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Random Harvest Newsletter - June 2022

Posted On: Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,

Believe it or not it is only a few weeks away from mid-winter, time has just been flying this year.  With all the moisture around and rain falling in May it doesn’t feel like a Highveld winter which is normally so dry.  

The morning skies have been glorious with their multicoloured show as the sun rises.  I am happy I got a new phone with an amazing camera so am having fun photographing it.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS – We are open on 16th June

IN THE NURSERY

Jeffrey, who is past master at planting succulents beautifully, has guided the retail team to build a beautiful succulent display garden. I hope it inspires you and that you enjoy the wonderful colours, shapes and textures of our indigenous succulents.  Succulents add a whole new dimension to ‘colour in the garden’ with their wonderfully coloured leaves.

With all the rain our compost heaps have been getting too wet.  Luckily, I checked and quickly organised a machine to mix the compost as it was soaked.  If we had left it, it may have rotted, but as it is I think it is some of the best compost we have made.

The weather has been so weird this season I decided to prepare covers for the plants and also to wrap the stems of the trees just in case we have a genuinely cold winter.  I have also stocked up with Agrisil which helps prevent too much frost damage and we have started adding it to the water even if it is not yet cold.  I guess prevention is better than cure.

FATHER’S DAY – 19th June 2022

Spoil Dad on Father’s Day with a generous breakfast or, if he loves sweet things, you may want to think about a High Tea or a relaxed picnic with your own private fire to sit around in the garden (you can substitute the iced tea with a cappuccino or milo since it is winter, and we need warming)

Booking for the High Tea and picnic is essential please contact Lindelani on [email protected] Tel. No. 082-553-0598 or 066 587 3143

FOOD PARCELS

This is a picture of the contents of the food parcels we pack.  Could I ask that if you intend visiting us and would like to help that you purchase a few items from the picture when you’re out doing your own shopping. Bring them when you visit us and we will include them in the food parcels.  This would really help as we are getting more and more requests for assistance.

Alternately, if possible, please donate an amount of your own choosing into this account – every little bit helps.
Random Harvest Nursery, FNB 51441129818 Cheque account: code 25 07 41, Reference: Food Parcels.
This will help us continue assisting the people who are genuinely in need in the surrounding informal settlement.

For those who so generously donate on a monthly basis I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for enabling us to make a difference to many people’s lives.

PENSIONERS DAY

I thought I would remind you that Wednesdays are pensioners days where we offer pensioners a 10% discount on plants purchased and 10% discount on the tea garden bill.  There is also a special on Tea and a scone for R50.00 on this day

EVENTS

BIRD WALKS

The Fairy flycatcher is back and this makes the winter bird walks quite exciting.

Date: Sat 11 June @ 07:30 for 08:00 start with André Marx
Date: Sat 9 July @ 07:30 for 08:00 start with Lance Robinson

Cost: R175.00 per person, this includes a breakfast buffet – a great way to start the weekend

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

COFFEE MORNINGS

Date: Wednesday 1st June
Topic: Talking all things trees
Winter is always a great time to plant trees and also to see their beautiful architecture.  We will talk about what to plant, how to plant and the uses of trees.

Date: Wednesday 6th July
Topic: Planning for spring
Start thinking about gardening and planning for spring. Bring your questions along if you need some suggestions on what to plant where.

WHOLESALE

For our wholesale customers, if you are designing new gardens and maybe would perhaps like to offer a more unusual plant palette, we are always prepared to make suggestions on plants you may want to use in order to create more botanical interest.  We will also be able to show you most of them growing in the gardens. This is by appointment - so that we can be sure to allocate uninterrupted time to meet with you.  Call Jonathan on 076-8305242 or Jeffrey 082-927-3669 or Linda 079-872-8975

PRACTICAL DOMESTIC GARDENERS TRAINING

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

This course would also be perfect for anyone who would like to start the fascinating and rewarding hobby of gardening and doesn’t know where to begin.  All the basics are covered and gives a person a good grounding.

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

DATES: Friday 10th June 2022 and Friday 22nd July 2022
TIME:    8h30 to 15h30

The cost of the course includes a set of notes for both the gardener and employer, a certificate, tea/coffee and biscuits on arrival, as well as breakfast and lunch on the day.  Your gardener will be more enthusiastic and confident to help you create your own personal haven.

