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Random Harvest Newsletter - May 2021

Posted On: Saturday, May 1, 2021

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

It is so amazing to go into autumn and it is still so moist and wonderful after the bonus showers of rain we have been having. The plants also seem to appreciate it and are looking marvellous. I am also very grateful to have the new boma for our customers to sit in when it does come down. It is wonderful to sit and watch the rain and how misty and beautiful it makes the nursery look.

Autumn is such a beautiful time – the Aloes are starting to bloom and many of the leaves are changing colour. I think we don’t take enough time to contemplate what a wonderful, constantly changing planet we live on.

FOOD PARCEL DONATION

Thanks to your generosity the distribution of the ‘Meal in a Bag’ is going very well and helping a lot of needy families. I couldn’t resist using a whole lot of boxes of Easter Eggs for the children who very seldom get a treat. This was paid for by Random Harvest and not the food donation money. All the money that we receive from you goes directly into the purchasing of food.

If you can possibly continue to help, these are the banking details;

Bank Account Random Harvest Nursery, FNB 51441129818 Cheque account : code 25 07 41

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

We are open on all Public holidays - 1st May and 16th June.

On youth day we will have a small gift of bulbs for the children. We hope to encourage them to learn to grow plants and how satisfying this can be.

IN THE NURSERY

We are always looking for ideas on how to do things more efficiently in the nursery. We had this frame built and are pruning the plants with a hedge trimmer. It has saved so much time but best of all we are now able to prune the whole nursery and so be able to offer better quality plants. A constant quest at Random Harvest.

Our mission is to create gardens that will provide food for wildlife and people. In line with this, we are now preparing a new herb and vegetable growing area. As always, Jonathan who is so creative, has come up with a wonderful idea and we are in the throes of building it. When it is done, I am sure you will love it as much as I loved Jonathan’s concept.

Our cutting house is now working efficiently, and we are producing cuttings at an amazing rate. This was a real collaborative effort, and I am so proud of my staff.

WHOLESALE NURSERY

I would like to remind our landscapers and nurserymen that the wholesale section of the nursery is also open 7 Days a week for their convenience.

MOTHER’S DAY

We have decided to declare a Mother’s Day weekend

To be able to accommodate all the Mothers, we will celebrate Mothers’ Day on the 8th and 9th May.

This will give us the opportunity to thank all the mothers who have supported us and brought their friends and family along to introduce them to Random Harvest.

As a token of our appreciation, there will be a small gift waiting for all the Mothers both young and old.

Mother's Day High Tea can be booked for either Saturday 8th or Sunday 9th May. At R165 per person, this makes an affordable spoil for Mom and the family in the loveliest location Johannesburg has to offer. For more information or to book, please email [email protected] or call 066 587 3143

BIRD WALK/S

Saturday, 8th May 2021 – Lance Robinson
Start time: 7h00 for 7h30 sharp.
Cost: R175.00 per person, this includes a scrumptious buffet breakfast.

The previous bird walk was a hit and we added two more bird species to our list making it up to 176 identified on the farm.

Saturday, 5th June 2021 – Andre Marx
Start time: 7h00 for 7h30 sharp.
Cost: R175.00 per person, this includes a scrumptious breakfast buffet

We will have cut some of the veld grass so you can expect to see some interesting birds that frequent the short grass areas.

Bookings: (Essential) Contact Paul or David on 082 553 0598 or email [email protected] - Bookings cannot be made on our website – please use the details listed here. We have a maximum of 20 spaces available per bird walk.

MONTHLY COFFEE MORNINGS

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 5th May 2021
Topic: Snakes – learning to love and appreciate these wonderful creatures.

Grant Fairley will share his vast knowledge and love of snakes with us. These much-maligned creatures play an important part in maintaining the balance in nature and should be revered rather than reviled.

Date: Wednesday 2nd June 2021
Topic: Succulents.

Jonathan and Jeffrey will guide you on how to create a waterwise succulent bed in your garden. They will give tips on how to create a beautiful display of colours, textures, shapes and flowers as well as how to maintain the bed for the best effect. They will then demonstrate how to plant up beautiful containers using succulents.

