Gardening with Soul follows four seasons in the life of irresistible gardening nun Sister Loyola Galvin. Director Jess Feast (Cowboys and Communists) unearths sage gems from the nonagenarian on everything from compost to Catholic Church sex abuse scandals. The cycles of Wellington’s weather are charted via its influence on Loyola’s Island Bay garden, from the 2011 snow to flax-drunk tui. Feast worked with editor Annie Collins to piece together a paean to a life lived with zest and compassion. Soul won the Best Documentary at the 2013 Moa (NZ Film) Awards.
Should you find yourself wanting your faith in humanity buoyed up a little, may I direct you to Gardening with Soul, a lovely, gentle study of a year in the life of Sister Loyola, the 90-year-old chief gardener of Wellington's Home of Compassion. You will not encounter a more energetic person on film this year: a generational icon of pragmatic, cheerful, can-do Kiwi virtues.– David Larsen, previews the NZ Film Festival programme in The Listener
Composed by David Long