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Random Harvest Newsletter - August 2021

Posted On: Sunday, August 1, 2021

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

In these troubled times our gardens have become more and more important in our lives. They offer us an opportunity to create an island of peace for us to enjoy every day.

An indigenous garden encourages all manner of birds and other small wildlife and it this hidden web of life that makes an indigenous garden so good for the soul.

I was so happy to see this Dombeya rotundifolia (Wild Pear) blooming as I always think it is the harbinger of spring. Although this one is a little confused as it is at least 3 weeks too early.

To think that by the time I write the next newsletter, the trees will be starting to bud, and spring will definitely be in the air – I can’t wait.

Food Parcel Donation

The help we are giving to people in the surrounding communities is a ray of hope in their lives during these uncertain times. With your help we are assisting more and more people.

This is just a short testimonial from one of the people who do distribution for us which I thought you would like to see.

“DGN save an African Child” initiative in conjunction with the church of the Nazarene in Toekomsrus and Krugersdorp CBD have been giving out food parcels donated by Random Harvest.

The food parcels have supported 100s of families including those living on the dumping site in Randfontein. The church cooks some of the food and hands it out already cooked to the homeless people in these areas.

We desperately need more of these donations”.

I want to thank all the people who without fail contribute to this cause on a monthly basis - you are sincerely appreciated.

If you are able to help these are the banking details: Bank Account Random Harvest Nursery, FNB 51441129818 Cheque account: code 25 07 41 Reference: Food Parcels

In The Nursery

The herb and veggie section in the nursery is almost ready and we will be starting to plant in the next week or so. Godfrey and Bowa have done an outstanding job and we are hoping you are going to really enjoy this new addition to Random Harvest.

We are also almost done with the upgrading of our office. The new office entrance is going to be great and at last we have new floors.

The next job is to have new desks made with the wood of the Monkey Thorn we had to remove.

Speaking of wood, we have started with the building of our new coffee bar using the wood of the old oak tree that died. I am hoping to show you pictures of the progress next month.

Now is the time for veld cutting so we are very busy making compost and stock piling grass bales so we can continue with the compost making throughout the year. A busy time indeed just before spring.

Public Holiday – Women’s Day – 9th August

Bring the ladies in your life along to Random Harvest on Women’s Day to enjoy tea and cake or a meal in the tea garden or even enjoy a picnic in the garden.

Each lady will receive a small gift from us to thank them for their support over the years, which is truly appreciated.

Events

Birding Basics Course

Remember to book for this interesting course to help you enjoy the wonderful pastime of bird watching more fully. Bird watching is a great opportunity to get out into the fresh air and be more in tune with the wonders of nature.

Lance Robinson has a wonderful way of teaching, and you are sure to leave with all the knowledge you need to carry you forward in this fascinating hobby. This is also a great course if you just need a little refresher.

Each theoretical session is approximately 90 minutes in duration and will be followed by a practical session on the farm.

Dates: Saturday 21st August (session 1) and Saturday 28 August (session 2).
Time: 8h00 for 8h30
Cost: R400 per person for both days. This includes welcome tea and coffee and tea and coffee and scones before the practical session.

Booking is essential - please contact Lindelani on [email protected] Tel. No. 011 957-5356 or 066 587 3143

Bird Walks

Unfortunately, we had to postpone the July Bird Walk due to Covid rules. I am hoping that most of this will be over in time for the next one.

These bird walks are a great way to get into nature and leave the cares of the world behind you. A little time spent with knowledgeable walk leaders and like-minded people is always refreshing. I also hope this one will be warmer as spring will be in the air.

Saturday, 14th August 2021 – Andre Marx
Start time: 7h00 FOR 7h30 sharp.

Cost: R175.00 per person, this includes a scrumptious breakfast buffet

Booking is essential - please contact Lindelani on [email protected] Tel. No. 011 957-5356 or 066 587 3143

Indigenous Garden Design Course By Bruce Stead

I would like to remind you about this course which will help you create a haven for yourself and your family in 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 again for our customers.

He will start from the absolute basics and lead you through 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 design inspiration in your own garden.

These will be held on Saturday mornings from 9h00 to 12h00.
Dates: September 4th, 11th, and 18th and 25th and October 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd
Cost: R2500.00 for the full 8-day course.

