Girlfriends, Gardens, Giveaways, and Gab

Hi Everyone!  I just had to start off today with a big heartfelt Thank You — I spent all day yesterday writing a brand new Willard which will start going out to everyone next Tuesday . . . and in between, when I wanted a little entertainment, I would make myself a cup of tea and read your wonderful comments!  You are all the things I love most about my girlfriends . . .

For me, and for each other!  You make every day Valentine’s Day!


And now I guess we should get to the main reason we are gathering here today, the very big excitement we have brewing on this blog, what we’ve been waiting for with tea cups in hand, which is to find out the name of the winner for that Heart-Shaped Iron Pan and the Emma Love Tin we’re giving away to one of our lucky girlfriends.

But perhaps not!  Let’s not be too predictable; a little build up of expectation is fun, besides, until I type out the actual name of the winner, you are ALL still lucky winners, and I really like that so much better!  The hardest thing is to set the Random Number Generator into action and just choose one!  I’m like a mom who likes the presents to be opened really slowly at Christmas so I can see my kids faces.  Wade through this first and I’ll tell you at the end.  First I want to show you what I got for Valentine’s Day.  If you’re a darling, tall, smart, handsome man named Joe, what do you get the girl who has everything?

♥      ♥     ♥

You fix it so that when she wakes up, the kitchen windows are covered in heart doilies (after you put small red hearts in the center of each of them); you bring home a ruffly bouquet of pink roses; and of course: bling.  You never forget the bling, she must have blinding proof of your love, bring her a gleaming red heart ring, preferably the size of a knee.  I delivered my Valentine gifts to my girlfriends, flashing my new bubble-gum machine bling, and they knew I was loved.  And so did I.  My funny Valentine, don’t change a hair for me, not if you care for me . . . 

OK, pour your tea, we have to get going, I have business to talk to you about today:  I’m calling today TCOBD:  Taking Care of Business Day.  I will try not to bore you too much.  But I’ve gotten so many blog-oriented questions lately, I thought I would put them in a pile and do them all at once and today’s the day.

I know many of you understand how blogs work, but lots of you aren’t sure; we have new girlfriends joining us every day, and I remember how it felt to leave a comment and have it disappear.  I would work so hard on my comment, and then it would go away, leaving my connection to that blogger and her followers out in the cold, never to be seen by human eyes, making me feel like an idiot.  Everyone else could do it, what was wrong with me?  (This is rhetorical, you don’t have to answer :-)) So I thought I’d make sure that doesn’t happen to any of you and explain how this blog works.  There are no photos that “go with” this subject, so I am going to scatter pictures of my Central-Coast-of-California picket-fence garden between the paragraphs.  OK? Because I’m getting a bit of a yearn to get my hands into some garden dirt. I think it might feel inspiring to see a little garden in bloom right now . . .

Mmmm, can’t you just smell those roses and wild alyssum and those California hills?  We found that giant homemade birdhouse at a flea market.

OK, back to business, I’d like to deal with the biggest troublemaker first: the RSS Feed you see in the column on the right of the blog: see where it says, “Subscribe, Click Here?” I’m thinking about taking that down.  If you click on it, you can sign up to receive emails telling you my blog has been updated, and they send the actual blog to your email address, which sounds like a good thing.  But there are drawbacks, which is one of the main reasons I’m writing today.  Thousands of you have signed up for it, so you get this blog directly to your email account — but there are three main things going wrong with this method of reading the blog.  Number one, for better or for worse :-), you don’t get any of my homemade videos, so you don’t get to see Jack leaping in the air to go after a ball, you don’t get to see any snowstorms on Martha’s Vineyard, or walks in the woods.  All those big black squares you’ve been seeing?  In real life, those are movies.  You can probably live without them, but there’s more.  Number two, none of the little icons at the top of the blog are visible to you, so you can’t see “Martha’s Vineyard Love Letter” or “Domesticity City,” you can’t see the Peter Rabbit room, or “I Love England” —  there’s a lot more on the actual blog that’s missing in those emails!  (People are reading this via email right now…they don’t know what I’m talking about — they have no right-hand column, no art icons, all they have are these words, which is why I’m writing to them now.) Number three, and the worse part of it, is that you can’t see our comment page; you can’t leave comments to enter our drawings, you can’t see each others comments . . . and that, of all of this, is the thing I miss for you the most, because you can’t see the smart, funny, charming comments full of love we get here everyday or leave any yourself! Girlfriends are talking to each other and making friends, I think you would enjoy seeing it.  But that part’s not delivered via email!

