Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Nun notches up NZ Gardener of the Year title

Press Release
Embargoed: 7.30pm 22 October 2008

Nun notches up national NZ Gardener of the Year 2008 title

An 86-year-old Wellington nun who set up a community garden that rents vege plots to apartment dwellers has been named NZ Gardener 2008 Gardener of the Year.

Sister Loyola Galvin from the Home of Compassion in the coastal suburb of Island Bay was the clear winner in a public vote from among 15 regional champions.

NZ Gardener magazine’s ultimate accolade aims to recognise New Zealand’s unsung horticultural heroes who use their passion for gardening to give back to the community.

Sister Loyola has won a prize package of $5000 to spend at Bunnings Warehouse and a luxury trip for two to Hunter’s Garden Marlborough for her efforts to encourage novice gardeners to grow their own food.

Sister Loyola set up the Common Ground community garden scheme, putting aside an area of lawn at the Home of Compassion for allotment-style gardens for apartment dwellers who have no land to grow food. Members of the scheme, and two gardening writers from the Dominion Post newspaper nominated her for the award.

She began gardening when she was in her early 70s, after “retiring” from a life of nursing, counselling and chaplaincy work. When asked what she’d like to do she said, “I’d like to go outside, because at the time they couldn’t afford a man full time in the grounds and I thought I could do it.”

At the age of 81, Sister Loyola was accepted for a permaculture course, which led to a meeting with a group of friends looking for a place to grow produce. She asked religious leader Sister Rae whether a 4ha area of garden could be used by the community. The rest is history, and now a Common Ground and 16 individual plots produce fresh produce for “different people who live in the concrete jungle”.

Sister Loyola says she feels “in touch with reality” when she’s gardening and hopes that her efforts are helping to preserve the planet for future generations.

“Sister Loyola is a true inspiration,” says NZ Gardener editor Lynda Hallinan. “You’ll find her outdoors, whatever the weather, potting up seedlings, making compost and sharing her warmth and wisdom with beginner gardeners.

“She is right up there with celebrity chefs such as Jamie Olivier in pioneering growing your own food. Her community gardening scheme was ahead of its time,” she says.

The runner-up for NZ Gardener 2008 Gardener of the Year was Auckland’s 87-year-old Margaret Jones. Margaret joined the Soil and Health Association in 1941 and, 67 years later, her motto is still: “Don’t panic, it’s organic!”.

NZ Gardener editor Lynda Hallinan says: “Margaret Jones is living proof that eating organic food is good for you. She hasn’t been to a doctor in 30 years and, as well as all her community work, she still has plenty of energy to go dancing twice a week.”

Read more about NZ Gardener 2008 Gardener of the Year Sister Loyola in the November issue of NZ Gardener, on sale now.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Kakī: World’s Rarest Wading Bird Released In Mackenzie Basin

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the birds will add to the 60 released into the Tasman valley earlier this month, significantly boosting the wild population. More>>


IHC Tribute: Colin Meads

"While Colin is best known for rugby, to us he is one of a small number of distinguished IHC New Zealand Life Members recognised for their significant support for people with intellectual disabilities," says IHC Chief Executive Ralph Jones. More>>


Howard Davis Review: Tilting at Turbines - The Trip to Spain

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have now both broken the Big Fifty barrier, which seems to have brought a whole new level of angst to their midlife adventures ... More>>

Review: A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has accepted the challenge of this heart-touching tragedy and largely succeeded. More>>


NZ's First Male IAAF Gold: Tom Walsh's Historic Shot Put Victory

Although feeling very sore but with a great feeling Tom Walsh took his place as number one on the victory dais to receive his much deserved gold medal. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Hard To Find Books

"Unfortunately we are in crisis and this friendly dinosaur faces extinction… Our only hope is to try and raise funds to buy the building and restore it to its glory, either fully funded or with a viable deposit." More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland