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A walk to remember
‘Take A Garden Walk’ to improve the neighborhood
Cathy Hauck
Cathy Hauck finds tranquility alongside her zen gnome in Infinity Yoga Studio’s garden. Come find peace on the Garden Walk, June 26. - photo by Angie Maag

MONROE — After postponing for two years, the Green County Master Gardeners are ready to welcome all travelers for a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood in the “Take a Garden Walk” fundraiser. 

Previously in 2018, the walk was able to donate $2,500 for the Monroe Clinic Hospice residential home. It is Susan Konopacki‘s hope to do so again. 

“It is a great cause,” said Konopacki, a master gardener. “People have beautiful gardens they want to share, and this gives them a chance to also give back to the community in a new way.”

Konopacki is a charter member of the master gardeners’ program. In order to become a member, one must complete 10 hours of continuing education as well as 20 hours of volunteer service to keep the title.

“There are no boundaries when it comes to gardening,” said Konopacki. “You just have to get your hands in the dirt.” 

Gardening is not just for the gardener, but for all who enjoy viewing beautiful scenery. The Hospice itself has used funds from the Garden Walk to do their own landscaping. 

This has special meaning for Jan Lefevre, who has a stop on the tour. 

Featured Gardens in Monroe

•  Mike and Cheryl Bystry, 1109 11th Ave.

•  Cathy Hauck, Infinity Yoga Studio, 1218 17th Ave.

•  Jan Lefevre, 2115 14th St.

•  Dick and Sue Leuzinger, 1915 Lincoln Rd.

•  Deb Vande Hey, 711 28th Ave.

“When I heard the proceeds go to the hospice, I said, ‘Perfect. Just perfect,’” Jan said.

Jan’s mother, Marjorie Bos, another fellow gardener, resided in the hospice before her passing.

“I get teary eyed just thinking about it,” Jan said. “She had the most wonderful nurses.”

The “Take a Garden Walk” event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 26 and will take walkers through five different neighborhood gardens in Monroe. All proceeds will benefit the Monroe Clinic Hospice residential home. The funds will be designated toward landscaping projects that will boost the morale of residents, their families and the staff. 

Included with ticket purchase is a map to guide garden enthusiasts along their journey. Marks will be designated indicating wheelchair accessible gardens with at least partial views as well as available public restrooms around town. Service dogs are allowed in the gardens but all other pets are expected to be left at home.

Tickets will be available in advance at the office of The Monroe Chamber of Commerce or purchased at any of the garden locations during the event. The tour will be held rain or shine. Those sharing their gardens on the walk will be: Mike and Cheryl Bystry, Cathy Hauck, Jan Lefevre, Dick and Sue Leuzinger, and Deb Vande Hey. The event is open to the public.

When I heard the proceeds go to the hospice, I said, ‘Perfect. Just perfect.’
Jan Lefevre, Monroe

Collections: A room for everyone

Magic fairies, miracle trees, infinite possibilities. Cathy Hauck of Infinity Yoga Studios has it all. Each section of her garden is uniquely its own and yet interconnected. 

Cathy has lived in Monroe for 16 years and worked on perfecting her garden for four years. Much like her pear tree, she preserves. Cathy enjoys taking unused objects and giving them new purpose. This is how she brings life into her garden.“

My woodcarvings were done by Zoli,” Cathy said. “They used to be 110-foot-tall pine trees that grew back here (her garden). The building inspector said they needed to come down, so we repurposed them to give them new life.”

The former trees now tree-pose where they once stood. Cathy has also created a garden outline using old bricks from the studio. She has many more she can use. Scattered throughout the garden are objects one used and now cycled to make beautiful scenery. Among the items on display are bath tubs from the remodeled apartments above the studio, chairs from Cathy’s grandparents and farm equipment rearranged to resemble flowers. 

“I’m a collector,” Cathy said. “I love creating new from old. Each of my little gardens are unique rooms. There’s something for everyone.”

Deb’s wonderland of memories

After moving between 24 homes as a child, Deb Vande Hey was used to life being ever changing. With each new place, Deb took a bit of the old. 

“I had to bring my plants with me,” Deb said. “Some of these plants I’ve had for over 40 years.”

Before moving to Monroe, Deb had to pack 28 trunk loads of plants. For 13 years Deb has cultivated her garden. There is not a plant nor object in her garden that does not have a story behind it. 

Deb has what she calls St. Louis hostas. They were a gift from some men who lived in St. Louis. Three years prior, the men had shared a meal in Deb’s garden, taking in the lovely sites. They decided to show their gratitude through their shared love of plants.

After the passing of her colleague, Susan Yost, Deb adopted some of Susan’s plants and placed them in her front lawn. 

“Whenever I see them, I say to myself, I have Susan growing in my yard,” Deb said, bringing a wistful smile to her face. 

By the front door resides a small figurine of a yorkie dog. It represents Deb’s dearly departed dog. 

“My Buster is always with me every day,” Deb said.

Following around back, Deb has several purple spiderworts which she received from her son. In the center of her backyard is a lone statue.

“I have this Dutchboy for my dad,” Deb said. “I’m very proud of my heritage.”

Deb has a family book outline all of her ancestry down until her parents were married.