Celebrity gardener Kim Wilde is set to show off her skills at one of the most prestigious flower shows in the UK, writes Louise Dunderdale.
The former 80s pop star is taking part in this year's Chelsea Flower Show, which runs from May 24-28. Kim, a 44-year-old mother of two, has also just published her book Gardening With Children, which features her children Harry, seven, and Rosie, five. Her agent said Kim had previously co-presented a daytime TV programme about Chelsea and co-designed gardens at other Royal Horticultural Society shows.
In 2001 Kim was a gold medal winner and Best in Show at Tatton Park for a garden she co-designed with David Fountain. At Chelsea Kim will be working with Richard Lucas, a landscape gardener she met at the Holker Hall show in Cumbria. "She felt it was time to have a crack at the big one," he said.
"She was delighted and thrilled to be chosen. Kim has been given a courtyard garden plot, about 20 by 20 feet. The theme is The Cumbrian Fellside Garden. Her parents-in-law live in the Lake District so she is up there a lot."
Gardening With Children was written during last year and includes 40 projects, which are a mixture of quick-fix easy things to do and longer-term schemes. Kim was drawn into gardening after buying a converted barn in Hertfordshire.
"Her motivation for getting into horticulture was to create a garden for her children," said her agent. "She went to Capel Manor Horticultural College in Enfield and that's where it all started. It just occurred to her she was not aware of any books that covered that philosophy."
FORMER pop star turned TV celebrity, Kim has also had a plant named after her. Sweet Pea Kim Wilde produces an abundance of pretty lavender blue flowers with frilled petal edges. The plant is on sale at Wyevale Garden Centrre, which named the new garden flower in honour of its partnership with Kim. Kim, who lives not far from Wyvale's Codicote branch, is helping promote the chain nationwide and on TV. She said: "I'm absolutely thrilled with the idea of having a plant named after me. I take this as a great compliment to my hard work in gardening over the last few years. The Kim Wilde Sweet Pea is a stunning flower and I now have it growing in my own garden."
The new Sweet Pea Kim Wilde is being sold as potted seedlings. They cost 99p each.