Calgary woman hopes garden will help curb marriage epidemic – Calgary

A Calgary woman has a novel solution for couples looking for a wedding venue when times are tough.

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to squeeze in events wherever they can, Joan Hollingsworth is offering up her garden.

Featuring waterfalls, a stream and fish ponds, all amid thousands of flowers, Hollingsworth’s garden covers her backyard in southwest Calgary.

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Hollingsworth invited three veterans of the wedding industry to tour her garden on Monday.

The pandemic means all three are very busy these days.

“This year is crazy,” said wedding planner Nikki Cook. “People are getting married every day of the week because it’s so hard to find a place.”

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Hollingsworth is willing to rent out his garden to those who find themselves dealing with this predicament.

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“Getting married these days is an expensive proposition,” Hollingsworth said. “For those looking for a more unique venue, here’s an opportunity for something a little more reasonable.”

Hollingsworth’s yard is already a hot spot on the garden tour circuit.

“The Calgary Horticultural Society was here on Sunday with 120 people on a garden tour,” Hollingsworth said.

Wedding photographer Ryan McMillan was among those checking out the garden on Monday.

“As a photographer, I just look at the places where I can get the images,” McMillan said, “the color palette you can work with and the textures.”

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Marriage Commissioner Jerry Stilson, who is also on Monday’s tour, says the garden setting symbolizes many aspects of marriage.

“You look at the amount of work, and look at it from a relationship perspective, it takes a lot of work to make relationships beautiful,” Stilson said. “And you’ll have to get your hands dirty, I’m sure.”

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Hollingsworth’s husband Bruce Yorga certainly gets his hands dirty in his garden.

“He’s a muscle man, mister fix him,” said Hollingworth.

Yurg is proud of what he and his wife are creating together.

“Every season, from May to October, this garden is completely transformed,” Yurga said.

Anyone interested in contacting Hollingsworth about renting the garden can contact him at travelsinc@shaw.ca.

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