To Book - please contact Lindelani on [email protected] Tel. No. 011 957-5356 or 066 587 3143

Coffee Mornings

We had to cancel the previous coffee morning due to Covid rules. I am hoping that we will be able to meet on the 4th of August. If not, I will speak to Dan to move the date to September. I will keep you posted.

Date: Wednesday 4th August 2021
Topic: Regenerating the soil with the assistance of earthworms.
Dan Barwick of Turfnet is an expert on regenerating the soil with earthworms. He enthusiastically shares his vast knowledge of earthworms which makes him a pleasure to listen to. He is also happy to answer any questions you may have.

He will also introduce us to his interesting products that will add microbes to the soil and increase its fertility vastly.

Practical Domestic Gardener Training

These courses are designed to increase both the knowledge and the confidence of your gardener, and this should translate into a beautiful garden around your home. It is so much easier to communicate with your gardener if he knows the basics of what you are asking him to do.

The next courses are as follows:

DATES: Friday 20th August 2021 and 17th September 2021
TIME: 8h30 to 15h30

The cost of the course 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 including cost of the course contact Lindsay Gray on 082-449-9237 or [email protected]

In The Tea Garden

High Tea

Book a High Tea in the Garden at Random Harvest to show the women in your life how much you love and appreciate them.

We, in turn, will help to make this day special for them.
Booking is essential - please contact Lindelani on [email protected] Tel. No. 011 957-5356 or 066 587 3143

Picnics at Random Harvest Nursery

Collect your catered picnic basket (we even supply a picnic blanket!) and head for a pretty spot in the garden to enjoy a delicious picnic. Thank you for all the positive feedback from those that have already made use of this new tea garden option. To take advantage of the introductory price of R150 per person, please contact us on 082 553 0598 or email us on [email protected] / [email protected] to order your basket. Read more here (hyperlink to article).

Sit down meals open again

It is good to be able to serve you once again at the tables. We are very aware of Covid risks and keep the area sanitised and luckily enough there is enough space to keep a safe distance from others.

Frozen meals and frozen samosas can be bought from the tea garden in Bulk.

Cottages

Are you working from home during lockdown? Imagine working in a peaceful garden surrounded by nature where your every need is catered for. We can offer you just that at Random Harvest Country Cottages.

Each unit is private, separated from others and fully sanitised and able to offer free WiFi and other facilities so you can continue running your job or business. We also have a full back up generator to ensure you are not affected by load shedding. Other services on offer are room service, food and beverage and laundry all provided under strict sanitising procedures. Your meals can be enjoyed in the Gazebo which has a cosy fireplace or in your cottage, as you prefer.

Remember to request your contactless check in link before arrival if it makes you feel more comfortable.

In The Shop

We have a new range of sugar and salt flavoured with indigenous herbs in stock. Each pack comprises 4 small individually flavoured containers– they are quite delicious.

We have also found some beautiful hand cut soaps – they look beautiful in your bathroom as well as being gentle on your skin.

At long last we have stock of the bird fridge magnets. Invite a little colour and nature into your kitchen with each beautiful authentic bird picture. They also make wonderful small gifts.

Talking of gifts, we also have a stock of greeting cards printed with beautiful paintings of birds.

Remember our soft cosy homemade dog blankets. We have more stock now, so spoil you beloved pet with one of these. I know Abby loves hers.

Book of the month

Guide to the Aloes of South Arica – Ben-erik Van Wyk and Gideon F. Smith
If you are interested in Aloes this is a book no self-respecting plant addict’s library should be without. It has a helpful layout that will make identifying these beautiful plants easier or you could just browse through this book regularly to enjoy the beautiful photographs.

Price R370.00

Plants Looking Good

Searsia [=Rhus] chirindensis - Red Currant
This has surprising large, glossy trifoliate leaves. The young foliage is reddish and once again turn a beautiful red in autumn. It bears sprays of small white flowers which are followed by heavy bunches of round fleshy seeds that turn from pink to red and finally a red-brown colour. It needs regular pruning especially when young to maintain its beautiful mushroom shape. If you are looking for a lovely spreading shade tree this is a tree to use.

Nuxia floribunda - Forest Elder
For a medium to large garden, this is the perfect choice of tree! It is an evergreen, beautifully shaped flowering tree with pale grey, smooth bark that contrasts beautifully with the glossy, dark-green leaves that turn quite purple in winter. This tree can burst into bloom any time from May to September and when it does the insects and birds rejoice in the bounty it offers. If you would like this tree in a smaller garden it needs to be planted in a large container. In larger gardens plant as a specimen shade tree or create a small, forested area. This is a tree that needs regular water.