PRACTICAL DOMESTIC GARDENER TRAINING

The previous course was very well attended, and the attendees were full of pride when the course was completed including some of my staff who were smiling from ear to ear when they received their certificates.

The next course is as follows:

DATE: Friday 25th June 2021
TIME: 8h30 to 15h30

This includes a set of notes for both the gardener and employer, tea/coffee and biscuits on arrival, breakfast and lunch and a certificate.

TO BOOK or for more info contact Lindsay Gray on 082-449-9237 or [email protected]

EPIKAIZO SPA

The spa building is finally ready and they are now open for bookings.

Epikaizo Spa has have generously offered a Mother’s Day special of a 20% Discount on all treatments as well as a welcome drink and a thank you gift.

This is valid for the Mother’s Day weekend of the 8th and 9th May. What a wonderful way to spoil your Moms.

They would also like to introduce a 20% Discount for pensioners on all treatments on a Wednesday in line with our own pensioner day discounts.

Contact Nomsa for bookings on Cel. No. 065 838 5378 or email on [email protected]

TEA GARDEN

We have been very busy in the Tea garden with people wanting to book the Fever Tree Boma for dinner functions. I was blown away by how beautiful the boma looks at night. We don’t allow music so people can sit in the boma and listen to the music of the night – Magical!

We also hosted a small low-key wedding, which is all we can manage. We provided High tea and the bride and groom, who got married in the garden, were thrilled.

COTTAGES

Beat the price increase – Our rates will increase in May, so we are offering you an opportunity to buy a voucher for yourself or your family to stay at Random Harvest at today’s prices any time during the coming 12 months. This offer is valid until Friday the 7th of May, close of business.

Our Featured Cottage

Lemon Thorn is a free-standing, open, light, large cottage which has all the facilities that a business or leisure traveler would need.

  • Free parking right next to your cottage
  • Free unlimited WIFI
  • Free tea, coffee, fresh milk, fresh cream and home baked rusks.
  • A working table next a huge window through which you get a beautiful view of the private garden.
  • DSTV to help you catch up with your favourite soapies and other entertainment while taking a break from your work.
  • Laundry service is also available upon request.
  • Meals are available in our outdoor tea garden just a minute away from your unit. Phone order to eat in your cottageare also welcome from 7:30am to 4:30pm.

General information - All our guests are provided with a very informative welcome booklet on arrival. It gives you important information about Random Harvest including our on-duty security officers who also operate as night managers for our guests.

Feel free to take a walk in the nursery and see our daily activities.

IN THE SHOP

I thought I would remind you about the magnificent set of botanical books, ‘The Cape Orchids’. This book is the lifetime work of the authors and is filled with beautiful pictures as well as well-researched information of each of the species. At a price of R1995.00 it is actually a steal.

We have a selection of new ceramic bird feeders and some cute new creatures to adorn your garden.

Browse through the shop if you are looking for the unusual, quirky and handmade goodies.

PLANTS LOOKING GOOD

Tabernaemontana elegans - Toad Tree (E)
This wonderful small spreading, deciduous tree grows with an almost flat top. It bears spikes of pure white, fragrant flowers. These are followed by large, paired seed pods with white warts that look like the backs of toads hence the common name. When the pods split, they reveal seeds embedded in edible pulp. Plant in sun or shade. This exceptionally beautiful tree is ideal for smaller gardens or in courtyards and containers.

Scutia myrtina - Cat-Thorn (E)
This large scrambling shrub is true to its name with it hook thorns. It has wonderful small, glossy leaves that are almost mirror-like. The flowers are small and quite nondescript, but they are by followed by masses and masses of large berries that the birds love. It is always my problem to try and beat the birds to collect seeds to plant. Plant in sun or light shade. Perfect to train along the top of a wall to deter unwanted visitors and plant as an element of a security hedge or bird garden. You can also trim it into a hedge or use as a container plant but then do prune it regularly.