COTTAGES

A stay in one of our self-catering cottages set in amongst the indigenous trees and with their peaceful, private indigenous gardens will re-energise you.  

These child friendly gardens full of life will fascinate your children.  Taking them on a walk to see the cows being milked, or through the grassland to the dam to do some birdwatching will expose them to nature and farm life and allow them to roam in a secure environment.

 Please rest assured that your comfort is our priority.  All our units are equipped with an energy efficient heater, hot water bottles and extra blankets.  

TEA GARDEN

The tea garden is a perfect place for meetings, special occasions or get togethers.  We offer a peaceful environment, free Wi-Fi, great service, caring staff and homemade delicious, fresh food.

We can offer Fever Tree Boma, The Gazebo or out in the garden under the Acacias.

For more information or to book please call Lindelani on [email protected] Tel. No. 082-553-0598 or 066 587 3143

SHOP

There are a few new interesting products in the shop.

Bambanani Project products - Beaded bracelets made with handmade beads, crocheted scarf and Beanie and Scrunchies and Headband

Comfrey Compound Ointment - I have used this ointment for all sorts of skin issues but one morning I awoke with a black eye – I am not sure what I did or who I was fighting with in the night.  I used this amazing product and in 1 week the black eye was gone.  This is what decided me to stock it in the shop so you can also reap its benefits.

Set of coasters hand painted with beautiful birds.  A perfect present for a bird lover.

Eze products - We are now stocking these products.  It is the only sweetener I have tasted that is like sugar and doesn’t leave that horrible after taste.  I thought you might find them useful too. We have Sweetener, Sugar free Hot chocolate, Soya milk and Collagen

DELIVERY SERVICE AND TELEPHONIC ORDERS

Gardening, whether you are a landscaper or an avid gardener, can sometimes present logistical challenges. We love to see your garden plans and projects come together, and by providing a delivery service we can help this happen.  If you are unable to visit, we can discuss your needs telephonically and will deliver to your doorstep.  Please contact Jonathan for assistance with this, on 076-830-5242, alternatively email him on [email protected]

GARDENING TIP

Teach your children to garden.

Gardening is a fun, rewarding and bonding family activity.  One of the blessings in my life is the time I spent with my mother and grandmothers in the garden learning to garden and grow vegetables.  Who thought that what they taught me would one day become my business?

Involve the children in growing vegetables.  This will encourage them to eat them and if they are organically grown will have great health benefits. They will learn what are weeds and what are useful plants.  Teach them about compost the importance of healthy soils, the micro life that is so important to our and the planets health.  

Plant indigenous plants and they will learn about the insects and birds that visit the garden.  It will also teach them to be observant and in this way their whole life will be more fulfilling as they will learn to recognise the natural world and all the beauty around them.

As you can see from the picture, they are never too young to start gardening and learning to treasure the wildlife around us.

Our latest children’s newsletter (aimed at senior primary level) is full of information on setting up a food garden and growing one’s own food. It is a wonderful teaching resource as well. Your child can subscribe to receive the newsletter here. Subscribe now to receive the June edition, due out in the next day or so.

PLANTS LOOKING GOOD

Barleria obtusa – Bush Violet
This hardy, small herbaceous shrub bears masses of violet flowers in autumn and early winter although it has some flowers throughout the year. 

It is a wonderful insect and butterfly plant.  I couldn’t resist sharing this picture of the bee with his bottom popping out of the plant. Prune back hard after flowering to keep in shape and encourage flowers. Plant in sun or semi shade.

Croton gratissimus - Lavender Fever Berry
This beautifully tree can be used in smaller gardens although not tiny gardens.  The wonderful fragrant leaves have red-spotted, silvery undersides that glint in the sun as the leaves more in the breeze.  There are always a few bright orange leaves dotted in the crown, they then turn bright yellow in autumn.  The flower buds look like a string of beads before they open into masses of tiny star-shaped flowers that pollinators love, from July to September.   The seedpods pop to disperse the seeds.  An unusual and beautiful tree.