Miscanthus junceus - Broom grass
This tall, elegant grass forms large decorative tufts. It bears long striking flower heads of tiny pink-brown, shiny flowers. It is water related and looks great growing on the edge of a pond it will also help to stabilise banks of a stream. Plant as a feature plant in the garden or create a beautiful container with this grass.

Freylinia lanceolata - Honeybells
The most striking feature of this plant is the number of butterflies that visit it when it is in flower. The sprays of creamy-yellow, strongly honey scented, tubular flowers appear in profusion from May to August. It is a large shrub and can be used as a backdrop or as a screening plant.
It does need regular pruning to keep in shape but the joy of watching the butterflies that visit make the work well worthwhile.

Gymnosporia [ = Maytenus] bachmannii - Willow Koko Tree
This very pretty shrub has dense small leaves with pink stalks which make it both attractive and a perfect plant for a hedge or a topiary. Its abundant small white flowers are also carried on pink stalks and are followed by beautiful pink berries. There is always something interesting going on with this plant. The flowers attract insects. As it takes to well to pruning it can be planted in even the tiniest of gardens. It will grow in both sun and shade making it perfect for those areas that are sometimes in the sun and at some times of the year in shade.

Cyrtanthus mackenii ‘Pondo Gold’ - Ifafa Lily
When you visit us take a walk in the garden and see just how beautiful this little evergreen bulb can be. It bears masses of yellow flowers (other forms bear anything from cream to pink and red flowers as you will see in the nursery). This particularly robust form with its many flowering stems creates a wonderful show of colour in winter. Plant in your garden or a container in semi-shade and allow it to multiply happily. It needs compost-rich soil and should be kept moist.

Buddleja auriculata - Eared Sagewood
The feature I Iove about this plant is the wonderful scent emitted by the beautiful, cream and orange flowers wafting through the garden in the middle of winter. I am not the only one who loves it as the butterflies, birds and insects also find it irresistible. Plant in sun or semi shade where with its dense cover of attractive attract black-green leaves with silvery undersides makes a lovely screen or backdrop to a flower bed. Prune lightly after flowering to keep in shape and ensure a profusion of flowers next season. Water regular.

Plants On Special - Tree Special 

To encourage you to plant trees and to remind you that we do deliveries, we are offering free delivery of trees. For this month only we will deliver the trees you purchase free of charge in the greater Johannesburg and Pretoria area and as an added incentive to plant trees we will add a bag of compost free of charge for each tree purchased.

Plants less 15%

Jeffrey thought we should repeat the special from last month. He thinks they are a good selection and now that we are all starting to get the planting bug, he thought you would appreciate the opportunity of acquiring them at discounted price.

Allophylus dregeanus - Simple-leaved False Crowberry
Duvernoia aconitiflora – Lemon Pistol Bush
Asparagus densiflorus ‘Mazeppa’ – Mazeppa Bay Asparagus

We have added the tough textural plant Salvia Africana-lutea – Wild Sage to the list. It is a small to medium sized shrub with aromatic leaves and unusual brown flowers that attract insects and sunbirds. It is an easy to grow shrub for sunny areas where it will create beautiful silvery clumps but does need well-drained soil.

Gardening Tip

Spring is the time the dreaded Polyphagus Shothole Borer starts flying and infecting our precious trees to the point of death.

Fortunately, there is an environmentally friendly solution – PSHB Fungicide which I have been using with great success, and best of all, with no harmful effects in the environment here at Random Harvest to protect my beloved trees from this plague.

Presently there are no biological controls in place as no one knows where the beetle comes from and can therefore not research these effective controls.

How the Beetle Works

The tiny beetle carries a specific fungus which it plants into the area immediately below the bark which is the life of the tree as it carries nutrients and water to and from areas of the tree. It is the fungus not the beetle which will kill your trees. The beetle does not eat wood, it just uses the holes it creates for breeding. 

This fungus is the food source for the beetle and its larvae – it stands to reason that if you kill the fungus the beetle will starve, and you will save your trees.

What to look for

If you see your trees showing signs of exuding sawdust, sugar crystals or sugar strips, coloured stains or glue you need to check.

If you are unsure if it is the Polyphagus beetle or not, remove a small piece of bark around where your tree is exuding and you will see distinctive stains, as in the picture. This is diagnostic of beetle infestation.