Kalanchoe rotundifolia ‘Signal Red’ - Common Kalanchoe (E);
There is nothing common about the beautiful display of flowers this small succulent plant will give you. The plant grows to about 10cm but bears long spikes of red, yellow or orange flowers from March to December. The rest of the year the attractive red edged leaves add colour and texture. Plant in a grassland garden, in amongst pebble or small rocks in a succulent bed in sun or semi shade. It also makes a rewarding container plant.

Scabiosa africana - Pincushion (E)
If you are looking for a plant with an exceptionally long flowering time that will attract masses of butterflies to your garden, you need look no further. This small shrub or bedding plant has lovely quilted leaves and carries its beautiful, blue, pincushion type flowers on long stalks above the leaves which is exceptionally showy. Plant in sun or semi shade and prune lightly to keep in shape.

Cotyledon barbeyi - Plakkie (A)
A hardy, evergreen, branched, succulent shrub with finger-like, fleshy leaves. It bears masses of long-lasting, pendulous, satiny, red, tubular flowers in clusters at the tip of the flowering stalks from Mar. to Sept. which attract birds and bees. This drought-hardy shrub makes a good addition to a succulent garden or rockery and is lovely in a container. Plant in well-drained soil in full sun or semi-shade.

Polygala virgata - Purple broom (E)
This floriferous, slender shrub bears spikes of mauve to purple, pea-like flowers at the tips of graceful branches. The flowers attract a whole host of insects and solitary, stingless bees. Plant in clusters in a grassland garden or in amongst ground covers and smaller shrubs. Although this plant is not particularly long-lived it does seed itself readily so you will always have this beautiful plant in your garden

PLANTS ON SPECIAL – LESS 15%

A choice of beautiful flowering plants to brighten up your autumn.

Senecio macroglossus - Flowering Ivy (E)
Fairly hardy, evergreen, slender, fast-growing creeper with attractive, glossy, semi-succulent, ivy-shaped foliage. The lemon-yellow daisy-like flowers are borne from Mar. to Jul. and attract insects to the garden. Allow it to climb or use it as a beautiful groundcover. It is also beautiful planted in hanging baskets and containers. It grows in sun or semi-shade, although doesn't do well in hot, dry areas. Plant in well-composted, well-drained soil.

Hypoestes aristata ‘Little Pink’ - Pink Ribbon Bush (E)
Hardy, evergreen, small- to medium-sized, rounded shrub It has grey-green leaves with lighter veins that give them a slightly variegated look. From Mar. to Aug., when very little else is in flower, it bears abundant flower spikes that are densely packed with 2-lipped pink flowers with purple spots. I have them all over my garden as I love watching the butterflies and other insects it attracts as well as the insect eating birds in winter. Prune back severely after flowering to keep in shape and promote flowering the following season. Plant in sun, shade or semi-shade.

Tecoma [=Tecomaria] capensis - Cape-honeysuckle (E)
This colourful, rambling shrub has attractive, bright-green foliage. The beautiful, large spikes of funnel-shaped orange, yellow, red or tangerine flowers are borne from early spring, throughout summer and into winter. They attract Sunbirds, other nectar feeding birds, bees and butterflies to the garden. Use as a screening plant, clip into a formal hedge or simply used as a beautiful shrub. It needs pruning after flowering to keep it looking its best and to encourage further flowering. If pruned to the size required, this essentially large shrub can be used in a small garden. Plant in sun or semi-shade.

Pavonia praemorsa - Yellow Pavonia (E)
A hardy, evergreen, very attractive, medium-sized shrub with shiny, roughly textured, round leaves and purplish stems. It bears butter-yellow hibiscus-like flowers almost all year round. Attracts pollinating insects to the garden. It is a beautiful form plant and a most attractive garden subject that grows in sun or semi-shade. Plant in well-drained, compost-rich soil and prune in early spring to keep a compact shape.

GARDENING TIP

We have been through trying times and our homes and gardens have become our sanctuary from the madness.

Creating a peaceful corner in a quiet area of your garden will help rejuvenate you and give you time to contemplate on all the blessings we do have.

Choose an area – preferably under a deciduous tree which will keep you cool in summer and allow the sun in during winter.

