Going Wilde in the country…

Former pop star Kim wilde was getting ready to reap the rewards of success with her new family – when a second career fell in her lap.

There is little trace of slinky pop queen Kim Wilde. Instead heavily pregnant and serene Kim, earth mother and garden designer, is helping families transform their gardens in Carol Vorderman’s new ITV show Better Gardens. How on earth did a pop chick with a string of dates, including Chris Evans, suddenly become an expert on herbaceous perennials?
‘It was’, she explains, ‘a gradual change’. At 36 after a disappointing reaction to her last album, Kim went to star in the west End musical Tommy. It was there she met actor – musician Hal Fowler and fell deeply in love. Hal knows how to treat a lady: when he proposed, he hired a private plane and whisked her off to Calais for lunch. Soon after they were married she settled down to be a mother to son Harry – now two years old – and grow her own organic vegetables.
‘Hal wasn’t the reason why I stopped. There were many reasons, and wanting children was the main one’, she says. I want to pick them up from school. I want them to run in the garden and get carrots out of the ground and pick raspberries off bushes. I can’t think of anything better for them.’
Her new TV career as a gardening designer came about after the programme makers called a Hertfordshire horticultural college in the hope of finding experts for the show. The singer – always a keen gardener – had studied there while she was pregnant with Harry.
‘The job came as a happy accident. I knew it was something I wanted to do, but I had no idea how to go about it.’
Kim and Hal and Harry live idyllically in Hertfordshire, just down the road from Kim’s mum and sixties pop-star father Marty Wilde.
‘I’m going to see dad in concert next week. It’s a world apart from how things are at home – Marty the grandad taking Harry for walks in the forest.’
Home for Kim is a converted barn set in an acre which she and Hal are busy turning into their dream garden. There’s an orchard , eight raised vegetable beds, a play area, and an avenue of trees.
She still loves singing, but is content to watch as her young sister Roxanne, 19, launches her own career in a band. ‘I am really excited for her. She has all the energy I had when I first started.’
But Kim can never quite escape from pop stardom. ‘When we were filming Better Gardens guys would turn up and say “would you sign these records?” They ended up with mud smeared all over Kids In America!’
So at 39, what does Kim feel when she sees all the latest showbiz gossip about groups like the Spice Girls?
‘I had the same life style ; she reflects,’ and the same enthusiasm. I was their age once, and their weight probably, and I had a great old time. It was good fun, a rollercoaster. But I don’t want to be on it anymore.
She wants to spend as much time as possible with Hal and Harry, and her new baby due this month.
She discovered she was pregnant with her second child afer she had designed her first garden.’ I was more concerned that ITV would get cold feet about the liability of having a pregnant lady on the show. But they were great.’
Kim smiles a contented smile. ‘This is the best time for me, ever. When I was on my own I always wanted to meet someone like Hal, and I had almost given up thinking I would ever find him. Having found him, everything has fallen into place.’ It’s the domino effect.
‘I am on a different road now and I don’t know where it will take me. But it’s very exciting. All I know, is that in 10 years’ time I want to be in a garden, not a dressing room.’