Check the health of the crown by checking against the sky and if you see small branches dying back this is also a sign.

What to do

Spraying of the trees as soon as possible is paramount and there are two ways you can do it.

1. You can spray the stem of your tree as high as you can get until the spray starts running off and this will need to be done every 6 weeks during spring, summer, and autumn.
2. We could do a crown spray once a year for you with a powerful spray machine which can reach the crown of even the tallest trees. This ensures that the entire tree is soaked, and this would need to be done once a year.

Solitary Bee Snippet

A bee friendly garden is all about diversity. Different flowering plants and a variety of nesting sites are needed. A bee’s eye view of a flower is different to ours. They see UV and not red light.

Therefore, they tend to prefer yellow, blue, and purple flowers, but some bees do visit red flowers. They generally prefer open flowers where the pollen is visible. Flowers with long, narrow tubular corollas are mostly pollinated by butterflies and moths.

Bees are often named for how they build their nests, such as diggerbees, leafcutterbees, carpenterbees, carderbees, dauberbees, resinbees and hyalinebees. There are also cuckoobees, robberbees and stinglessbees. Cuckoos lay their eggs in other bees’ nests and robbers steal from other bees.

Most bees nest in holes that they dig in the soil, but the most common garden bee nests are bee hotels, which are simply holes drilled into wood. There is however room for the imagination as one can see on Google. Diggers are more difficult to keep because they choose where they’ll dig. But I’ve seen bee hotels with holes in dried mud. I have also seen diggers nesting between bricks in a very old wall where the cement was sand-like.

On The Farm

I know I do tend to go on and on about the grassland but where some people see just brown Jeff and I see utter beauty with the different colours and textures. I wanted to share with you some of the cameos we see in the hopes it will give you a different perspective of grasslands.

What looks like dew drops on the Hyparrhenia tamba (Blue Thatching Grass) is actually the silvery-white, fluffy seeds glistening in the sun.

This picture is the red autumn colours of Imperata cylindrica (Cotton Wool Grass) graced with the seed head of a Berkheya species against the blond background. Breath-taking!

We loved the graceful grass with the log peeping out.

These are some of the things one sees when one takes a moment to relax and see the beauty around us.

The Bronze Mannikens have been very active. These tiny birds are always a joy to watch as the go busily about their business.

This fat little devil (Speckled Mousebird) is sitting sunning himself after feasting on my Vygie Mother Plants. Worst of all he called all his friends including the Go-away bird to join him. We are now trying to outwit them to save our mother plants.

All our wonderful birds that I love so much can sometimes be a double-edged sword.

The Green Hoopoe chicks have flown the nest. These noisy birds probing under the bark of the trees will always bring a smile to your face with their antics.

We have been busily trying to clear some of the alien invader plants along the road. My staff have been working so hard chopping, clearing and burning these revolting plants.

I wish everyone would take seriously the danger they pose to the environment and our indigenous plants.

This family of Slender Mongoose, always the opportunists, came out during our cutting and chopping to feast on all the insects that were disturbed by our activities.

 

I am so happy that the Turraea floribunda (Honeysuckle Tree) are loaded with seeds. They haven’t seeded for the last few years, but this year are generous in giving us seed to plant. Incidentally, this is a most stunning tree to plant in smaller gardens.

There are definite signs of spring in the air.

The Aloes are just finishing off their beautiful flowers and the Greyia sutherlandii (Natal Bottlebrush) buds are just starting to open.

The Wattled lapwings are strutting around importantly starting to think about finding a mate as their breeding time is just around the corner.

The beautiful call of the Brown-hooded Kingfisher is all around in the garden.

Another exciting bird to add to our bird list is the Little Sparrowhawk. There was great excitement with Jeffrey running around the nursery trying to get a picture. He finally managed to get one and although not great it was good enough to be able to identify him.

Another bird Jeffrey ran around trying to get a picture of was this cute tiny Neddicky. I sometimes think Jeffrey loves the birds so much he thinks this is a bird farm instead of a plant nursery.

I am quite excited to tell you that I have had my Covid vaccinations which means I can get back to the office and be able to connect with you again. I thought I would mention there were no side effects at all.

Here’s to a spring filled with hope and expectation and looking forward to welcoming you at Random Harvest.

Sincerely

Linda

Cell 079-872-8975
email [email protected]

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