Silverhill Seeds -- South African Seed Specialists

  October 2018

Dear Plant Lover

It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform our customers and the plant world of Rod and Rachel’s passing.

Rod and Rachel were on a collecting trip in Northern Kwazulu Natal where they were in the “wrong place at the wrong time” and were brutally murdered. The delay in letting the world know is that it was an international incident involving worldwide Police forces.

We hope Rod and Rachel are in a gentler place now – perhaps at the top of a mountain gazing down over unfolding hills and valleys, tranquil. Work done, dreams and adventures fulfilled. The world a richer place for their time spent here.

We are really going to miss their knowledge, expertise and the laughter we shared in our very close work environment.

Rod and Rachel left Silverhill Seeds to me and I would like to introduce myself. Some of you may have already dealt with me. My name is Ondine and I am a qualified Horticulturist and have worked for Rod and Rachel for 20 + years. I am married with 2 children (19 and 17) and as a family we are very involved with Scouts and do lots of camping and hiking.

I have known Rod and Rachel all my life and was always a bit scared of Rod as a teenager ?. When I was growing up my family were always in the mountains and this is where my folks met Rod and were later re-introduced to Rachel when she married Rod. My mother knew Rachel as a young girl and used to “babysit” her when she came to our family farm with her parents.

I started working for Rachel in 1998 in the seed room, counting seeds and was also given the job of packaging up seed ready for postage (as Frances did not like working with the tape dispenser). After a year or two I moved between the seed room and the office to fill in when it was a bit chaotic. I then moved into the office full time in 2012 and have been running the office ever since, while Rod and Rachel were off on their long seed collecting trips. I have also been on seed collecting outings with Rod, particularly when Rachel was otherwise occupied with office chores that only she could do.

Moving forward, the business will continue running as it always has. Anthony Hitchcock, a long-time friend of Rod and Rachel, will be helping with the collecting of seed. Some of the hard-to-find seed might take me a while longer to get my hands on, as I learn the locations and am able to go out and find them. It has taken Rod and Rachel over 25-years to gain the knowledge they had to make Silverhill Seeds into what it is today and I hope that you will all be patient with me while I learn and move along this same learning curve.

The office staff is just about the same – Cherrie is still in the Seedroom (21-years on and off and more on than off the past 6-years), Jenny has joined her there nearly 18-months ago. Darkie and Euphonia clean seeds for us and have worked for 25 and 4–years respectively. In the office I have 2 new people to help me – Kirstin (my sister) who has worked here in various capacities since she was 15 and Pat, who although new to Silverhill Seeds has worked in the Sureyor General’s office for many years. I will now have to concentrate more on collecting/sourcing seeds and the overall running of the business, but I will still have a very active part in all parts of the business.

I would like to thank you in advance for your continued support and I hope that I will be able to continually grow and improve this business in such a way that would make Rod and Rachel proud.


Go to
Click on “Online catalogue”
Choose UK, SA or Rest of World and click on “Catalogue”
This takes you to the first page of the catalogue.
Now you can:

1. Search by plant name. Click on “Name” on the right hand side of the page, write the name in the block and click on “Submit search”. You will get a list of all the plants that correspond to the name you entered.

2. Search by category. Click on “Category” on the right hand side of the page, click on the blue down pointing arrow next to the empty block and choose the category you want. Click on “Submit search” and you will get a list of all the species in the category you selected.

3. Search by Family. Click on “family” on the right hand side of the page, click on the blue down pointing arrow next to the empty block and choose the family that you want. Click on “Submit search” and you will get a list of all the species in that family.

4. Search on description. Click on “description” on the right hand side of the page, in the empty block type in the words that you want to search on, for example “Sow Sp”, “fragrant fl”, “Zone 8”, “medicinal” , and then if you only want Annuals, or Bulbous Plants, choose a category from the next block down. Click on “Submit Search” and you will get a list of Bulbous plants with red flowers (for example).

5. List the whole catalogue sorted alphabetically by clicking on “Entire catalogue A-Z;, or the whole catalogue listed in categories by clicking on “Entire catalogue in categories”. You can order directly from these 2 catalogues.

6. Download the whole catalogue in a PDF file which you can store on your computer. Click on “Download PDF catalogue in categories” or “Download PDF catalogue A-Z”.

7. Print the catalogue so that you have a hard copy which you can read in your garden or nursery or in the bath! Click on ”Print Entire catalogue in categories” or “Print Entire catalogue A-Z”

At the top of each page is a button called “New Species”. When we update the catalogue, all new species go into this section and they remain there for 2 weeks. This means that if you want to stay up to date with new additions to the catalogue, visit this section every 2 weeks or so.

Books – Click on “Books” on the right hand side of the page at the top, and you will get a list of all the books that we have in stock. As above, you can get a complete list of all the books, or you can get a list of the books divided into Categories.

Photographs – if you click on a photo next to a plant name, you will get a larger photo on the screen. To close it, click on “Close”.

To order seeds or books:

Once you have decided which seeds and books you want, click on the block next to “buy”. Move up and down the page clicking on the species or books that you want, and at the end of each page, click on “Update Cart”. You can also click on “Next 50 species” at the bottom of the page, and you will be asked if you want to update your shopping cart. Click on “OK”. When you have finished ordering, click on “Seed/Book basket” at the top of the page, and you can review your order. If you want to change the number of packets of a species, change the number in the column called Qty and click on “Confirm”. The shopping basket will then change the total accordingly. If you want to discard a species from the basket, click on “Remove” and the total cost will decrease accordingly.

Books and seeds can be ordered together in one order. When you have finished ordering, fill in your name, address and e mail address, decide how you would like to pay, and press the “Submit” button. If you would like a particular colour form of a species, or you would like locality information for example, let us know in the “Special instructions” block.

Please do not pay until we have contacted you with the total amount owing. Sometimes a species is out of stock or the website calculates the postage incorrectly, and it is better to wait until we have actually done the order before paying.


Silverhill Seeds and Books, Suite 18, Bergvliet, 7864 Cape Town,  South Africa
Telephone: +27 21 705 4226 / Fax: +27 86 591 3472