Gardening has give me just as much pleasure as being a pop star – now I can’t wait to see the Show

Kim Wilde, 43, made her name as a pop singer in the Eighties. More recently she has found success as a garden designer, appearing on ITV’s Better Gardens and the BBC’s Garden Invaders. This year, Kim will open the extensive garden features at the Ideal Home Show. Here, Kim, who lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two children, tells Alice Smellie about her support for the show, and passion for gardening.

The other day I was at a party and the hostess came over to me with a leaf from a houseplant to ask what was wrong with it. I wouldn’t say I was a gardening expert, but I knew that it was Hemispherical Scale and the look on her face when I told her was fantastic.

For so long, all people ever asked me about was my music career – now they want advice on gardening, which has become my great passion. That’s why I’m so excited about this year’s Ideal Home Show, because it’s so vast and has so many possibilities. I know I’m going to get bags of inspiration from all the newly-designed gardens – and I can take those ideas back to my home in Hertfordshire.

I love the main idea of the four seasons, because I always struggle to make my garden look its best in winter. It’s the perfect time of year to have the show because most of Britain’s gardeners are on tenterhooks waiting for spring to arrive with a bang.

I love the next few months because there is so much planting to do, and I can watch my bulbs coming up. Everything is so grey at the moment, then suddenly you see a crocus just starting to peek out of the earth in a park or garden and you know that in a few weeks, everything will be colourful and the trees will be in blossom.

I fell in love with gardening when I was eight. My family moved to Hertfordshire from London and suddenly I was surrounded by children who knew the names of wild flowers. We lived next door to an artist who kept a donkey in the back garden, grew her own vegetables, and baked her own bread. Once I’d fallen in love with that lifestyle, I always knew – even through the hectic Eighties – that I was a country girl at heart.

I married Hal in 1996. We were living in a barn conversion and planning to have a family as soon as possible. We very much wanted a garden for the children to grow up in. We had two willow trees standing forlornly in our garden, and apart from that there was little else but rough farmland grass all the way up to the door. Although it was an intimidating sight, I was very excited by the potential of such a bare canvas.

By the time I was pregnant with Harry, my oldest child, seven years ago, I was frustrated by my lack of plant knowledge. So I enrolled in an evening course in garden design at Capel Manor horticultural school. The most brilliant thing about the cuorse was that for the first time I was a really good student. My first piece of work came back marked with a D. I was devastated. Then I was told that D was for Distinction. It did wonders for my self-confidence.

At that time, I had no idea what I wanted to do. All I was sure about was that I didn’t want to continue with the music. I was tired of it, and I think the British public were probably tiring of me. I didn’t want to write songs any more. I changed my name and found being anonymous was quite a relief. What I didn’t expect was to become a gardener by profession.

We aren’t exactly self-sufficient, but we do have a vegetable garden, and the children love it. I am a huge fan of getting them outside and giveing them their own trowels. This year I’m thinking of giving them their own little beds in which to plant things, although I suspect that Rose might just hang out in Harry’s.

They love growing things such as sunflowers and just messing about in the mud, putting soil into things. At four and six, they’re still too little to have much patience, so even though the phrase ‘quick fix’ is a dirty word as a gardener, you sometimes have to cheat a little and buy already-grown plants.

Every now and again, I have to take a deep breath as I see a little hand joyfully snapping a flower stem. But this is the childhood I want them to have and it unites us as a family. We pick raspberries together, harvest the peas, and last year we sat and ate freshly-picked corn.

I take so much pleasure from my garden now, and I know that thousands of visitors to the Ideal Home Show will get lots of inspiration for their gardens.