meet our master gardeners


Lynne Rush

Lynne Rush has been an Iowa County Master Gardener since 2008. She enjoy learning about shade gardening as that is what she has most of in her own yard. She loves growing tea roses as her grandmother and mother taught her to love their beauty and fragrance. She also grows a few vegetables in her garden and cannot wait for tomatoes to ripen each summer! She believes our fellow Master Gardeners are accomplished with varied interests and are a pleasure to work with. One of her areas of interest is encouraging the use of rain barrels to conserve water and reduce run-off from our lawns. She also loves composting.



Becky Birch

Becky has been a Master Gardener since 2012. Her interest in gardening has spanned decades sparked by fond memories as a child picking peas and green beans from her family's garden. She lives on a small acreage outside Marengo with her husband, who is also a Master Gardener, two cats and a dog.
In addition to gardening, Becky's other main interests are beekeeping and environmental conservation with an emphasis on planting and care of trees and prairie restoration. She and her husband have been beekeepers since 2009 and are members of the Iowa Honey Produces Association. Becky's interest in expanding her knowledge of native trees lead her to enroll in and complete a Treekeepers course in 2017. She and her husband are members of Trees Forever, an Iowa-based non-profit organization dedicated to connecting people to the environment through planting and care of trees.


Kathy Larson

Kathy has been a Master Gardener since 2017. She started gardening in the large family garden of her youth and still grows a large portion of her food each year.  She likes to try new vegetables and new varieties, always looking for the best producing and the tastiest varieties.  In addition to vegetables she grows a variety of herbs, native plants, perennials, annuals and fruits.  


 Ursula Williams

Ursula Williams has been an Iowa County Master Gardener since 2008. She and her husband moved to Middle Amana in 2007 to a historic home that had four mature trees and two bushes on the grounds. Reluctant to move from their Linn County home of 33 years, she threw in the towel when her husband told her she could do anything she wanted to the front and back yards if they could make the move to Amana. Now her home is surrounded with trees, perennials, hardscape, annuals, and is on the yearly Garden Walk in June and August. She also plants and maintains the large “street garden” which is in the front rows/fence lines of Concord grapes which predate historic/communal Amana. Her goal is to provide beauty and inspiration to everyone who visits her home, and hopefully be able to answer any questions about her landscape. If she doesn’t know the answer, she will find the answer from a fellow Iowa County MG!
Ursula appreciates the smaller sized group of Iowa County Master Gardeners and says there is a powerful wealth of information in this group. Personal experience, formal teaching/learning opportunities, and various projects provide information for any potential or existing gardener.


Kayla Haupt

Kayla has been a Master Gardener since 2017 and is from Wellman, IA. She lives on a 3.5 acre farm and grows organic vegetables, fruits, herbs, and cut flowers for her CSA program and local farmers markets. The farm is home to a flock of chickens, ducks, and a hive of honeybees. She is knowledgeable in the areas of organic vegetable and herb growing, composting, annual and perennial flowers, and IPM.