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Random Harvest Newsletter - November 2021

Posted On: Monday, November 1, 2021

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

I am sure you were as excited as I was with the wonderful rain we had. The best part is it washed the leaves of the plants. You could almost hear them breathe deeply. I am also enjoying driving through the nursery without a cloud of dust following me – happy days!

The sunrise just before the rain was so beautiful that I just had to share this picture with you.

IN THE NURSERY

After the cold winter I decided to spray my plants with Panaf 8 to help them over the stress of the cold and at the same time we sprayed the trees with PSHB fungicide. We did this to ensure that all the trees bought from us are not infected by this dreaded pest. Emmanuel and Jabulani did a great job of making sure that each plant received their fair share. The plants have responded magnificently and are all looking healthy and growing fast and flowering.

We also decided to plant LM grass around the Boma. It is almost ready for its first cut.

Other than these two jobs we have been planting like crazy to fill the nursery with wonderful indigenous plants after the winter season.

Once again, my hard-working staff excelled themselves – loading this monster truck with trees destined for Namibia. It is vital that they are packed properly for the long journey and my staff did an excellent job of it.

FOOD PARCEL DONATIONS

For all the people who have generously donated to our food parcel drive your generosity is amazing and truly appreciated by the people you have helped feed, and everyone at Random Harvest.

If you would care to donate this is the bank account number

Random Harvest Nursery, FNB 51441129818 Cheque account: code 25 07 41, Reference: Food Parcels.

BIRD WALKS

Saturday 20th November 2021 – Andre Marx
Saturday 11th December 2021 with Lance Robinson
Start time: 6h30 for 6h45 sharp

On this walk you will definitely see the Paradise Flycatchers. They are back in numbers and their cheerful calls in the garden make everyone smile.

Join us for an interesting and informative walk that is lots of fun for both novice and experienced birders. Then enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast with like-minded people – a great way to start the weekend.

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

Booking is essential - please contact Lindelani on [email protected] Tel. No. 082-553-0598 or 066 587 3143

BIRD COURSE

11th and 18th December, 2021 by Lance Robinson

The last bird ID course run by Lance Robinson was a great success and the attendees loved it. Unfortunately, the response was so great we had to disappoint a few people as it was full.

Lance has kindly agreed to do another one for those of you who missed out, as well as any others who would like to attend but were too busy, so we have scheduled it for a more relaxed time of the year.

Lance 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 11th December (session 1) and Saturday 18th December (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

COFFEE MORNING

Time: Time 10h30
Date: Wednesday 3rd November 2021
Topic: Water in the garden

We will talk about adding water to the garden for the wildlife and your enjoyment whether it is a simple birdbath or a more complicated water feature.

Birds like Cape Robin chat will appreciate even a dripper. This bulbul is enjoying sipping from our water plant display area.

Date: Wednesday,1st December 2021
Topic: Indigenous Christmas Trees, Gifts for the garden, Gifts from the garden
I thought it would be nice to have a Christmas theme for this morning. I personally think a well thought out gift doesn’t have to cost the earth as it should be the thought that counts not the cost. I have a few ideas and it would be great if you also brought your suggestions / ideas that we can all benefit from.

PRACTICAL DOMESTIC GARDENER TRAINING

Give your gardener the gift of knowledge and the ability to help you more efficiently in your garden this summer.

Details for Lindsay Gray’s next course are as follows:

DATES: Friday 19th November 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 Your gardener will be more excited and confident to help you create your own personal haven.

TO BOOK or for more info including cost of the course contact Lindsay Gray on 082-449-9237 or

[email protected]

COTTAGES

I loved the way Ronald and David spoke about the cottages and thought I would share it with you.

“Achieving peak relaxation can be easy this season - all you need is a bed and breakfast situated on a private farm with the perfect countryside charm, a peaceful environment, and nature surrounding you.

Throw in a relaxed afternoon in your own private garden and start every great morning off with an incredible breakfast and you've officially reached the ultimate level of relaxation. Guaranteed you will shine all day, spreading love as thick as you would our homemade butter on our homemade bread.”

EPIKAIZO SPA

A reminder that there is a Health and Beauty Spa on site to help relax your body and calm your mind. Their products are made from natural ingredients inspired by the love for mother nature.

TEA GARDEN

Instead of glitzy outings to hotels and restaurants in the city why not hold your functions at Random Harvest. We offer either a High Tea or a relaxed picnic in the garden where you will be surrounded by nature and birdsong (a lot better than traffic noise). Guaranteed everyone will leave relaxed and filled with goodwill for the Christmas season.

SHOP

We have a new range of products in the shop which are all about South Africa's Fynbos, capturing its natural flavours and scents and making them available to you in an easy-to-use range of culinary and lifestyle products.

