Date: 5 February 2000
Originally published in: The TV mag (UK)
Written by: Anna Ryder Richardson
She used to be a Kid In America but now ex-pop star Kim Wilde prefers being a mum in Hertfordshire and using her creative talents in her garden rather thazl a recording studio!
But not only is she putting her green-fingered skills to good use at her own home, she’s also helping families realise their dreams of backyard bliss each week in Carol Vorderman’s Better Gardens.
Home for Kim, 38, and her fami1y – husband Hal, 31, son Harry, vho’s two, and three-week-o1d baby daughter Rose Elizabeth -is a four-bedroom, 16th-century converted barn inthe country.
“Kim says: “I bought the barn near1y ten years ago. It bas an acre of ground, aithough it has only been in the past four years, since I married Hal, that we’ve really concentrated on making it into a proper garden. Before that I suppose I was too busy with my music career and getting the house decorated. “I was trying to create a romantic garden with a Mediterranean touch, something that would make you feel in the holiday frame’ of mind.
“It has lots of aromatic plants, including expanses of lavender, as well as calming influences such as camomile. fm not suggesting it as a sedative but it is lovely for them to wander among these calming plants just before bedtime.”
One of her favourite finishing touches in the garden is the log bench, made by a friend and given to Kim and Hal as a wedding present.
She also has a herb garden, organic vegetable beds and grows her own fruit. Kim says: “We’re well on the way to providing most of our vegetable needs, wbich is the aim. It is lovely picking the produce with Hal and Harry. It has really sunk in with Harry and among his first words were berry, garden and flower.
“Even when I was working in the music business and having to do a lot of travelling, I always had this idea in the back of my mind that one day 1 would like to live as close to nature as possible.”
Kim was eight when her family moved away from London to Hertfordshire to a very different life. She says: “All of a sudden, the neighbours were bringing us vegetables and fruit from their own gardens and I thought it was wonderful. My mum really got into gardening and I used to help her.”
The love of the soil canle back to Kim when she started working on her own garden, and while pregnant with Harry she enrolled for some garden design courses. And that was how she got involved with Better Gardens.
Kim says: “The producers visited the college, looking for possible gardeners for the programme. 1 explained that I had some experience and lots of passion and they took the chance. It wasn’t a conscious career move, but obviously this is a lot more practical with two children than the music industry.”
In this week’s show, Kim leads the design team that puts together a Sri Lankan garden for Nil and Pav Mathur of Worcester Park, Surrey, while Toby Musgrave gets to work on a Japanese-themed plot next door for Bob and Barbara Joseph.
Hosted by Carol Vorderman, Better Gardens is now pulling in nine million viewers an episode. Kim says: “We’re all chuffed to bits that it’s such a success.”