Gardening guru Costa Georgiadis has made a name for himself over the years thanks to his successful stint on popular gardening program Gardening Australia, but he says it’s all thanks to his grandfather as he taught him everything he knows about the hobby. “My grandfather used to love growing zinnias… he loved them and he loved showing them to me,” Costa tells Starts at 60.
The Australian-Greek landscape architect, 56, was introduced to gardening from a young age, revealing one of his fondest memories as a kid was running through his grandfather’s strawberry patch and biting into the juicy fruit.
“The more I do what I do, the more I appreciate and the stronger those memories become,” he says. “Those memories of mine were 40 years ago and I can [still] smell that strawberry.”
Costa continues: “I [can still] smell my grandparent’s place… we’d taken the produce that my grandfather had grown and taken it up to my grandmother who had then cooked it up and suddenly you’re eating spinach pie.”
So, it seemed only fitting to ask the television presenter for his best tips on how to get the grandchildren involved and interested in gardening.
“I think the best thing that grandparents can do is be outside when the grandkids come,” he says. “Don’t stress about making a little mess, because what they remember is just doing something with you.”
And Costa says don’t be hesitant about giving them some responsibility either, adding it’s also super important to keep them fully engaged.
“Be like ‘remember when we planted that?’, or send them a photo or as soon as they come over [say] ‘come and have a look at this’ and go ‘no, look what happened the slugs came’, and be sad and be happy so that you take them on a roller coaster with you.”
To keep things exciting, he also recommends taking a trip to the local nursery and picking out a special plant, making up a pot with a few different herbs for grandma, or taking a cutting, suggesting rosemary is a really easy one to start off with.
Costa also suggests keeping a diary for them so that they can easily follow the progress. And if your grandkids live interstate, he recommends jumping on a call to keep them updated.
“And then when you finally harvest something say, ‘well, what recipe are we going to use?’, ‘a pumpkin soup, okay, well you got to help me peel them and we’ll chop them up’ and you know.”
He concludes with: “[Don’t] underestimate the power of memory-making. Those memories will bud their heads up forever.”
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