‘Plant ladies’ – Philomena Sankerali

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April 6, 2023

‘Plant ladies’ – Philomena Sankerali

Meet Philomena Sankerali, one of my favourite plant ladies from Couva. Philomena is one of the owners of the Olden House of Plants, a home-based plant shop located on the Southern Main Road, Couva.

Philomena, and her kind-spirited daughter-in-law Ria, give visitors an unbelievably beautiful experience of God’s grandeur in nature.

Philomena is also a team member responsible for decorating the parish of St Paul’s, Couva with magnificent plants, but most importantly, she is a truly beautiful soul.

Philomena’s love for plants is legendary in Couva. Like many others in our parish, I have held her in admiration for decades.

Earlier this year, she opened her doors to an Eco Divina retreat with the Congregation of the Holy Faith Sisters. We were greeted with gifts of water, cupcakes and plants as we entered her almost divine establishment.

The mother of six later confessed, “I like to watch my Indian movies, and, in the movies, I learnt that I must welcome my guests with something sweet and something to drink.”

When this delightful lady is not at home, she can often be found participating in activities in St Paul’s, visiting elderly parishioners to ensure that they are okay, or plant shopping throughout Trinidad and Tobago.

Whilst visiting, she told me a story of a man who visited her shop recently and asked her for a piece of Gaelic plant. “I just break it and give it to him, and I give him some seeds for the purple one too,” she said.

“Does he not realise that this is a plant shop? How can he ask for a free plant?”

I asked indignantly. She replied without missing a beat, “Girl, how you feel I get all them plants? Is from people giving me a piece! I didn’t buy all of this, so I don’t mind giving people a piece here and there.” At that moment, I looked at both her and her garden with new wonder and delight.

When you come to the gates of this quaint little shop, you’re greeted by an amazing statue of Our Lady, and Philomena’s smiling face. This might be enough for you to understand that evangelising can be done in many ways that rarely require speech.

As we enter the Easter season, I am delighted to share with you my ten top pictures from our Eco Divina experience in this beautiful garden of Philomena. These pictures represent not just beautiful plants, but decades of love and devotion to the earth by a truly inspirational, Catholic plant lady.

If you fall in love with any of the plants, please call 788-8948.