WAUSAU (WAOW) -- The Robert Monk Gardens in Wausau started as a vision years ago. The property donated by Robert Monk, a long time Wausau resident.
Since Monk passed away, a group of volunteers have taken his dream and made it a reality.
Joel Lewis grew up in the woods with a passion for nature. He and dozens of other volunteers are taking that passion and planting it here making this 20 acre property into a botanical garden a dream come true for Robert Monk.
Lewis says, "Mr. Monk is the one that donated all this land and he passed away this past November and it's really his vision."
It's something the Wausau community doesn't have. Red pine woods, mixed wildflowers and a butterfly garden. For Lewis, a botanical garden is just what north central Wisconsin needs.
Lewis says, "I think it's very important, especially in a place like Wisconsin that thrives off it's natural beauty. When you think of our property taxes, there's a reason why they're so high and I think this is so great because it's free and anyone can come and come with their kids."
In celebration of National Public Gardens Day, Volunteers from throughout the community are out here making this botanical garden a reality. A garden that will be the first of its kind in north central Wisconsin.
Monk Garden Board Member Darla Zastrow says, "We have seven protected species that we're planting here, which means you can't dig them from the wild or anywhere."
Mr. Monk's vision slowly building up thanks to the hard work of all these passionate gardeners and volunteers.
Zastrow says, "The neighborhood, the community is so passionate. It's overwhelming how exciting this is."
The project is funded by the Wisconsin Federation of Garden Clubs. The garden is located on First Avenue in Wausau near NTC. It's free and open to the public.