Bulbine natalensis ‘Mini’ - Broad-leaved Bulbine
This mini form of Bulbine natalensis is exceptionally floriferous and bears spikes of densely packed star-shaped flowers all year round.  The fleshy leaves look like mini-Aloes, although they are quite soft.  They attract insects to the garden.  As it grows in sun or shade it is perfect for planting on the South side of a house or wall, a difficult place to garden as it is fully shaded for part of the year. They make a pretty container plant and are ideal as a rockery, container, edging or bedding plant in well-drained soil.

Acokanthera oppositifolia - Bushman's Poison.  This is one of our most beautiful local plants.  It is poisonous but many of our favourite garden plants are also poisonous, and this shouldn’t put you off.  It is a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, medium to large upright, woody, shrub with brown, deeply fissured bark on the old wood. The attractive, hard, dark-green, purple or red-tinged leaves have a sharply pointed tip. Clusters of white to pink-tinged, sweetly scented flowers are borne from June to October, followed by large plum-coloured berry-like fruits which are relished by birds. Plant this beautiful shrub in compost-rich soil, in sun, semi-shade or shade, but it does better with some shade.

Pelargonium abrotanifolium - Southernwood-leaved Pelargonium (E)
This extremely hardy little shrublet has deeply incised, grey feathery foliage that is both beautiful and delightfully scented.  The flowers, which are borne throughout the year, vary in colour from shades of white or pink to mauve with purple or purplish-red streaks.  This shrublet is very long lived and water wise.  Nip the tips to encourage it to branch out.  This beautiful, tough little plant requires little attention and will give years of pleasure.   Plant in well-drained soil in sun or semi shade.

Podocarpus elongatus - Breede River Yellowwood
Surprisingly for a Yellowwood, this is a small to medium sized tree so is suitable for smaller gardens.  It is very hardy but slow growing.  It has lovely narrow, blue-green leaves and attractive bark that peels.  The female cones develop into fleshy, bright red, edible fruits with 1 or 2 seeds that mature rapidly.  Male and female cones are on separate trees.  This beautiful tree makes an excellent container plant.  Plant in shade, semi-shade, or sun in well-drained soil with plenty of compost.  Mulch well around the tree once planted.  

PLANTS ON SPECIAL - All trees less 10%

As it is a great time of year to plant trees, I decided to continue with this special.  All trees are still less 10% for the month of June.

Bauhinia galpinii - Pride-of-de-Kaap
An iconic South African plant.  It is a big rambling shrub that can be trained as a climber.  The bi-lobed leaves look like butterfly wings.  It bears masses of beautiful, terracotta to red-coloured flowers from summer to late autumn.  The Brown Playboy and the Orange Barred Playboy butterflies are dependent on the seeds for their larvae to feed on whilst other species feed on the leaves.  It also makes a lovely container plant and can be pruned to keep it smaller and tidier. Does well on a slope or cascading over a wall in either sun or semi-shade.  It thrives in poor soils.

Kniphofia uvaria - Common Marsh Poker
Hardy, evergreen, herbaceous perennial found in marshes, on streambanks and in mountain grassland.  The long, strap-like leaves are folded in a clump and are quite hard.  The beautiful flower spikes are borne on long stems in Dec. and Jan.  The buds are orange, then open in succession into yellow flowers. These attract pollinating insects and butterflies as well as Sunbirds to the garden.  Plant in a water garden or amongst grasses for the natural look.  Grows best in full sun with plenty of water.

Asparagus falcatus - Large Forest Asparagus
This thorny but lush climbing asparagus is perfect for planting under trees and cascading over walls.  It has dark green, sickle-shaped leaves and hooked thorns on pale grey stems.  The small, sweetly scented, white flowers are carried in a long thin spray and are borne from Sept. to Dec.  These are followed by red berries in winter.   The flower nectar attracts Sunbirds and tiny insects to the garden, and the berries attract fruit-eating birds.  Plant in semi-shade or shade. Useful foliage plant for flower arrangements.

Hypoestes aristata ‘Little Pink’ - Pink Ribbon Bush
This is one of my favourite plants.  It is quite wild but at this time of year it is full of pinky-mauve two-lipped flowers until spring and the number of butterflies and insects that visit it is nothing short of amazing.  It has grey-green leaves with lighter veins which give it a variegated look.  Prune back severely after flowering to keep in shape and promote mass flowering next winter.  It grows well in sun or semi-shade.

