Wilde life: gardening with a rock star

In the eighties she scored one hit after the other as the queen of pop. Nowadays Kim Wilde is as famous for her gardening activities as for her singing career in England. In the Netherlands her boek ‘Tuinieren’ (‘First-time gardener’) was just released in which she explains step by step how gardening is just a question of doing it.

“I like to plant with groups of colours tha tare next to each other on the colour wheel. For example, purple echinacea ith blue echinops and reddish pink ‘Sedum spectabile’ word well together. The colours blend together perfectly and are gentle and pleasing to the eye. Purple ‘Verbena bonariensis’ self-seeds all around my garden, and looks great among this particular combination of colours.”
Kim Wilde was a novice gardener when she started a study in horticulture after her singing career. As a child she moved with her parents from London to the countryside of Hertfordshire. When she was ready to found her own family she decided to return to the area of her youth to give her children the same space and freedom. She avidly read gardening books and changed one third of her three acre grounds around her house in a garden. Now she is a designer, presents gardening programmes, for the BBC amongst others, and writes for newspapers and magazines. Her own experiences during her development from novice to prize winning designer – she won a gold medal in 2005 on the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show – form the basis for this book. It’s ideal as a guide if you know nothing, but also enlightening when you’ve been gardening for some time. From planting trees to breeding geraniums; all the important gardening phenomena are described, also in pictures, which is a big extra when compared to other books you read as a (beginning) gardener. The love for the gardening speaks from every page, the tone is refreshingly down-to-earth. Kim Wilde is an advocate of ecologically friendly gardening: ‘gardening with nature and being friendly to the environment and mankind’ which you notice in the tips and recent information in the book.
The tips are useful anyway, for instance this one: ‘when weeds start to appear, you know that the soil is warm enough to start sowing’. Or this one: ‘When you take a plant from its pot, you have to pull apart the roots slightly. It will take root more quickly because the roots can spread more easily.’ The book also offers inspiration: Kim creates a water feature in a pictorial instruction, as well as a raised bed and a willow den.

‘Tuinieren’, Kim Wilde, Kosmos. ISBN 9789021508238.

The singer Kim Wilde performs during Parkpop in Den Haag (24 juni, www.parkpop.nl) and Bospop in Weert (7 juli, www.bospop.nl)