A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
Published June 7th 2014
The Gifts of Growing
Every now then a quiet little documentary will hit our screens and remind people why documentary filmmaking is such a precious art form.
Sister Loyola - Gardening with Soul
Gardening with Soul is one such documentary about a dear lady with an affinity for the garden - a look inside a lifetime of nurturing plants and people. Sister Loyola is ninety years young and still remarkably sharp and active.
Sister Loyola is a 90-year-old nun in the Home of Compassion just outside Wellington, New Zealand. The film is full of her reflections and perceptions, which are often said in a self-depreciating way. She being of the generation that says 'don't make a fuss, just get on with the job'.
She has been doing that job all her life, gardening and quietly being a seeker of the sacred. Gardening can be a time for meditation, a physical workout, a productive source of food and a thing of beauty.
Forget me nots
Having been surrounded by keen gardeners for most of my life I am inspired by the works of others. My mother had a sense of joy in floral designs. She gave me my first little garden plot of marigolds and forget me nots. She was also a determined hard worker who didn't shirk the heavy jobs.
I then moved on to marry a horticulturalist, who likes nothing better than being out in the garden in all weathers. Many of my friends find solace in nurturing large rambling gardens. Helping out recently in tending one such garden I was struck by the silence and peace in the garden. All I could hear was the sound of the frogs and occasional birdcalls.
There is time for contemplation, of weeds, soil and plantings. Gardening with Soul is full of contemplation and follows the seasons.
We see Sister Loyola working through the rain, snow and sunshine, driving to the beach and collecting seaweed for her compost, meeting and greeting those around her, digging in the garden, planting out seedlings.
Film-maker Jess Feast reveals the rich and thoughtful life of sister Loyola, in doing so finding the garden as a restorative past time - something that truly is good for the soul. Something that is also demanding and constant, as sister Loyola states, "Unlike other many other interests, the garden never stops"
This documentary gives the story and seasons of the garden time to develop. The audience is richly rewarded for their faith in this gently time of growing.