ON THE FARM

I have never seen Jeffrey as excited as when he managed to get this picture of the Fish Eagle.  Up to now we had only seen him flying over and calling.  The crows were not happy with him.  It was an exciting moment.

The Sunbirds are getting excited with the Wild Dagga starting to bloom.

They are also feasting on the flowers of the Honey Bell Bush (Freylinia lanceolata).  The honey scented flowers seem irresistible to the Sunbirds.  

They are also patrolling the Aloes which are starting to bloom – looking forward to lots of energy giving nectar.  

The Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant) are also coming into flower in amongst the Aloes.  As you can see a solitary bee is tucking into the nectar.   It is a time of plenty for the solitary bees as well as the Honeybees.

Clem has placed new beehives in between these plants to ensure a constant supply of pollen and nectar for bees and we’ll then be able to harvest a bumper crop of honey.

The new beehives are much safer as they are up on a stand and also make it easy for the bees to get in and out of the hive.

Many of the trees have lost their leaves, making it much easier to see the birds.  Jeff managed to get this lovely picture of a Yellow Canary.  He also managed to photograph female Cardinal Woodpecker.  I was pleased as they are notoriously hard to photograph.

It is so wonderful having the Hamerkop living in the garden.  They had built 2 nests in the garden.  One day for some unknown reason they decided to move.

They stripped the 2 nests and went and rebuilt a new nest in another tree using the same nesting material.  We are still so lucky to see them visiting the water plant beds and the dam.   I would hate it if they decided to move on so was relieved to see the new nest.

We were so excited to see the Namaqua Dove down at the dam.  We very seldom see this bird here, so it was a wonderful moment to sit and watch him.

As the water has receded from the edge of the dam it has exposed the mud flats and much to our delight the Three-banded Plover is back probing the mud for delicious morsels.

The Purple Heron has been stalking the dam as well.  With that lethal beak of his he is having a lot of success fishing for a meal.

From all the rain the grass around the dam is still green and the whole grassland is still amazingly green for this time of year.  

Normally it is very brown and by July is almost falling apart – this is when we cut and burn.  This year it is going to be difficult to cut and burn the grass if it is still looking good.  But, we do have to think about the health of the grassland and it is necessary to cut and rake the grasses to ensure good growth the next season.

Indigenous plants are amazingly floriferous at this time of year and are offering up nectar for the butterflies just when they need it most.  It is a joy to watch them flitting from flower to flower.

The Scabiosa flowers are always abuzz with butterflies, like this African Monarch and lots of other insects.

The Flowers of the bright blue Anchusa may be small but they offer a lot of nectar for butterflies and insects.  This Garden Inspector is always seen around them sipping the nectar.  It is wonderful to see this big butterfly gracefully perched on the tiny flower.

There have been some wonderful moments in nature to be seen on the farm.  This white Tree Fuchsia is in bloom and the number of birds, bees and other insects that visit the flowers provide fleeting moments of feeling at one with nature.

This Giant Carrion Plant is part of the succulent display in the nursery and the skink has made himself a home in amongst the rocks.  Not only does he now have a home but is hunting flies that visit the flower to pollinate it for a handy meal on his doorstep.

There are always untruths about indigenous plants floating around, such as they don’t have colourful flowers and bright autumn colours.

This picture of Kirkia wilmsii (Mountain Seringa) with its brilliant display of autumn leaves should help dispel at least one of the myths about autumn colours.

We were so happy to assist one of our landscapers, Gill Cooper, with her commitment to training her staff about the environment and to saving soil.  Jeff took her staff on a bird walk and transformed them into seeing the wonders of nature.  We also did nursery training for them.  I am sure with this input we have got a few more advocates for the planet.

We hosted the grade 1’s from Ridge school.  They absolutely loved digging around in the compost.  Some of the children had never seen a live cow.  I think the visit to the cows was one of the highlights.  They then each planted a succulent in a pot.  These they nurtured on their laps in the bus all the way home.  Hopefully they will all begin to take an interest in the environment and plants.

The children who visit the nursery have been fascinated by the succulent display and spend ages sitting on the rock bench in the display and watching the life around them.  Hopefully this spurs interest in gardening for their futures – a welcome diversion from all the technology around them.

Pay us a visit and be inspired.

Keep warm

Sincerely

Linda

Cell 079-872-8975
email [email protected]

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