About Gerald Shepherd

Gerald Shepherd is a painter, graphic artist, sculptor, digital/multimedia artist, photographer, writer, curator and arts administrator. He has also been involved with science art, performance art, conceptual art, installations and environments (as well as peripheral creative pursuits such as garden design).

The Small Greenhouse In Early July (Total Chaos!)

The small greenhouse which this year has been used for conventional plants rather than succulents.

The small greenhouse which this year has been used for conventional plants rather than succulents.

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Hello Again!

Hello again!  Sorry for the very protracted break but pressure of work meant the garden has been neglected for an exceptionally long time.  Nor have I done any wildlife conservation work since 2012.  Consequently this blog has been rather put on the back burner of late but I do now intend  to make amends.

I am slowly beginning to get on top of all the greenhouse potting, partly be reducing the number of plants – more of this anon – but the garden itself has gone extremely wild!  The photographs illustrate what was originally intended to be a wild garden but I which I had planned to turn into an area for fruit; despite there being two gooseberries hidden among the alkanet I think the wild garden concept has probably won!

Wild garden turned into fruit garden turned into wild garden!

Wild garden turned into fruit garden turned into wild garden!

The wild garden with pond

The wild garden with pond

The Small Lean-to

I am still not making a good enough effort of writing posts for this blog – apologies but I hope things will get better once I get into it again.  Here are some photographs of the little lean-to taken in June and August.  Like the temporary house this greenhouse is now devoted to conventional pot plants although I have potted some of my largest and long neglected Dioscoreas and placed them along the back wall.

My remaining three greenhouses are devoted to succulents with space on the lower stagings and ground for bulbs.  The top house is devoted to Crassulacea with Haworthias and Gasterias under the staging; the large house to cactus and miscellaneous succulent families including the Agaves and Bromeliads and the smallest one to the Mesemb family.  More about all of these in due course.

The small lean-to in June

The small lean-to in June

The small lean-to in June

The small lean-to in June

The small lean-to in August.  Everything has got a bit wild!

The small lean-to in August. Everything has got a bit wild!

The Temporary Greenhouse (Photographs From The Beginning Of The Season And Now)

The steel framed and plastic temporary greenhouse I purchased this year has proved a little disappointing.  Light levels were lower than in a glass greenhouse while humidity and consequent possibility of disease was higher.  I couldn’t stop the tomatoes going lanky and gave up in the end.  The structure itself is not that strong and I found I couldn’t put very many plants on the built in staging and even with a very modest number the greenhouse is leaning badly that side.  With hindsight it would have been better to have separate staging and also additional support for the main structure – or have no staging at all and use the greenhouse for cucumbers (who would appreciate the humidity) or similar plants.

Here is a photographic record of the growing year.  It has to be said that if I had had more time to spare I could have probably managed the plants and greenhouse a bit better.  I hope to do better next year!

The greenhouse in March

The greenhouse in March

At the beginning of June 1

At the beginning of June 1

At the beginning of June 2

At the beginning of June 2

The greenhouse in the middle of August

The greenhouse in the middle of August

Another New Start

I had great horticultural plans for this year; leaving off painting and writing a little to try and get the garden looking relatively respectable again.  Unfortunately everything did not go as planned for a number of reasons – although the garden did look great for a week or two!.

One of the reasons was that my wife and I found ourselves looking after two terminally ill cats, one passed away at the turn of the year and the other in June.  One was a rescue who we took on knowing she was poorly and actually gave her over two years she wouldn’t have had, although we desperately hoped she would have lasted longer, and the other was a young cat we had since a kitten and her illness (in fact she had two quite separate ones which seemed to us such bad luck) came as a complete shock.  To stretch coincidence even further just after the second cat died we discovered that our dog had a tumour on her leg: it was the worse kind but very low grade so it has been removed and we are hoping it doesn’t return.

The second drain on my time was that, quite out of the blue, I decided to invent a second artistic career independent of my main one.  In fact I started afresh as if I was a young man (I wish!) beginning his artistic journey and I am exploring radically new media, styles and themes.  This has meant two sets of blogs and two sets of paintings to upload to various online galleries which consequently left too little time for other blogs.

Anyway I have started to get back into the garden again now – a rather daunting task! – and I am also beginning to make a photographic record of my plants.  There have been quite a few changes predominantly in the greenhouses and hopefully I will begin to share the images and my gardening experiences soon.

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The succulent house immediately after potting in May. Please not the ex hot water heating pipe plant stands.

A New Greenhouse

I am beginning to get into the garden now so hopefully I will have something to post from now on.  I am very sorry for the hiatus. Unfortunately I didn’t do any wildlife conservation work this winter because of lack of time so I haven’t had anything to report in this regard either.

Someone gave me an aluminium glass greenhouse at the end of last year but before I actually got round to putting it up they wanted it back again (that will teach me to put jobs off!) so I bought myself a cheap plastic temporary greenhouse to use for bedding and pot plants.

Anyway, here is the new greenhouse prior to me getting plants inside.  I was going to use the right hand side for tomatoes in summer and chrysanthemums in the autumn but I think I  will have to get a staging for this side too.

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Two Crassulas

I have many plans for the garden and greenhouses this year with the aim of devoting more time on my plants – however we have had almost unrelenting rain so far in 2014 and I haven’t even had much of a chance to try out my new camera.  Here are a couple of shots of Crassulas currently in flower.

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