Interesting Tid-Bits to Share

Make the Fall Leaves Work for You!

Source: From our friends at
Each day, I wake up to more leaves falling from my trees. Last weekend, when my 4-year old grandson came for a visit, he was SO EXCITED when he saw my yard!  “Can I rake, Grandma?” was his first question. “You bet, Simon!” was my immediate reply. Years ago, when my dad made me rake, I saw the job as useless, endless drudgery. Today I see it in a different light. Those leaves can help me make my lawn and garden beautiful AND save me a bunch of money in the process. Make the leaves work for you, instead of the other way around!

Things to do:

  • Use mulched leaves as a protective and insulating cover for the perennials in your garden. Not only do they protect the plants, they also help retain the moisture and suppress weeds. Pile ‘em on! 
  •  Make leaf mold. No…this is not an art project! English gardeners love this rich compost made from leaves. Simply collect your leaves (whole or mulched) in bags or bins, keep moist, and let the fungi do its thing. In a few years, you’ll have a beautiful, rich compost full of essential nutrients. And it won’t cost you a thing
  • Use leaves to store root vegetables. Store carrots, beets, yams, and other root vegetables between layers of freshly fallen leaves sprinkled with just a little bit of water. Store in a cool spot. If you don’t grow your own, hit the local farmers’ market to stock up for the winter months. 
  • Mulch them into your lawn by mowing over them a few times. The broken-down leaves will add helpful nutrients and organic matter to your lawn, making it look even better next spring.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac gives these and many other ideas of things to do in your yard this time of year.  Find more at:  My personal favorite and the one that Simon and I did while he was here: make a playground! Rake the leaves into a BIG pile and take turns jumping in! I was so busy laughing, I forgot to take pictures. Drats! Maybe next time…

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2017 Business Beautification Award Winner


The winner of Roots and Branches Business Beautification Award for 2017 is “The Red House” Creative Cuts, 530 Walnut Street. Verna Reindl accepted the award at Roots and Branches Garden Party in the Vineyard on September 27th, along with three other finalists representing “A Conversation Piece, 132 S. 6th, Trinity Lutheran Church, 140 N. 7th Avenue, and Woodridge Chiropractic, 1624 Clarence Court.

The Business Beautification award recognizes businesses whose buildings and landscaping positively impact the community, helping to make West Bend an even more beautiful place in which to live, work and visit. Previous winners include:  West Bend Mutual Insurance Company, Westbury Bank Home Loan Center, Commerce State Bank, The Frisby House, Januli’s Italian Deli and Pizzeria, Gehl Company/Manitou Americas, Museum of Wisconsin Art, Delta Defense, Schmidt Funeral Home, Murphy Media and Kiera’s Closet. 


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The West Bend Mutual Insurance Company "Business Beautification Award" Finalist

Roots and Branches is pleased to announce four finalists for the West Bend Mutual Insurance Company Business Beautification Award.”  The award is named after West Bend Mutual Insurance Company, our first recipient of the award.  The award encourages businesses in the community to improve their facilities and landscapes to help make West Bend and even more beautiful place in which to live, work and visit.

The five finalists are:  A Conversation Piece, 132 S. 6th Avenue, The Red House, 530 Walnut Street, Trinity Lutheran Church, 140 N. 7th Avenue and Woodridge Chiropractic, 1624 Clarence Court.  The finalists will be recognized and the winner announced at the Roots and Branches Garden Party Reception on Wednesday, September 27th, at the Prairie Center in West Bend Mutual.   We invite you to join us to celebrate at the “most fun party in town.”  Call 335-5083 for more details or check us out on the web

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Roots and Branches Invites you to a...Garden Party in the Vineyard

Sponsored by West Bend Mutual Insurance Company

at the Prairie Center in WBMI

September 27th at 5:30pm

You're invited to come to "The Most Fun Party in Town" sponsored by West Bend Mutual Insurance! Join our Honorary Hosts, George and Judi Prescott, and our celebrity friends for a fun-filled "Celebrity Plant Challenge." Plants get adorned with prizes that will amaze and put up for bid in the live auction. Some other live auction items are Behind the Scene Tour of the Milwaukee County Zoo, four trees with naming rights to be planted in the new Riverwalk, a VIP Brewers package and more.  The event also includes a great array of silent auction items, fantastic raffle prizes and a "Hang-It-Again Art Sale. New this year - Wine and Beer Tasting.

Featured celebrities are Mary Ellen O’Connor (West Bend Mutual), Pat O’Connor (BMO Harris Bank), Prudy Pick H’way (Pick Heaters), Bill Laufer (Candyman On Main) Ben Anderson & Travis Dowden (Bibinger’s Bar & Restaurant), Rob Johnson (KM-YMCA), Ann Johnson St. Josephs Community Foundation,  Bill Mitchell (WMBZ/WIBD), Randy Stark (West Bend Mutual), Rose Petitte (Horicon Bank), Gaytha Hillman (GrandCare Systems,) Jane Maley (UWWC-Ambassador President) and Jay Shambeau, West Bend City Administrator.   

The finalists and winner of the Business Beautification Award will also be announced at the Garden Party.  This is a fundraiser for Roots and Branches to support its year-round programs to improve the environment in our community.  

Individual Tickets are $30 per person and may be purchased online at Bring friends and sponsor a table for eight for $250. Questions?  Call 335-5083 or email us at   We hope to see you there! Please R.S.V.P. by September 15th. 