Tea – all the flavours are hand harvested and naturally dried to provide a raw experience as though you've collected the leaves and stalks from the veld yourself. R60.00
Salt - A delicate mix of edible Fynbos varieties with hand-harvested Cape west coast sea salt and natural spices. R60.00
Herbs – Uniquely South African dried culinary herbs. R110.00

ARTWORK

I am beyond excited that I have managed to persuade Heather Balcomb to produce some of her evocative nature paintings, that I am so enamoured with, for us to sell in the shop. I am sure you will love them as much as I do.

This is a great opportunity for you to acquire one.

PLANTS LOOKING GOOD

Grewia occidentalis - Cross-berry
This hardy, evergreen shrub can be left naturally sprawling, trimmed into a beautiful hedge, trained as a climber. Its beautiful pink star-shaped flowers have fluffy yellow stamens and adorn the plant for the whole summer. It then bears distinctive cross shaped fruits which are edible and attract birds to the garden. It can be planted in sun or shade making it an excellent choice for areas with changeable light conditions.

Felicia erigeroides - Wild Michelmas Daisy
This very hardy, evergreen, mound-forming perennial has small, bright-green leaves and delicate pink to lilac, daisy-like flowers with yellow centres. It flowers profusely from Jul. to Sept. but does have some flowers all year round if deadheaded after flowering. Attracts butterflies and other insects to the garden. An easy, drought-resistant, long-lived perennial. Plant in sun or semi-shade.

Crinum bulbispermum - Orange River Lily This very hardy bulb looks beautiful planted in water or near water although they also thrive in normal garden conditions. The grey-green leaves are a feature in themselves and then in spring a huge spike of pink flowers appears which are both showy and fragrant. It looks spectacular planted in amongst grasses which move in the breeze with these huge rigid flowers in amongst them.

Bolusanthus speciosus – Tree Wisteria
Arguable one of our most graceful and beautiful trees with its weeping shape and grey-green leaves. It bears clusters of spectacular purple flowers in spring – a sight to behold. Create a beautiful avenue or plant in clusters in larger gardens or use as a single specimen in smaller gardens. It is deciduous and has attractive grooved bark.

Arctotis hybrid ‘Little Pink’
The delicate contrast of silvery leaves and large soft pink daisies is an attractive addition to a sunny garden where it will create both colour and texture. It is free-flowering and if the dead flowers are removed will flower for a large part of the year. It attracts birds and insects to the garden. Prune lightly and regularly to keep in shape.

Pelargonium tetragonum – Square-stemmed Pelargonium
Rare and unusual in cultivation this sprawling Pelargonium has few leaves and square green stems similar to a Euphorbia. It bears large delicate pink flowers that look like butterflies at the tips of the stems. It will grow tall if supported by other plants. Plant in a succulent garden which is well-drained. It also makes a beautiful container and hanging basket plant. An eye-catching plant.

PLANTS ON SPECIAL – Less 15%

Delosperma cooperi – Cooper’s Ice Plant
Flat, succulent groundcover with grey leaves and beautiful magenta to mauve ‘vygie’ flowers that are borne in profusion from August to December. The glistening flowers are irresistible to butterflies, bees and other insects which in turn attract birds to the garden. This is an attractive, easy to grow ground cover and does well on banks, in rockeries or succulent beds. They can also be planted tumbling over the edge of retaining walls or containers. Plant in well-drained soil in sun or semi shade.

Celtis africana – White Stinkwood
If you have a big enough garden this majestic tree is a must. It is very hardy, deciduous and goes through beautiful leaf changes. The bark is smooth and silvery grey. This is a most important wildlife tree. Plant as a specimen, create a beautiful avenue or group together.

Metarungia galpinii – Southern Orange lips
This rare and endangered large shrub has beautiful, quilted foliage. The flower spikes are held upright at the tips of the stems like candles. They are borne in Feb. and Mar. and, at other times, only after rain. The flower spike has green bracts with dense white hairs on the margins giving quite a pale colour in contrast to the dark leaves. The light terracotta flowers are carried along the length of the spike. These features make this a truly beautiful plant. Use as a backdrop in shade or as a magnificent single specimen. It grows well in containers as well. Plant in shade or semi-shade in well composted soil. Prune lightly after flowering

GARDENING TIP – Gardening for butterflies

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love butterflies. I think of them as flying gems and when I see one it always makes me smile so I thought a few tips on how to attract them to your garden would be helpful.

We start with the first step - the laying of eggs. Butterflies have very specific plants that they will lay their eggs on, and this differs from species to species. Here is a list of Butterfly Host Plants for Gauteng if you would like to attract butterflies to your garden.

