Wilde about Hertfordshire

Cottage or castle there’s no place like home. For many of us – including celebrity Kim Wilde – there’s no place like Hertfordshire, as we found out when we asked her about her connections with the county.

A former pupil of Tewin Cowper Primary School and Presdales School, Ware, Kim is one of Britain’s top female singers, recording more than 30 hit singles and ten albums. Her love of gardening has led to a second career as a TV presenter, magazine columnist and writer. Her second book, First-time Gardener, has just been published. Here’s how she answered our questions.

What brought you to Hertfordshire?
My parents moved here from SE London when I was eight. I left for London during the 80s, and returned to Herts when I turned 30 to live in a 16th Century barn I’d had converted.

How long have you lived here?
I’ve lived here at the barn since 1990.

What part of the county do you live in and why does it appeal to you?
I live near Welwyn Garden City, surrounded by beautiful countryside, family and friends, and within easy
reach of London.

What are the three things you like most about the county?

  • I love that we live and participate in a friendly and supportive community.
  • I like the ancient farmland, woodlands and hedgerows.
  • The climate is not too harsh, so it’s good for growing a wide range of plants.

What three things do you like least?

  • Stevenage new town centre,
  • Expansion plans at Luton,
  • Steadily increasing levels of traffic.

If you were taking family or friends for a day out in Hertfordshire, where would you go?
A walk through Bramfield Forest or Hatfield House, lunch at The Wellington in Welwyn, shopping in Hertford, dinner at Coltsfoot in Bulls Green.

What plants grow best in Hertfordshire?
Hertfordshire has mixed soil conditions from flinty clay through to sandy. My parents live in an area of acid soil where Azaleas and Rhododendron thrive. Our soil (less than ten minutes away) is predominantly neutral to alkaline and completely unsuitable for acid loving plants. Hertfordshire’s climate and weather is conducive to growing a wide range of plants, as long as individual growing conditions are taken into consideration, and a soil test done to test for pH levels in the soil.

With successful careers in music and gardening, have you any unfulfilled ambitions?
Only to see our children grow up happy – and to get our dog Jess to come back to me when I call!