much more environmentally friendly way.

I am amazed that with how cold it has been there are still many butterflies around. They are after the nectar offered by the many winter flowering indigenous plants.

This African Migrant butterfly is feeding on the nectar of a Kalanchoe rotundifolia (Common Kalanchoe). These wonderful succulents bloom almost all winter through and attract, not only butterflies, but many other insects as well.

The Garden Inspector was sipping nectar from the tiny white flowers of a Plectranthus sp, which are visited by many different species of butterflies who use them as a host plant and also to sip nectar.

Anyone who thinks indigenous plants are not colourful should visit my garden where the Strelitzias and Ribbon Bushes have been blooming for the past 3 months. They are still in bloom and the ribbon bushes are still offering a feast of nectar to the butterflies as you can see from this rather ragged Dotted Border feeding from a flower.

We are starting to see a lot of spider webs glistening in the winter sun. When you actually look at a web for a while it cannot help but make you wonder at the intricate work of this tiny creature. A real miracle of nature.

My staff have been amazing during this time of Corona virus and they all diligently wear their masks and practice social distancing.

I am very proud of them.

They are also very aware of the safety of our customers and are constantly sanitising and cleaning ensuring your peace of mind when you visit us.

With all the fear surrounding the virus I thought I would share these pictures of sunrise. I believe we are at the dawning of a new and better day and hopefully people learn to love their homes and this planet a bit more. The health of this planet is the only real thing in this material world we live in. If we do not look after it, all the material things in the world are meaningless.

I hope to welcome you to Random Harvest and to help you create your own haven where nature can thrive in your garden. If we all did this it would make a huge difference.

Sincerely

Linda

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