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Garden Tour-New Two Day Tour

Garden Tour

July 15th 9am to 3pm July 16th Noon to 3pm

Enjoy a self-guided driving tour of private gardens open to the public. NEW two day tour this year! Must See features include: A G Scale Train, Whimsical Garden Art, Hostas Galore including varieties developed with Dave Winniger from Boerner Gardens, Elaborate Water Displays and SO MUCH MORE!!!

Make a day of it and stop for lunch at one of three excellent restaurants downtown, Dublin’s, The Idle Hour or Two or Riverside Brewery, and receive 10% off of your lunch with your ticket.   And, there will be a special drawing for a lovely bird bath, as well as a raffle. Also, find a large selection of special garden art waiting for you at the Garden Art Sale at Main & Vine on Saturday during the tour hours.  The Garden Art Sale is open to the public.    

Tickets are available in West Bend at Steins Garden Center, Chamber of Commerce on Main St., Piggly Wiggly in West Bend, Park & Rec Department in City Hall.  You can also get tickets on line at or purchase them at the first garden 1911 Brook Court in West Bend.  Call 262-335-5083 for more information.

Sponsors for this year’s tour are: West Bend Mutual Insurance Company, Miller Monument, P.M.F. Landscape Supply, B&L Graphic Solutions, Jason Wealth Management.  Bottled water is available courtesy of Seven Up.  Proceeds from the tour will be returned to the community through the many programs of Roots and Branches. (If you are interested in submitting your garden for future consideration for the tour, please contact us at Roots and Branches 262-335-5083.)


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Amazing Volunteers Make for an Amazing Event

There are many, many amazing volunteers that contribute to make the Roots and Branches Plant Sale Fundraiser a success each year. A big thanks to those that helped prepare, unload and setup for the event. We thank you all for your hard work and contributions toward making West Bend a more beautiful community. A special thanks to the Army National Guard members who have continued to help out each year including MSG Wayne Sharp, SSG Mary Brill and SPC Colton Stackhase. 

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Don't Miss Roots and Branches Plant Sale...The Best Plant Sale in Town


 MAY 19 -12:00 Noon TO 8:00 P.M.

MAY 20 - 8:00 A.M. to Noon

Corner of Main & Vine

Beautiful perennials and annuals are waiting for you at Roots and Branches Plant Sale Friday, May 19, 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, May 20, 8:00 a.m. to noon at the corner of Main & Vine (across from the Police Station.)  Plants are locally grown, winter hardy perennials which are selling for $6 a pot or 5 or more $5.00.  They’re ready to flourish in your garden today.  We also have annuals that are also healthy, hardy and locally grown.  All Petunias are $11 a flat of 48 (except Wave Petunias) and all other flats are $15.      

New perennials available this year are; shade plants Fire and Ice Hosta, sun plants Purple Rooster Bee Balm, Muscadet Oriental Lily & Eric the Red Siberian Iris;  Apricot Petticoats & George Jets On Daylilies and so much more.  

The plant sale is the major fund raiser for Roots and Branches that provides funds for all of the other programs throughout the year, such as seminars, free and open to the public, Arbor Day program in the schools, “Gardens of West Bend” tour in July, Mayor’s Beautification Awards, Cleanup Greenup city-wide spring clean up and much more.  The funds from the sale also help provide plants and flowers throughout the city in adopt-a-plot gardens.   

Roots and Branches Plant Sale





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Cleanup Greenup Success!

Over a 100 members of the West Bend Community came out Saturday, May 6th to enjoy the beautiful sunny day and cleanup our city parks and greens spaces, including Goodwill Industries of West Bend, Cub Scout Pack 3791, Badger Middle School Volunteer Club, Connect Cell, Good Luck 4-H Club, Rivershores Edge Subdivision and Girl Scout Troop 6241.

A great many thanks again to our event sponsor Modern Woodmen of America and a special thanks to Dunn Brothers Coffee for providing tasty hot chocolate and coffee for our fantastic volunteers.  

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Arbor Day at Good Shepherd Lutheran School


 Roots and Branches and students at Good Shepherd Lutheran School celebrated Arbor Day on Friday, April 28th at 2:00 p.m.  It was the twenty-seventh year that Roots and Branches has presented the Arbor Day Program in the schools.   With a “Live TV Show,” students participated on two teams, representing Maple Trees and Oak Trees in answering questions about the importance of trees in our environment.

Jim Sievert, Principal of Good Shepherd welcomed guests and turned the program over to Forest Ranger AJ, AJ Brandt, who introduced the guests and got the program started.  We were joined by Erik Olsen, Superintendent of Schools in West Bend, Alderman Roger Kist,  representatives from state government, Representative Bob Gannon,  Park, Recreation and Forestry Department staff, Director Craig Hoeppner, Superintendent Mike Jentsch, and City Arborist, and DNR representative Olivia Whittun presented the city with The Tree City flag that was presented to Good Shepherd School to display on Arbor Day each year. 

Service Berry trees were given to all 4th grade students in the public schools and 5th grade students in the parochial schools to take home and plant with their families.  Each year the program is rotated between all public and parochial schools in West Bend.  WE Energies is sponsored the Arbor Day Program again this year, represented by Rob Inglish.

The city tree, Autumn Blaze Maple, was planted on the grounds of the participating school and the students went outside to help plant the tree.

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