Kim Wilde: A life between stages and gardens

Successful British pop singer turns 60 this year – the garden work gave Kim Wilde new strength and she even became a garden book author

She wrote music history with songs like “Kids in America” ??or “You Keep Me Hangin’ On “and shaped the 1980s. But concerts on the stages of the world also took their toll. At the end of the 90s, Kim Wilde took a break and discovered gardening for himself. She won a gold medal at the famous Chelsea Flower Show and wrote several garden books.

 Is gardening a kind of second career for you or do the words “gardening” and “career” exclude each other because one stands for rest and the other for restlessness?
Gardening has now become a private passion again after having been a career for me for a short time. Although I never planned to have a second career. Gardening came when I had withdrawn from the music and used up all the energy I could give.

What does a garden give you?
When I’m out and about, I often go to parks or green spaces to relax. I find it very therapeutic and inspiring to be close to plants. Outdoor life is a big part of my life today and is very different from the years I spent on press or TV appointments, where I was often stuck in hotels or studios for hours. Gardening is now a non-negotiable part of my year. There are hectic times like spring and Autumn, then quiet times like summer and winter again, but I am always observing, observing and learning.

How would you characterize your own garden?
Our garden is a garden of spaces. It has a small area with seasonal wildflowers and grasses, a formal avenue of boxwood, roses and rock pears. There is also a small cottage garden that I developed last year. There are ornamental grasses and many perennials that were inspired by my time at the Horticultural Collage in 2000. At the moment I am very excited about the bulbs that I have planted in containers. I bought the plants at the great show at Keukenhof near Amsterdam.

Was gardening already rooted in you?
I’ve always been a gardener in my mind, always loved the landscape I grew up in, and was always amazed by the flowers and vegetables that our neighbors in Hertfordshire had grown. When I started gardening seriously, I had to learn everything from scratch in many ways. The biggest turning point was when I returned to college in 2000 as a mature student, where I finally received a City & Guilds certificate for plants and plant design.

You even won a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.
The Chelsea Flower Show 2005 remains one of the best moments of my life for so many reasons, not least because I was able to work with the amazing Richard Lucas with whom I designed the garden. Our Cumbrian Fellside Garden reflected our shared deep passion for the Lake District where my husband’s family lives.

Gardening is good for balance. Was gardening for you a kind of therapy after decades on stage?
Yes, I think gardening started as a therapy for me and was a great way to deal with stress of any kind. The therapeutic value of spending time outdoors is well documented today, especially for people struggling with mental health problems. Gardening has become one of my best friends. This also applies to my husband Hal, who grows and grows plants in a local community project near our home.

What makes you happy when you’re gardening?
Rescue a small seedling saved from the gravel and watch it grow into a healthy plant. The wonderful surprise of the bulbs that I plant and often forget until they suddenly appear in spring or summer. Watching birds nest building, hearing nature hum and singing.

Have you ever had moments of frustration in the garden?
My most frustrating moments were when I was growing vegetables and a snail, bird or rabbit always came to destroy the young plants no matter how desperately I tried to protect the vegetables.

You recognized the value of environmental protection early on and also the importance of gardening helping people. How do you see the activities of young people today care for nature and the environment?
Greta is an incredible force of nature and an inspiration for a new generation of people who want to save our beautiful planet. Your uncompromising and courageous openness is exactly what we need at this time.

Kim Wilde personal

2020 is a special year for Kim Wilde in many ways. In November she celebrates a milestone birthday and turns 60. Another anniversary is coming up: 40 years ago, the daughter of musical parents signed her first record contract, which was to begin an excellent artistic career. With over 30 million records sold, Kim Wilde is one of the most successful singers of the 1980s. Kim actually wanted to give her German fans the greatest gift this year. A best-of-tour was planned. Now the ten concerts have been postponed to the coming year. When she is not on stage, the mother of two looks after the interior of her home in Hertfordshire, likes to cook (specialty: green Thai curry) or indulges her passion for the landscape gardener profession that she originally learned.