Date: 27 April 2001
Originally published in: The TV mag (UK)
Written by: Nick Fiaca
Kim Wilde’s swapped pop for plants and admits she couldn’t be happier with a budding second career and wondertul family. The former hitmaker is a new designer on BBC1’s horticultural quiz show Garden Invaders, back this week alongside no-budget interior design show House Invaders, which features Linda Barker and our interiors expert Anna Ryder Richardson.
During the Eighties, Kim’s career blossomed with hits like Kids In America and Vou Keep Me Hangin’ On. She toured with Michael Jackson and won Best British Female Singer at the Brits. Despite the success, Kim secretly yeamed for Mr Right. She finally found him five years ago when she appeared in the stage musical Tommy with Hal Fowler. They married in September 1996 and now have two children Harry, three, and Rose, one.
“The way my life has changed has been one of the happiest surprises of my life,” says Kim, 40. “I had a career I absolutely loved. Then 1 found the man 1 want to live the rest of my life with and have babies with.
“To have that and now be pursuing a new career is the most inspiring and challenging thing. I was feeling a bit bored with music, I never dismissed the idea of making music again, but it’s not something I’11 rush back into.”
Kim’s interest in gardening was sparked when she bought a 16th-century Hertfordshire barn to renovate 10 years ago. Gardening helped her switch off from showbiz pressures.
She designed her one-acre garden so her children would have somewhere beautiful to grow up, and also where the family could grow vegetables, The garden boasts a meadow, an orchard, a raised bed area with a herb garden, and a lawn. Her hobby turned into a second career by chance. Kim had done garden design at college. When producers for Carol Vorderman’s Better Gardens visited, Kim was hired as a designer.
Now she’s been signed up for the 28-part Garden Invaders, where contestants race against the clock to win items for their garden makeover. Kim’s designed 20 of the gardens, and the Garden Invaders team – presenters Nick Clarke and Mark Evans and fellow designer Nicola Mager – has 12 hours to tum her visions into reality.
“I loved the opportunity to transform people’s gardens,” says Kim. “The worse the gardens looked, the more potential I thought they had. People used their gardens as a glorified skip – there were piles of rubble to get rid of.
“It was very physically challenging. I’ve got a bad back now. That might be down to having had two kids, but pushing barrowloads of rubble probably doesn’t help!”