Kim Wilde flowers as she lands a TV garden show

She is more associated with black leather than with green fingers. Yet ITV has chosen Kim Wilde as the person to help the nation’s gardens grow.
The Eighties pop star is to present ‘Better Gardens’, a spin-off from Carol Vorderman’s series ‘Better Homes’. ITV bosses hope 38 year-old Miss Wilde will have the same impact on viewers as the BBC’s gardening expert Charlie Dimmock. Through her appearances in Ground Force, Miss Dimmock has risen from comparative obscurity to become one of the year’s most-talked-about television personalities.
Miss Wilde – best remembered as the woman behind such hits as ‘Kids in America’ and ‘You keep me hangin’ on’ – will don T-shirt, jeans and wellies to join Miss Vorderman and five other experts for the eight-part series, which aims to help ordinary viewers design and execute a complete makeover of their back gardens.
ITV chiefs ‘discovered’ Miss Wilde at the Capel Manor horticultural school in Hertfordshire, which has already produced a number of TV gardeners, including Anne-Marie Powell of Channel 4’s Real Gardens.
‘Our development team went there for a bit of reconnaissance and we were told she was their star pupil,’ said a source. ‘So they went back and immediately suggested her for the programme. Everyone remembers her posing in those leathers so people will be suprised to see her in this series. But she’s got everything – green fingers, glamour – but at the same time is incredibly down-to-earth. She is not showbizzy at all.’
Miss Wilde, who once co-presented ‘The Big Breakfast’ with Chris Evans, has always had an interest in plants and landscape gardening, but did not develop it seriously until her marraige to actor Hal Fowler three years ago. The couple live in a converted barn, set in acres of farmland. As soon as they wed, they planted an orchard. At the time Miss Wilde remarked prophetically: ‘We designed and made a garden from nothing – like one of those telly jobs with loads of before-and-after pictures.’
She took a garden design course at Capel Manor two years ago, while pregnant with Harry Tristan, now 18 months. ‘Because I knew nothing about growing vegetables, I went to the local horticultural college for several months, until I got too big to walk about,’ Miss Wilde said recently. ‘I cook for Harry most lunchtimes. If the food is from our own garden, it is bound to make him grow stronger.’
Better Gardens is produced by Granada TV and is due to be screened late this year or early next year. A Granada spokesman said: ‘We discovered Kim is a natural born gardener and we are thrilled that she is part of the Better Gardens team.’
Miss Wilde’s new role does not mark the end of her music career. She is currently working on her 11th album, due for release later this year.