Love, faith…and compost.
This movie started today at the Classic Cinemas in Elsternwick. It is sure to be a gardeners favourite and an inspiration to anyone under the age of 90. If Sister Loyola can do all this in chilly New Zealand, there is no excuse for us younger Melbourne winter gardeners.
This lively, beautifully shot documentary is filmed almost entirely in the small community of Island Bay on the southern coast of Wellington and follows a year in the garden with 90 year old Sister Loyola Galvin, the main gardener at Home of Compassion. Sister Loyola’s optimism is infectious and it’s fed every day by her love of gardening. Themes of faith, aging and compassion sit alongside the practicalities of community life, issues within the Catholic Church and the importance of good compost in this intimate, funny and moving portrait of a woman approaching the end of her life.
As the main gardener at the Home of Compassion in Island Bay, Wellington, her daily tasks include heavy lifting alongside vigorous spade and wheelbarrow work, which she sometimes performs on crutches. Loyola and the other Sisters of Compassion follow the vision of Mother Aubert to ‘meet the needs of the oppressed and powerless in their communities’.
Filmmaker Jess Feast (Cowboys and Communists) has been following Sister Loyola over the last year, charting her journey through the seasons which included her 90th birthday. Through her garden, we begin to understand Loyola’s commitment to nurture all living things, especially those which ‘don’t get a good start’. From her early work as a nurse with sick or stillborn babies, to her role as a nun raising children with disabilities, we see Loyola’s incredible energy and faith in her God to carry her through the difficult times.
The lively, beautifully shot documentary (edited by Annie Collins) is filmed almost entirely in this small community on the southern coast of Wellington. With music by local musician David Long, and full of the sea- and garden-scapes that have informed Loyola’s life, Gardening with Soul uncovers a local legend and her community for the wider world. It is a conceptual triumph for Feast. Any belief we might harbour that becoming a nun is avoiding the real world is turned firmly on its head as we witness this extraordinary soul steer a sharp course through all weathers, trying to shine love on everything she sees.
Ticket prices: Adults $19, Child $13.50, Concession $14, Senior $11
More information: Classic Cinemas
Winners Of our Gardening With Soul competiton:
My favourite plant has to be the Venus Fly Trap. I was first given
one as a child and it was the perfect plant/pet combination. My
brother and I used to search the window sills to find dead flies to
feed it. They also remind me of one of my favourite movies : “Little
Shop Of Horrors” – while the plant was still cute of course.
My favourite plant is the jonquil. In the depths of a dark and depressing Winter, up pops their vibrant flowers with the most intoxicating scent. It is a lovely reminder that Spring is on the way.
my favourite plant is a Lemon Scented Gum. I grow it in a container in front of the entrance door to my house. Every time I go in or out I rub one of the leaves between my fingers and get invigorated by the fresh, strong aromatic smell. I use the leaves for tea or put it in the bath water. It also looks quite pretty: its new leaves are shiny and reddish, and the stems have little hairs that make it look red. Last but not least, the lemon scented gum is easy to care for – it has few pests, doesn’t mind being cut back, and keeps growing happily as long as it gets well watered in summer!