Donahue wife preserves her husband’s legacy through gardening
“Now it’s been 20 years and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I think I’m going to stay a little longer.'”
DONAHUE, Iowa – For two decades flower lovers have traveled to the Scott County countryside to explore a magical place. This is Miss Effie’s Country Flowers outside of Donahue, Iowa.
“These two whole acres have been magical for the people,” says owner Cathy Lafrenz.
She says she and her husband Honey built this garden together, tending to perennials, building grates for annuals, and keeping a flock of chickens for eggs. Honey was always with Cathy from planting to harvest.
But this spring the rows of flowers have been calmer. Honey passed away in April 2020. He first fought cancer and then pneumonia.
“We were always a team working together,” she says. “It wasn’t COVID, but there was nothing, no antibiotics at all would take it.”
Cathy said she wasn’t sure she could maintain her garden without Honey. But he reassured her before leaving.
“I said (to Honey), ‘I don’t know if I can do this anymore. And he said, ‘You have to do it,’ ”she recalls.
He told her that there was a young girl, who had loved coming to the garden since she was little. He said the garden should be there for his senior photos.
Cathy says the family emailed her to have these photos taken.
And she always sees a wave of support from clients, friends and volunteers. Cathy says she will keep her husband’s memory alive.
“I really believe his soul is there. It’s not in a cemetery. It’s here, ”she said.
Miss Effie’s Country Flowers is open Thursday through Sunday. It also offers subscriptions for prefabricated packages.
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