The World famous artist Simon Drew recalls being forced into gardening by his parents. “Dad would cut the hedge and I’d have to clear it up,” he explains, “The most entertaining times I remember in the garden were pouring petrol down wasps nests and then being chased by them as they got more and more angry; I get pest control in these days.”
“I do a fair amount of gardening, though not as much as I’d like. Like most people I do too many other things.” He continues, adding, “my wife, Caroline, (pictured with Simon and dog, Rabbit) calls it out-door housework.”
“Our garden is nearly vertical. We look out to sea one way and up-river the other, so whilst the views are fantastic the lawn is almost impossible to cut. I get someone in to do that as well.”
I do make an effort to grow some fruit and vegetables, though we can’t grow a lot of things here as they get bashed by the wind so hanging baskets are out,” he adds.
Although always interested in art, Simon studied science, obtained a degree in Zoology and taught Biology for years before pursuing his passion. “I always wanted to be an artist but was told, nobody makes a living at Art; I was 28 before I jumped ship. Then 30 years ago we moved to Dartmouth and set up the two shops and a studio and have been here ever since.”
“I love drawing animals and birds in particular and have also been quite inspired by gardening. I have designed products for the gardening company Apple to Pears, from Lawn Ranger hats and socks, to lidded mugs and then there are themes including Vegetables of the Silver Screen, like ‘Phantom of the Ochre’ and ‘War and Peas’.
Once described as half artist and half wit, Simon recently took part in Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me, “It was painful in parts he admits, “I’m more of a gardener than a chef.”
The witty artist is also a renowned author and has just had his 28th book published. “Gin Will Fix It, is another mixture of funny pages. I enjoy doing the books and they lend credence to everything else. Most subjects start off as cards then develop into mugs or books. Golf and gardening are the two subjects that are always easy to make fun of and are popular. They are both middle class things I suppose.”
Ideal for these colder mornings in the garden, Simon’s lidded gardening mugs can be purchased at www.atpgifts.com at £8.99. Choose from fabulous designs like Gardener’s Question Thyme, Gardening Angel, Weeder’s Digest, Raindrops Keep Falling on my Shed and Tree Cheers.