Newsletter 5: August 2021

Newsletter August 2021

A big HELLO to our longstanding and new customers!

June/July has seen some upheaval and new beginnings.

With the “New Normal” in full swing we decided it would make sense for us to move home and business – with the thought of moving Silverhill into our home.

After one visit to the property, which had been on the market for 5 months, it just “felt right”. We signed the papers in March and moved in June.  After a month to settle our 5 cats, 3 dogs, 7 Koi and 4 humans, we moved the business on the 1st of July.

With much shuffling of shelves and changing of minds – Kirstin decided we should move a bookshelf after it was packed and sorted – we got ourselves settled and it is a lovely space! In the evening, while I am on the computer and for as long as I am at my desk, I have the cats on my lap and the dogs next to me keeping me company.

Silverhill is having to fit into a smaller office but we’re getting used to working closer together. We were very spoilt in our “mini-factory” with lots of space.   All in one office space, we have a partitioned and airconditioned cold-room for our precious seeds (with a most wonderful door that an incredibly talented Pat painted for us (see image below), seed packers, seed cleaners and admin ladies in the rest of the space.

The books…have been a little bit of a headache.  I can see Francis, who worked at Silverhill for many years and a qualified librarian, rolling her eyes VERY badly (she used to sing the alphabet song to me regularly, as my alphabet was not always “on point”). We’ve arranged them now by title and have a printed booklist by author, so that the website catalogue and their position on the shelves are in sync. If you are in the area, please do pop in and have a look.


To all our customers…. THANK YOU for your understanding and patience!

In some cases, it has taken 3 months of calls to couriers, check-ins with post office employees and countless emails to customs and department officials to follow up on and track orders to ensure that they get to you – patiently waiting for your seeds and your fingers, itching to plant!


While it is still an ever-evolving work in progress, we are enormously proud of our website! We will soon start getting down to adding some germinating hints as well as more pictures.  Thank you again for being so patient and in most cases, giving us valuable feedback so that we can improve it.

Silverhill Seeds is a family business with you, our customers, pivotal members of our family! To that end, we have strived to maintain a “friendly feel/tone” both at our physical office and on the website. We urge you to feel free to pop in or drop us an email anytime you need seed related support – or even just to chat or send us pictures of how your seeds are doing. We will always do our best to help you!  Julia has grown many of the Fynbos species for restoration projects all over the City of Cape Town and has some amazing hints up her sleeve.



Rod and Rachel’s Field Guide to the Galdioli of South Africa is at the printer and will be available at the end of August! Go onto our website and pre-order your copy.

Fiona Ross, who wrote the book using Rod and Rachel’s notes and many photographs, did the most incredible job.  It really is a fantastic publication! How she chose a few pictures from the many they took; I still cannot comprehend.  The price will be in the region of R420/USD29/£21 for the book (excluding P&P or VAT for South Africans).

The website has been updated: Find out more about the Saunders Field Guide to Gladiolus here:

A coveted record of the life’s work of a couple who contributed to botany and horticulture in South Africa; it will be treasured by anyone with an interest in these magnificent flowers.

Saunders’ Field Guide to Gladioli of South Africa is the first of its kind to offer a complete photographic record of the 166 species that occur in the region. Posthumously completed, this book is the culmination of the Saunders’ long search to find and photograph every known species of Gladiolus in South Africa.

Staff Matters

Our Staff compliment has not changed since the last Newsletter.

Kirstin has finished 8 months of building. What a huge relief!  Pat has just had a hip replacement (COVID allowing).  Jenny is still frantically gardening and planting.  Julia is juggling her children’s schooling, which is on today and not tomorrow, 2 weeks holiday…no 3 weeks holiday – due to COVID.  Dorothy and Regina are still our super seed sorters and cleaners!  Thomas had to use his flight to Germany, so has gone to visit family and friends. After a 2-week quarantine period he is eventually out and about.

Data Protection

From 1 July 2021, the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) came into effect in South Africa. The law is designed to protect how your data is used, stored, and processed. With the launch of our new website, Silverhill is striving to become more current, innovative, and connected but we take your privacy and personal information very seriously.

To this end and in compliance with the requirements of the above Act, if you would like to keep receiving our emails and newsletters via Mailchimp, then you do not need to take any action at all. If you would like to stop receiving our newsletters, emails etc. via Mailchimp, please unsubscribe at the bottom of the Mailchimp email.  We will keep you posted as to the development of our new Privacy Policy.


It will soon be SPRING in the southern hemisphere and AUTUMN in the northern hemisphere – a short window (3 months) but both PEAK sowing seasons on the horticultural calendar. Why? Spring and Autumn offer unique growing conditions.  Some seeds need a stark temperature change over a 24-hour period (between 10 – 15°C), along with the following dry/hot and cold/wet to germinate and establish.