Several things are apparent when you meet Costa Georgiadis, the affable landscape architect who has hosted ABC's venerable lifestyle program Gardening Australia since 2012 and has been a gardening guru on television for years.
First, of course, is the glorious full beard. Second is his enthusiasm and thoughtfulness when he talks about tending to the natural world. Third, how Costa can tie the first thing – well, all things – to the latter.
"I love not having to shave, having those great genes and a fairly good facial follicle cover," an upbeat Costa admits to TV WEEK.
"When I think about the 28 years of non-disposable, non-throw-away, non-wear-out, non-waste," he reflects of his razor-free, beard-growing legacy, "I'm doing the planet – and the next generations to come – a great service!"
That zeal for conservation and getting to the root of things has led plant lovers across Australia to land Costa his first Gold Logie nomination.
"I'm lost for words, actually," Costa, 54, says. "It's a great thing for gardening. I feel like anything that elevates us brings people with it. We are all these wonderful gardeners and wonderful, passionate people who are crazy about what we love.
"Without talking it up," he adds, "you realise how incredibly powerful gardening is as a therapy."
Growing up in Sydney's Bondi, Costa developed green habits early, learning from his grandparents about the connection between the good stuff in the garden and the good stuff on the plate.
"It wasn't a novelty," he insists. "It was just life, just how things were."
Costa and his two sisters absorbed the fact that their grandparents were sceptical about restaurants because they couldn't be sure where the food was from.
"It wasn't like they were trying to be hipsters about it," Costa adds with a laugh. "It was very simple, like, 'Now come out into the garden and here's a flower, and look at what we're growing.'"
"One of the main things I wanted to do [on the show] was to connect families and kids to the show," Costa says. "Children are the baton carriers: nude food, no plastic wrap, bottles or containers – they don't seed that message when they go home, they smash it through!"
Every weekend, Costa is out in the community, connecting with people at events, but he's OK with doing it solo.
"It's not that I don't want to be in a relationship," he says. "I'm pretty comfortable with myself."
Then, the notion of winning a Gold Logie plants the seeds of something even greater.
"I haven't been named one of the country's most eligible bachelors yet," Costa offers, jokingly. "But, who knows? This could push me into the top 10!"
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