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Dear Indigenous Enthusiast,
I am so pleased we are past mid-winter and the days are getting ever so gradually longer. I notice this when I come to the office early in the mornings. Now it just needs to warm up a bit and I will be a happy camper.
In the Nursery
The bird walk was a great success.
I thought we may not have as many people because of the cold but there are many hardy souls out there.
I had a roaring fire going and hot coffee and rusks to help everyone on their way.
They had a really rewarding morning and saw the Fairy Flycatcher, Puffback and Groundscraper Thrush.
It was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Craft Kits for Busy Fingers by I Touch Nature – now in stock
Gillian and Heather have put together some great crafts that are nature-orientated.
They incorporate natural items such as seed pods, seeds and feathers in all of the kits, and where possible they also include recycled items.
They are good for building fine motor co-ordination and planning skills.
These kits make wonderful holiday activities, as well as birthday, Christmas or just for fun gifts.
Childrens holiday program
Our children’s holiday programmes really seem to be popular, and it is always rewarding to see how much the children learn about nature, while having a great time outdoors. Below are the detail s for the upcoming June/July school holidays:
Succulents and Sunbirds
We are offering a program teaching children about the succulents, their adaptations to the environment and how the nectar of Aloe flowers in particular provide a valuable food supply for sunbirds in the cold winter months. They will plant a tiny succulent garden, which they will then take home with them.
The program will run from Wednesday to Sunday of each week from Saturday, 28th June to Sunday, 20 July 2014.
TIME: 10h00 each Wednesday to Sunday
Plants that are looking particulary lovely at the moment
Albuca nelsonii (Candelabrum Lily) This bee is looking hopefully into the flower of the beautiful robust Candelabrum Lily.
This bulb grows in sun or deep shade under trees. It is evergreen and very drought tolerant.
A lovely addition to those difficult dry shady areas.
The local Aloe marlothii (Mountain Aloe) are looking beautiful at the moment and have hundreds of visitors daily.
The sunbirds and bees are particularly happy but so are the many other tiny insects that come to feast on their bounty of nectar.
As usual the Euryops pectinatus (Golden Daisy Bush) are looking so cheerful amongst the other chilly looking plants.
The butterflies are always flitting around the flowers sipping away at the nectar. Remember to remove the dead flowers for an extended flowering season.
The delicious scent of the flowers of Buddleja auriculata (Weeping Sage) is starting to waft through the garden with the onset of the flowering season.
This beautiful shrub will delight you for many weeks to come.
If you have a spot for another shrub why not plant the Sagewood (Buddleja salviifolia) which even though it may be a bit scruffy has beautiful sprays of flowers with a lovely scent to follow on when the Weeping Sage is finished flowering.
The Tree fuchsias (Halleria lucida) are in full flower and are offering up nectar to the abundant wildlife buzzing around the trees.
We have both the yellow and orange variety.
Remember the smaller the leaf the hardier the tree and this is normally the orange one.
There is new stock of these great little creatures – not only bush babies but a whole selection for your garden. Isn’t he cute nestling amongst the flowers in the nursery?
Herbs in wire baskets
We have put herbs into the lovely wire pot holders made by Clopas. These are ideal for the windowsill in your kitchen where you can plant the herb of your choice. You can’t get fresher herbs for your cooking.
Why plant an indigenous garden
I found something I had written a while ago about indigenous gardeners. I thought I would share this particular flight of fancy with you:
“Search your soul and find out if it feels right to exclude all other living creature from the space we occupy and deny them the wherewithal to exist alongside of us. If the answer is that it feels wrong you are well on the way to becoming an indigenous gardener.
We are blessed with a vast array of beautiful indigenous plants in South Africa and these are the basis of creating habitat in our gardens.
Indigenous gardens are not only about planting beautiful plants but planting them in such a manner as to create habitat for the many creatures that rely on indigenous gardens for their existence in amongst the urban sprawl with its attendant destruction of their habitat.
