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Dear Indigenous Enthusiast
I hope you had a great Christmas and if you went on holiday you are relaxed and strong. My staff and I wish you all nothing but the best for 2014. I for one am looking forward to this year full of optimism and anticipation.
I would like to thank you for your support in 2013 and hope we can keep things interesting enough so that you continue to support us this year. After all what are we without our treasured customers?
I ended last year with a visit to my friends in Bloemfontein at their lovely guest house 'Liedjiesbos'. They have got the most beautiful indigenous garden which they have created in the harsh and dry conditions of Bloemfontein.
It has to be one of my favourite indigenous gardens - full of flowers and life. As you will see from the picture they are really artistic and have created a true 'indigenous haven'.
In The Nursery
We are busy with 2 displays that should be ready by this Saturday. The first is:
Bulb and Grass Display
We have put together a lovely display of bulbs and grasses growing together - which they mostly do in nature. There will also be some unusual species for sale such as Lapeirousia sandersonii (Autumn Painted Petals), Haemanthus deformis which is nearly extinct in the wild as it is an important muthi plant.
The sad thing is that they were once plentiful in our grasslands but through development are now really scarce.
I love the fibreglass and cement creatures we have in the nursery so have decided for a bit of fun to do a display of them amongst grasses and rocks. There is a backdrop of the painted bird pictures on slate. I think it is fun and interesting.
The cottage garden we planted up is coming into its own and looking colourful and cheerful. I think it is an inspiration for planting a garden in quite small spaces. The number of butterflies and insects in the garden is really rewarding. It just goes to show you can create habitat for wildlife and have a beautiful garden as well. A win…win situation.
I have written a pamphlet with a planting plan of what we have done which you can collect when you walk through the garden. This should help make choosing plants for your garden a lot easier.
We are busy developing a tree trail here at Random Harvest. Even though it will eventually be self-guided I thought it would be great to start it off by doing a series of tree walks with myself and Jeffrey talking about what we find so interesting about the trees and you having a chance to see some unusual trees and ask us questions.
Part of the trail is a booklet on the trees along the trail. I will start this off with a booklet on the trees we will visit on the guided walks. This will be given to each person who joins us on these walks.
I thought it would take about one a half hours depending on the number of questions. Remember if you are not too mobile I have the golf cart which we can use and there are also 2 wheelchairs available which my staff will only be too happy to help with.
Date: 8th February, 2014
Time: 8.30 for 9.00 (I thought to do it early to avoid the heat of the day.)
We will start with tea and coffee and biscuits at 8.30 and then start the walk at 9.00am
Cost: R 50.00 per person and booking is essential. Please call David to book on 082-553-0598
Talk by Bruce Stead author of the enormously successful book 'Creative Indigenous Garden Design'
Bruce has kindly agreed to do a talk for us. He is a lecturer on ecological gardening at Lifestyle College and has for many years specialised on creating natural indigenous gardens.
He will share with us how to look at a natural landscape and translate it into a beautiful well designed garden that will both be gorgeous to look at and the same time create habitat and attract wildlife to the garden in a truly natural way.
Date: 22nd February, 2014
Cost: R 50.00 per person including tea and coffee and scones. Booking is essential. Please call David to book on 082-553-0598
On The Farm
The 'Garden Safari' for children was enormously successful - the children had fun and the parents and grandparents had a relaxing time sitting under the trees. I hope we have inspired some future naturalists as the children were absolutely fascinated at the stories and activities Gift shared with them.
I must say William and Jeffrey are really useless pollinators as there is not one seed on the Erythrina latissima (Broad Leaved Coral Tree) that they hand pollinated. What a disappointment.
But on the cheerful side the Kigelia Africana (Sausage Tree) has two beautiful big pods.
This is amazing as they are bat pollinated and the bat does not occur here. I would love to find out what actually pollinated them.
The Markhamia zanzibarica (Bellbean) bloomed in the packets with these beautiful maroon flowers.
You can certainly see they are a relative of the Sausage tree by the gorgeous flowers they both bear.
Look at these cheeky Red bishops doing their shopping on the seed blocks on the bird food stand.
I had to move the blocks into the shop as I am sure my customers would not like to buy seed blocks that were already half eaten. As if they didn't have enough food in the birds Christmas tree.
When we had all that rain Jeffrey found a poor saturated little bat.
Luckily I have Meshack who is an absolute animal lover and he picked up the bat, dried him off and put him back into the bat box.
It is such a great feeling to help a creature like this. It is even more exciting that my bat box is full of bats.
Talking about creatures, here Meshack is with this huge bullfrog that was burying himself in my seed trays.
We had to rescue the seeds so we took the bullfrog and put him down by the dam in the hopes he would breed and we could have lots of little bullfrogs on Random Harvest.
The bullfrog habitat I built seems to be working well although I am not sure the bullfrogs are breeding there.
The wetland we constructed is full of tadpoles that look suspiciously like bullfrog tadpoles.
The only problem is that I cannot find the male bullfrog who should be protecting them.
Hopefully we see the tadpoles emerging and then will be sure of our identification.
The bullfrogs have been quite active and while we were busy weeding the grassland my staff found this huge bullfrog perfectly in habitat.
We have been weeding the grassland for the past 4 years removing the Verbena species,
Pompom weed and another horrible grey weed. It seems to be working as we have gone from all 50 of my staff weeding for 3 weeks in the rainy season down to 3 days to remove the weeds.
Hopefully in a few years we will have won the battle.
I think the poor Black Collared Barbets will not be able to use the hole they excavated this year in the Acacia karroo stump for too many years to come as the fungi are really active as you can see from the Fungal fruiting heads popping out of the stem. Aren't they beautiful?
All the babies on Random Harvest are growing up.
It is just great to see the baby plovers growing up and my war against the crows seems to be paying off as for the past few years they take most of the baby plovers when they are tiny.
Each of my mom's cow paddocks has 2 sets of parents with babies.
Well done to Mongezi who walks around chasing the crows who seem to be learning to avoid Random Harvest.
When you visit us you will see a tree planted in the fork of the Tipuana along the road and probably think, like most of our customers, that I have really lost it this time.
What the tree is, is a Ficus burkei (was F. thonningii) (Common Wild Fig).
We had to use a TLB to lift the tree into the fork and my staff clambering around trying to pull it into the fork properly - what a mission.
But seeing that I have been accused of being a tree Nazi I am hoping that the fig sends it roots down to the ground and strangles the Tipuana.
Wouldn't it be great to eventually have a beautiful big fig along the driveway?
Other things we are busy with is planting up a thorny barrier around the perimeter of the farm in the hopes of impaling the criminal and creating habitat for the birds and other wildlife. Not that we have had any problems but rather be safe than sorry.
One of my landscape customers Chantel from Natural Reflections created this beautiful indigenous garden at Fig Tree Office Park with Jeffrey's help.
It has turned out absolutely beautiful, in particular the rocky area where the Ficus ingens that gave the office park its name is growing. I am so proud of what Jeff did with Chantel.
Finally I had to share this lovely picture of a Boubou visiting our feeding area.
I wish you lots of beautiful flowers, birds, insects and lots of peace in your life in 2014.
email [email protected]za
For directions please go to our website www.rhn.co.za : or call 082-553-0598
Hours of business 8:00 to 17:00 Monday to Sundays
Cottages 072-562-3396 : Nursery 082-553-0598
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