At least you can all see these breath-of-fresh-air pictures, but what you really need to do is allow the email to just be your alert that something new has been added to the blog, and then immediately come to www. and read the real blog, with all the art, the extras, the comment line, right here at the source. Up to now, any comments you leave from your emailed blog updates are coming, one by one, to a separate-from-the-blog info@ email address . . . which is invisible to the world.  Many of you have noticed there is no “comment” word at the bottom of your emailed post and are writing to ask where to leave your comments so you can enter the drawings.  In order to answer, I would have to send an individual email to each of you — I’ve tried, but it’s just an impossible job . . .  So come on over!!!  www. — where despite that it’s only February, the sun shines warmly and the garden is happy happy happy . . .


See what you’ve been missing?  So glad you’re here!  Next subject in this Thursday’s tutorial:  When I write a blog or a Willard you will see colored letters like that, underlined.  Not everyone knows they are links . . . if you click your cursor on the word Willard, you will be taken to a place where you can sign up to receive my Willard Newsletter and read how it got its name.  When I write the word MUSICA, and it’s underlined, you can click on it and get the musical selection for the day.  The idea is that if you click on it, a new screen from youtube will come up and music will start playing; if you don’t like it, click it off.  If you do like it, just leave it, move the screen over if necessary, because under the youtube screen, this blog screen is still there — come back here . . . to read with the music playing in the background.  I do it this way because I don’t really love it when I come to a blog and there’s music playing that I don’t like!  I get frantic looking for the volume button to turn it off; I’m easily driven insane and I wouldn’t want this to happen to you.  But music can be wonderful; I love the music my mom used to sing around the house when I was growing up, music from old beloved movies; I like to match it up to my post, like the Love music I did for Valentine’s Day, sometimes I think it’s the best part of the post, like what’s playing right now!

Several people ask me how to leave comments . . . just scroll to the bottom of any post, you will see the tiny word “comments” in grey letters with numbers next to it.  The numbers tell how many comments there are (and you should know, if you can’t tell by now, I read every one of them!).  Just click on the comments word, and you can leave yours.  Sometimes it will take a while for a comment to become visible; first off, I like to read them, and secondly, I have to approve each of them individually because, for some reason I still don’t understand, this blog attracts the Los Angeles Freeway system of spam.  Crazy silly nonsensical things, from vacuum cleaner updates, to rogue biting dog information. I don’t know why or where it comes from, but for every ten of your comments, I get three spam comments. Some of them are as long as a novel, we don’t want them on our pretty blog messing things up, so I have to physically delete every one of them — which is why sometimes your comments take a while to “approve.”  Have faith, I will always get there sooner or later.  The blog also has little quirks: if it wants, it will remove words; it will remove links; sometimes I think it loses complete comments — these things don’t happen often; there’s no rhyme nor reason to it; it’s probably what the future will be like when robots take over the world.  Disclaimer: It’s really not my fault.  I am only the human around here, and not totally in charge.

I love these colors together!

You’ll notice I’ve been leaving links all over this post today . . . because lots of people don’t know that under those little bits of art at the top of this page are things like my Book List, my Sewing Room, and Girl Food; stories about interesting Martha’s Vineyard people like Nancy Luce, or heroes like Gladys Taber and my dad.  They’re there so that when I’m away for a couple of days, you still have fun things to read.  I try to add new things there as often as possible, new How-To Recipes for example, there are lots of them, like the delicious Pineapple Upside-Down Cake I made for our Valentine’s Dinner.

I used to have a store in California; I would fill it with roses from my garden every morning, which is why I have this basketful here.  Someday I’ll do a blog and show you pictures of my store. It was lots of fun, maybe the most creative thing I ever did, making it beautiful every day, but it wanted so much of my time (picking roses!, I was crazy!)  So we opened a store on line where I can only show you pictures of roses!

Most of you know we have Shopping Pages here on the blog, but did you know we have lots of Free Stuff?  Stationery you can print out, pretty wallpaper for your computer screens, score sheets for games, bookmarks, and things like that?  We change them for the season, pretty soon we’ll have all new things for SPRING!!!  You’ll see we also put a Man Cave on our main shopping page!  A comfy place for the men in our lives to feel at home and shop for the women they love so they don’t have to wander aimlessly as they are so wont to do in hugely feminine places, poor babies. 

