Tue, 3 Nov, 2015
Things you might not know about Graham Ross
As one of the hosts of Better Homes and Gardens TV, Graham Ross has educated, entertained and inspired green thumbs (and aspiring gardeners alike) across Australia during a career that has almost spanned over 55 years. But lounge rooms across the country aren’t the only platform in which Graham has taught Aussies about all things green and growing.
The passionate gardener together with his wife Sandra (who is also a horticulturalist), and their daughter Linda (a landscape architect), present a three-hour gardening program every Saturday and Sunday morning for Radio 2GB. The show has been broadcast since 1980, making it one of the longest running, and highest-rating programs in Australian radio history.
A garden enthusiast since the age of four, an invitee to be a fellow at the impressive (and infamous) Kew Botanic Gardens in the UK, Over60 sat down with Graham to find out what he’s most proud of accomplishing.
1.What are you most proud of achieving to date?
This is a very hard question. I’ve been enormously lucky to have survived on television for 36 years and on Radio 2GB for 34 years, and I’ve been very privileged to have received awards from every professional horticultural association in Australia. But receiving the Gold Veitch Memorial Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society in London in 2011 for a “lifetime international achievement in horticulture” was amazing as I was the only the fourth Aussie to receive the award since Queen Victoria created the medal in 1870. Receiving it from Princes Alexandra on behalf of the Queen was a huge honour.
2.Three things that are essential for ageing happily and healthily?
I think about this a lot now that I’ve been working for over 55 years. Without a doubt working in the job you love is a real bonus and to keep working as long as you can and want to is important. It’s an old chestnut, but keeping as active as possible helps. All my family live on one block in two homes and that keeps me thinking young with grandchildren around. It’s common with Greek, Italian and Chinese families and I can see the benefits all round.
3.What does the word senior mean to you?
It says respect, wisdom and life experiences to share. I love spending time with older folk, always have since I was young. I guess I’m a bit old fashioned but I was apprenticed twice as a teenager and learnt from a Master and enjoyed listening at an early age. Now that I’m older, I enjoy chatting to youngsters willing to listen. I’ve worked in all aspects of the horticultural and gardening profession and had over 200 trips around the world with our tours and I’m happy to share my knowledge and experiences.
4. If you could change one thing for seniors in Australia, what would it be?
Governments are desperate, understandably, for seniors to be financially independent but penalise as we try to live in retirement. Paying tax when you earn a salary, then tax on superannuation and savings, I think that’s a crime. If it’s in the bank, in super or in investments or savings there is always more tax to pay when you use it as a senior.
5.What is something people don’t know about you?
I’m the only Australian in history to have been appointed a Life Fellow of the prestigious Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Guild, London. This honour connects a present-day Aussie to colonial botanists and horticulturists like Sir Joseph Banks, George Caley and Alan Cunningham. I’m still learning from reading their body of work.
6.What can’t you live without?
Without a doubt it’s my garden, I love being in it 24/7, well when I can anyway.
Maggie Beer on being positive as you age!