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Light a Fire in Your Garden, and Start By Gathering Twigs

Two Women Into Gardens—Kim Ladd and Laurie Wessman—shared their professional design ideas during a presentation at the Evergreen Park Public Library.

For starters, know this about Evergreen Park’s Kim Ladd and Frankfort’s Laurie Wessman: They are Twigs.

Two Women Into Gardens.

Twigs. It’s the name of their business—Twigs Garden Design. Their motto: “Enhance your nest.”

Both started playing around in the dirt. Both now make a living playing around with their hobby. And both have achieved a level of fame, too, as Master Gardeners and the acclaimed local girls of Better Homes and Gardens.

Photos of their gardens have been featured in the nationally distributed magazine, described by Amazon.com as the “down-to-earth guide for the woman who is passionate about her home and garden and all that they encompass.”

Passionate is a word that fits both Ladd and Wessman.

The two shared their vision of “The Ever-Changing Garden” at the Garden Club of Evergreen Park meeting on Thursday, March 1 in the Evergreen Park Public Library. Their presentation hit on a number of topics, including the need to “Embrace Change, The Move to Improve, Non-Negotiable Steps (assess your site, define your goals) and Cheap and Easy Ways to Help You Consider Options.”

And it’s not too early to get started.

“What we really like to do is start preparing in March, like laying down a nice, thick compost or mulch bed,” Ladd said. “And just let the earth start warming up and getting all its nutrition from natural things as opposed to adding fertilizer or whatever, because we all get the itch to do things.

“There are a couple of woody things that you can cut down. The sun comes out, and I want to do go outside. But I know I can’t do too much. I have to be patient as a gardener.

"So, if we start mulching and adding compost in early March, it’s an easy lay down. We don’t have any plants coming up yet. Everything is going to come up through it. So, that’s really what we recommend to do in early March.”

Want to do more? Tug open that desk drawer, pull out a pencil and piece of paper, too.

“You don’t have to do soil testing,” Wessman said. “I know some people are very much attuned to that. We don’t make it that complicated. We like to keep it simple. So, keeping in mind those two non-negotiable things, the next thing to do when we say map out—what we literally do is play with shapes on paper.

“What we like to do is take a piece of tracing paper and put it over a photograph of your home or your yard—whatever area you’re working with. Look it at and say, ‘OK, this area over here is so flat. Let’s draw some triangles.’ That’s going to give you a feel of what something with height can do for you.

“So, you map out your yard strictly with shapes. And, then from there, you plug in your plant material afterward. Don’t get consumed with, ‘Oh, well, which plant should I put there?’ No, no, no. We don’t need that.

"We just need form. That’s step No. 1. What we like to do is break it down into a simplistic process. Don’t make everything seem so overwhelming. One step at a time.”

Evergreen Park Garden Club vice president Karen Kling is joining the Twigs movement.

“I grew up on a farm,” Kling said. “For me, it’s about learning to garden in the city.”

You may contact Kim Ladd or Lisa Wessman via email

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