Kori and Brian Kasper took an empty corner at Lake and Benton streets across from the Santori Library and made it a bit of paradise. The Kaspers, both from Wheaton, opened Branch Gardens, 77 S. Lake St., to the public on May 4.
The couple met each other in high school, later became friends, and then got married. Brian studied horticulture and Kori studied fashion design while working in a beauty salon.
Kori said Brian is the brains of Branch Gardens. He also has experience working in other landscaping companies and working on Kasper’s Trees. Kori helped him on the weekends, and she started to get into landscaping when she was 25. She was the one that had given Brian the idea to start and open Branch Gardens after a few comments coming from people who wanted to know if they did gardening. Now at 28, Kori is the one that stays at Branch Gardens, while Brian works at another job. Brian still helps out with anything that Kori needs a hand on, and he is the “tree expert.” She said, he is “(my) go-to in case I need anything.”
This spring, Branch Gardens has perennials, annuals, succulents, cacti, house plants, a new air plant that doesn’t need soil, and more. While Branch Gardens is mainly focused on plants and trees, Kori is selling decor frames for Mother’s Day, and the quaint indoor store has a nice selection of pots, outdoor art, soaps, and miscellaneous garden accessories.
Kori said her inspiration comes from Northwind Perennial Farm that is owned by Roy Diblik and is located in Burlington, Wisconsin. It made her fall in love with landscaping, and giving it a little touch of design to it.
The couple is excited to share Branch Gardens with the public, and are ready for more customers. “I love talking to everybody. Come on down,” Kori said.
Story by Aimee Zarco. Zarco is an intern for Aurora Downtown for summer 2018. She is a student at Aurora University. Photo by Marissa Amoni. Courtesy of Aurora Downtown.