Time Out Sydney

Time Out asks Sydney’s preeminent green thumb what he keeps in his pockets...

Costa Georgiadis is Sydney’s preeminent green thumb, environmental activist and beard-grower. Time Out caught up with him to discuss sustainable living, Gardening Australia Live and the treasure trove that is his pockets...

Costa, in October you’re hosting Gardening Australia Live. What can we expect from this new gardening show?
The big point of difference between Gardening Australia Live and your average gardening expo is that it is an educational event [too]. It’s a chance to sit in on a variety of talks from ‘How to get started’ to ‘How to grow beneficial plants for pollinators’. They will encapsulate a sort of how-to guide to being an environmental activist just by looking after your garden.

A lot of Time Out readers are inner-city folk. How should these space-poor urbanites get started in the sustainable living game?
First of all, I would look realistically at space available. If it’s seriously shaded, a wind tunnel, if it’s a seriously hostile environment… then I’d be weary about wasting time and energy trying to make a plant grow where it can’t! If the space you have isn’t seeing sunlight then look for light elsewhere. Look around your area: is there a community garden where you can start to connect with growers? Landshare Australia is a great site to check out – but do your own observations as well and see who has a little patch that you could get started with.

When you were appointed host of Gardening Australia, there was a bit of a backlash amongst some of the TV show’s long-term fans. Have those viewers come around to you yet?
There’s a certain part of the audience that didn’t want to see any change made to the show, they were just comfortable with it – [and] I respect that, it’s fair enough. But we knew that we wanted to start gearing the show towards the real and changing cultural needs of today, especially in terms of communicating with younger people and their lives and lifestyles. Of course, some people will always prefer Peter Cundall but I got a nice comment on the website the other day.

You look like the sort of bloke who has interesting things in his pocket. What do you have in your pockets right now?
Seeds! [Laughs] People are always giving them to me and I collect them. There are pods, cones and different pieces of plants that I’ve just grabbed because I like their texture. I have lemon-myrtle leaves, native mint and lavender as well. I pick them up then throw them on the dashboard of the car so when the car heats up I get that aroma. Then, of course, there’s a nice sedimentary layer leftover from whatever I’ve been doing: soil, compost, and woodchips… There’s the odd USB hanging around too, that’s a bit more contemporary I suppose.

Gardening Australia Live, Hordern Pavillion, 18-20 Oct 2013.

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Updated on 29 Jul 2015.

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