The eggs hatch into caterpillars so if you want butterflies in your garden do not get out the pesticides to spray as you will be killing your butterflies. Mostly you will not even notice where the caterpillars have been eating but they do denude some plants such as the Kiggelaria africana (Wild Peach) which gets devoured by the Garden Acraea butterfly. Don’t worry about this as the plants are evolved to cope with it and the caterpillar droppings fertilise the tree which bursts into leaf in a matter of days.

Once they pupate a miracle occurs, the caterpillar is reduced to a soup and reconstituted as a beautiful butterfly.

Adult butterflies are cold-blooded and need a warm spot in the sun to warm up and get going in the morning. A small rock is perfect.

The butterflies will not feed on anything except nectar in the adult stage. This they will sip opportunistically from any flower that offers it up. Some examples are Arctotheca, Scabiosa, Felicia, Cotula and for winter Aloes and Vygies.

The provision of a mud puddle will encourage the butterflies to ‘puddle’ that is where they will sip the minerals they need. They will even use animal dung for this purpose.

ON THE FARM

There is so much going on around the farm I am not sure where to begin or even if I have enough space to share all of it with you.

I will start with the dam as I am so excited that the Moorhen have returned. I was so worried I had messed everything up by cleaning the dam and they would never come back. Every day I am so thankful when I see them.

We have seen both Pied and Malachite Kingfisher and happily the Terrapin has also returned. We are also starting to hear the frogs calling. These are signs that the ecosystem is starting to work again.

The Cormorants are fishing in numbers which means the fish population is also healthy. Luckily when we cleaned the dam, we put lots of logs and twigs in the dam to give the fish a place to hide from the Cormorants.

The Black-headed and Grey Heron have been stalking around the edge of the dam as have the Purple Heron and the Green-backed Heron.

The dam is looking beautiful after the rain and Jeff and I thought it would be a good idea to turn the dam and grassland into a bird sanctuary.

So, if you would like to take a walk on weekends you will find Gary there with a bird book, bird lists and binoculars so you can also enjoy the birds (he will also have sanitiser to clean the binoculars before you use them).

Andre added Fish eagle to our bird list – thought he was crazy but sure enough if you look carefully at this picture, you can see his distinctive white head as he flies over Random Harvest. I just wish he would land in one of the trees then I will be happy.

The grassland is looking amazing and Jeff and I see different flowers almost every day. I thought I would just share some of the pictures we have taken with you.

The Kouhoutia amatymbica are quite delicate but there are masses of them. Just after the rain the flowers were open and waving in the breeze. To me it was ‘The Dance of the Kouhoutia’ and we have posted a video, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The three Hypoxis species (African Potato) above have been blooming from the robust H. hemerocallidea, the tall H. rigidula and the tiny H. argentea – one more beautiful than the other. The flowers are open until about 14h00 then close and open again the next morning.

The grassland is so amazing as it doesn’t’ matter how many times you visit there is always a surprise waiting for you. This is the first time Jeff, and I noticed the tiny Polygala amatymbica. Now we are seeing them everywhere. I am sure they have always been there we just haven’t noticed them before.

This year is also the first time we noticed the Acalypha species blooming as well. As you can imagine it has been exciting times for us.

The flowers of the Vernonia are also just starting to open and already we have noticed the butterflies starting to patrol. Once the flowers are open, they are covered with butterflies sipping nectar.

We are regularly seeing the Hares and Mongoose who are very active at the moment.

The birds in the grassland are also a pleasure. The Lapwings are sitting on nests, the Guinea Fowl and Thick Knees are calling also about to start breeding while the Cape Longclaw in flitting around looking for an easy meal.

Things are also bustling and blooming in the garden. The Weavers are endlessly building nests trying to attract a female.

Some of them have also raised raised fledgeling chicks already. These are driving Jeanette and Moscow crazy as they have discovered the trays of grass seed, they have planted and as fast as they plant the Weavers come along and steal them to feed their chicks – a quick easy meal without too much effort.

 

The Cape White-eyes are feasting on the nectar and insects that are attracted to the Schotia brachypetala (Weeping Boerbean) which is in full flower and full of life.

This little Gecko is also hanging around hoping to make a meal of one of the visiting insects.

A good friend planted this orchid for me. It is looking incredible. It is the first thing I see when I walk out of my house – lucky me.

Not only is the wildlife busy but things are hectic on the farm with new calves being born and the artichokes in full bloom. They are keeping my mother and Ivy busy bottling the artichokes as well as making Mulberry jam for us to use in the tea garden.

We look forward to you visiting us where you can relax with the family and enjoy a meal to the haunting calls of the Red-winged Starlings and the cheerful calls of the Paradise Flycatchers. You can be guaranteed to go home in a peaceful and happy frame of mind.

In closing I would like to remind you that we do have a delivery service and that Jonathan, Jeffrey or I are always happy to assist you with ideas of what to plant in your garden.

Happy Summer

Sincerely

Linda

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