Me and My Garden 

Toyah Willcox's career has included 80s chart hits, film, TV and stage roles, as well as numerous writing projects. She lives with her husband, musician Robert Fripp, in Worcestershire.

I was born in Birmingham but my father always had a boat on the river Avon so I spent every weekend in this area when I was young. Robert and I bought this house three years ago and it's the best place I've ever lived. The whole garden was designed by one of the TV gardeners but we can't find his name - he did it as a favour to the last owner. It's so well done that we haven't needed to put in a single plant and it looks great all year round.

The garden's probably about half an acre and is divided into five rooms, with the final room leading down to the river. The rooms were here when we arrived but we've added focus by putting in seats.  They're more for my husband's benefit - he's a great one for sitting. I'm more of an on-the-move type of person. One room is particularly private - you can't be seen from the river or the house - so it's where we sunbathe. It's even glorious at night because the stars are so bright. 

Because the land floods, the soil is particularly rich so we get good growth. I like the fact that we have a mulberry tree because it symbolises luck. They're also quite hard to grow so having one signifies a healthy garden, plus it produces the most amazing fruit. And I love irises - we have a lot of those.We live very alfresco - the garden is east facing so we have lots of sun all day. It has a very Tuscan feel and friends love coming here. An amazing amount of people say they feel as though they've been here before, which I think is a lovely sign. It's a very sensual place.

We have a cherry orchard and we're very worried because there's a nasty disease going round which wipes out trees in a matter of weeks. One died just last week, but if we get it out quickly enough we should be able to save the rest. The trees have been here for a good 40 years so it's sad to see one of them die.  We had all the problems with Dutch elm disease and in the 20 years that I've been into gardening, we've been dealing with these strange variants attacking other tree types. We did have 14 fish in our fish pond but a heron ate them all in one afternoon! I love koi and have a fantasy about having a koi pond but we have a lot of predators here - including foxes - so I don't think they'd survive very long.

We have quite a few sculptures in the garden, all done by an artist we've worked with for about 20 years. It's remarkably inexpensive for such unique work and suits our taste. I don't like regular statues.

Robert tends to tour in the summer so I get the place to myself. We try and spend weekends together here but it's a bit hit and miss because I often do concerts at weekends. I have two books coming out next year, as well as a one-woman show which I'm writing about my own life, so there's a lot in the pipeline.

Almost everything I remember from my youth I remember around here rather than in Birmingham. This is where it all happened, so I feel completely rooted. And there's no better place to relax than in this garden - it's the ultimate chill-out. 

Outdoors magazine, 2004