A comfortable chair or bench is a must if you would like to sit and read, do some bird watching or journaling.

If possible, add a small bird friendly water feature. The pleasure of watching the birds and listening to the sound of water is soothing to the spirit.

Add some of your favourite indigenous plants around you remembering to include plants with colour and fragrance, as well as plants to attract insects, butterflies and birds.

Then sit back and become one with nature and relax and let your mind wander.

ON THE FARM

There have been some exciting new bird sightings on the farm – A Levaillant’s Cuckoo and a Lanner Falcon.

This brings the number of birds identified at Random Harvest to 176. Amazingly this is more than some nature reserves have, we are truly blessed to live with this excitement.

These I.D.’s have been confirmed by Andre so I am sure there is not another Boo Boo!

Sometimes I think there are not so many water birds at the dam and yet we see and hear many birds calling and sometimes see really interesting things.

The White-faced Whistling ducks spent a few days at the dam. They have such a wonderful call. The interesting observation was that there was some duck weed floating on the dam and they seemed to be skimming it up.

Ronald is getting really good at taking action pictures of the birds. This one of the Cormorant is good but the one I love is the beautiful picture of the White Fronted Bee-eater.

It is amazing when you are so blessed with living close to nature as I am how you watch the cycles in the seasons.

We hardly ever see the African Stone Chat during the summer months but come autumn and they are out in numbers. What a handsome tiny bird this male is. The females are also beautiful the way they flit around the grassland catching insects.

This season the grass was so thick we didn’t see if the Guinea Fowl had babies. Luckily, this month they posed with their youngsters near the dam. This proves that they are doing well, and the babies are surviving and thriving.

The Hamerkop is still lurking around the dam fishing for his meals. You can see from this picture where he gets his name ‘Hamerkop’. His head and crest are shaped like the head of a hammer.

I am surprised that the Pin-tailed Whydah are still in full breeding colours. I would have thought it was about time they turned into one of those annoying ‘Little Brown Birds’ that are so hard to identify.

Jeff got this picture of the Red-chested Cuckoo, we hardly heard his call this season, but I was happy to see that he was in fact here at Random Harvest.

This last good rain we have had gave us an opportunity to weed the grassland which we hadn’t managed to do this season. It is important to weed before everything drops its seeds and causes even more problems next season. I seem to have rather a large garden, the grassland, that I play in but I do so love it. I am lucky my staff are dedicated to helping me with this huge job.

While Jeff was in the grassland helping the staff, he found the beautiful Gladiolus crassifolius blooming so late in the season.

He also took this picture of a wildflower we had never seen before, Alectra sessiliflora, which is a hemiparasite that grows on the roots of other plants.

Once again, the butterflies have been amazing and luckily Jeff managed to get some beautiful pictures that I can share with you.

This Clouded Yellow was sipping nectar from a tiny daisy-like flower (not sure what it is).

I had to share these beautiful pictures of a Common Diadem butterfly. If you look at the different sides of the wings, they could be different species. I love observing these beauties of nature.

Whilst driving with Jeff on the farm we came across a Lantana mearnsii, a plant I stopped propagating as they weren’t very popular. We were astounded at the number of African Leopard butterflies amongst many other insects visiting the flowers. No wonder that after seeing this display of life I now have to start growing the plant again.

Nature can also be a bit gruesome sometimes. These two pictures are of caterpillars that have been parasitised. Steve Woodhall explained what is happening. If you would like to read his very interesting story, please click on this link 

Clem collected honey from our hives – it is delicious but after hearing his talk and how hard the bees work to make the honey it makes me appreciate every teaspoonful even more and thank the bees each time for their bounty.

The mushrooms have been amazing after the rain. These look like a little nest of mushrooms.

They go from quite robust mushrooms to the delicate almost translucent umbrellas of these tiny ones.

I just had to share this beautiful picture of a wasp that Ronald took. He is learning to be a great photographer, which is good for us as I will have wonderful pictures to share with you.

The gardens look very good at this time of year.

When next you visit be sure to take a stroll around them.

Keep warm,

Sincerely

Linda

Cell 079-872-8975
email [email protected]

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