Have you ever thought about what happens to all the creatures that lived in what was a natural area yesterday and today is nothing but bare earth where the bulldozers have gone through? Those that survive will migrate to one of the islands created by indigenous gardens.
The joy of creating an indigenous garden is learning all the new plants and their wondrous interactions with insects and other creatures. Another is observing nature’s perfection of design in how certain plants are specifically designed for certain specific creatures.
How there is nothing for nothing and how rewards are offered by plants to insects and birds to ensure pollination. The mechanisms used by plants to ensure cross pollination. How stationary plants have evolved to ensure their seeds are dispersed. The list goes on and on.
Not only are indigenous gardens for wildlife but they enhance your own life. The deliberate planting of habitat invites many living things to your garden and they bring with them the good feeling of sharing and being tuned into nature.
There is no greater reward than having this invitation accepted. Think of being woken by the dawn chorus in your garden rather than the shrill ringing of the alarm clock. Rather hear the sound of water than the cacophony of modern life.
I hope to be able to entice you to garden for wildlife by creating habitat in your garden that is a perfect environment for yourself and the creatures that live alongside you – the birds that visit and the butterflies that are resident in your garden rather that fleeting glimpses as they pass through.
Share the wonders of nature with your children by observing the life cycles of frogs and butterflies.
Feel the peace of nature seep into your soul in your own backyard and know that with all the environmental problems that face us, in your small way, you are doing your bit to right some of the wrongs we do.”
On the farm
This beautiful White Barred Emperor Butterfly decided to pay us a visit. He is completely out of his area which is KwaZulu Natal and Limpopo.
I guess he piggy backed to Gauteng on a plant as an egg and completed his life cycle here.
I hope he decides Random Harvest is good enough for his new home and stays resident with us.
I loved this little Green Vegetable bug who was scrambling around in the mulch.
They hibernate in compost, so I think he was looking for the ideal spot for a long snooze.
They do damage plants and vegetables but I though he was cute and part of the cycle of life.
Did you take the time out to watch the Honey Moon. The moon was so beautiful both day and night. Of course it sent me, once again, on a flight of fancy of how great it would be to travel through the universe on the Starship Enterprise. What tells you I am a Star Trek Fan?
The birds have been amazing. I thought I saw a rare and unusual bird and quickly sent this picture to Andre Marx to help with Identification.
Think how disappointed I was when I found out they were Java Sparrows that had escaped from captivity.
I only hope they don’t become a pest like Indian Mynahs but Andre thinks they have a tough time surviving and shouldn’t pose a threat.
I am excited that the Grey Hornbills are getting used to us and becoming quite cheeky when they visit the feeding table. It is always exciting to see them in front of the office.
I was surprised to see this White Bellied Sunbird feeding on the nectar of Kalanchoe sexangularis (Kalkoentjie). Having never taken the time to check,
I would never have thought they would have enough nectar to provide a meal for a sunbird.
Just goes to show never assume too much when dealing with indigenous plants which are always full of surprises.
Jeffrey is in the dog box with me – he saw a Brown Hooded Kingfisher and took really bad pictures so I am not able to share them with you. Not that he stays in the dog box for long.
We are so excited here at Random Harvest as we have just bought our first truck. It is only a second hand Isuzu but we are all chuffed to bits.
I would also like to share with you that we have been supporting Ikusasa which is a shelter for street children in Krugersdorp.
We are paying the transport for the children to get to school as they were having to leave early in the mornings to walk there and it is cold and dark and I think dangerous.
We also brought them to the farm for an outing. They had lunch and took a walk with Jeffrey and Gift. Now they all want to do environmental studies.
I must say if you had of seen my staffs’ faces with these children I can tell you they did a lot more for us than we could ever do for them. I have never had so many hugs and was really touched by the children.
Keep warm and keep observing all the interesting natural cycles going on around you.
email [email protected]
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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