Garden Respite
Garden Respite
Lakeland’s 1.2-Acre Hollis Garden Delights and Mesmerizes
MARY TOOTHMAN

THE CITY OF LAKELAND has its share of treasures, and one that is a particular point of pride is the lovely Hollis Garden. The unique, formal garden has 16 rooms, more than 10,000 flowers, shade trees and ornamental shrubs and hosts nuptials with dozens of brides and grooms each year.

Popular yet serenely quiet, the 1.2-acre garden located within the historic Lake Mirror Park was established when Lynn Hollis and her late husband, Mark, decided to donate for its creation. It opened in December 2000.

The garden was an addition to the renovation of the Lake Mirror Civic Center. A garden was intended to be featured on the south side of Lake Mirror, but had never been set up. Mark and Lynn Hollis came up with the idea of Hollis Garden after they visited a garden in New Zealand.

Hollis Garden’s primary caretaker is city employee Kevin Polk, who is delighted to have a job devoted to the care of the garden. “I’ve been working in Hollis Garden since I was 19 years old, so for 17 years,” he says. “I started out working for the Parks and Recreation Department, maintaining the routes downtown and around Lake Mirror.

“When the position opened up in Hollis, I was very interested in the opportunity to work there. I chose to work with plants because I have been interested in nature my entire life. I’ve always loved the outdoors, and growing vegetables, flowers, and herbs. My great-grandma got me into it when I was young, and that’s what got me started.

“I was promoted to grounds maintenance supervisor a little over a year ago, and was very psyched to get the opportunity to continue the direction, vision and mission for Hollis Garden. I love my career and I have a passion for what I do.”

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January 2020