Are you still with me?  I’m trying to answer everything at once, then I will save this in the FAQ part of this blog so these questions will be forever answered.  The only other thing I wanted to tell you is that each of us has a way of making our computer screens lighter and brighter . . . if you do that, everything you see on the internet is prettier, flowers are brighter, watercolors are clearer.  If your screen is a little dark, look for a way to make it lighter; my keyboard has a button with a little sun on it, I press it and I can make the screen lighter or darker.  OK, that’s all the business for today.  I hope it helps someone!

In case my photos aren’t doing it for you today, and so this post isn’t a complete loss inspiration-wise, last night Joe and I finished watching a long lovely movie we got from Netflix.  It’s called Our Mutual Friend; the last book written by Charles Dickens, some say his greatest; it’s a 1998 BBC Miniseries — we loved it!

And now, along with roses from our Vineyard garden, a little drum roll please . . . because we are at that place, my darling friends; there is no getting around it; where one name and one name only must be drawn.  Here goes the Random Number Generator, into action . . . (RNG is such a terrible name; wouldn’t it be better if they called it “Vanna?”)

OK, here it comes, I can see Vanna’s golden hand with her pink nail polish and her glittering diamond rings dipping into the huge bowl filled with slips of paper . . . She’s stirring, now pulling one, pulling one, here it comes, oh! She went very deep this time . . . and the winner is… well girls, we don’t have a last name . . . but we have clues: the winner has a Yahoo email address, she’s a single mom with teenagers who loves creating things . . . I wrote her an email telling her she is our lucky winner . . . I’m waiting for her reply, maybe she’ll recognize herself . . . her name is

S H A R O N   J.

Congratulations Sharon!  You’re one in over 1,700!  I know I speak for all of us when I say how happy we are for you!  Your prizes will be in the mail just as soon as I hear from you!  I have to say, I’m so happy we have Vanna.  I would hate to have to choose the winner myself! What an impossible job, all those fabulous heartfelt funny wonderful comments.  I think you’re all wonderful.  Thank you for bringing me so much

Have a wonderful day! 

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496 Responses to Girlfriends, Gardens, Giveaways, and Gab

  1. Heidi Rose says:

    Susan, I think your website and blog are the very best on the web!! ♥ Thanks for the info for us technologically challenged. 🙂 I discovered recently that my city is #8 out of 101 places in the U.S. with the least amount of sunshine. Your blog brings me my daily dose of sunshine and inspiration, especially with your garden photos that are beeeooootiful! ♥ I’m looking forward to getting out in my garden for some “dirt therapy”. Already my tulips and Allium are poking up their heads which tells me spring (and maybe some sunshine) is on it’s way! Have a wonderful day!

  2. Paula K. says:

    Congratulations to Sharon! Susan, thank you for the beautiful garden pictures and of course your lovely artwork. I really like the idea of Vanna picking a winner. So much nicer to think of it that way!

  3. Laurie Walt says:

    Dear Sue-I so love and look forward to your blogs and photos! About a year ago I sent you photos of my garden. I used your picket fence idea and call my garden le piquet jardin. You were and are my inspiration! I also sent you pics of the healing garden I created for my 27 year old son, we (the family and friends) painted rocks for Ben with our wishes for him through all of his heart battles. We sit together and enjoy the sunshine, the sound of water trickling from the fountain and just be still in each others company or alone with God! Thank you for your positive words and inspiration:) I need them, and feel connected to all the girls through you!

    • sbranch says:

      Nowhere closer to God than in a garden. Perfect!

    • Susie says:

      How wonderful that you created a healing garden for your son, Laurie. What a beautiful idea. Currently I’m planning to convert our cutting garden at church to a cutting/prayer garden. I have various elements to include that were donated on behalf of deceased loved ones. Now you have me thinking of what can be included to “inspire” (for lack of a better word) healing of body and soul. Perhaps encouraging bible verses on plaques scattered through the garden?
      Thanks, Laurie and Susan for sharing your gardens.

  4. Betty T says:

    Hi Susan…an easier and quicker way to get to your blog from the email received, is to click on the title of the particular post…for instance…today’s is entitled “Girlfriends, Gardens…etc”. By clicking on the title the reader is taken directly to your blog. That is the way I do it.

    The people that subscribe to my blogs get an email and can go to either of my blogs by clicking on the title.

    Hope this helps your readers…

    Love your blog!!

  5. Tamara Scire says:

    Yea for Sharon J.! I’m excited because I ordered my own heart pan from Susan YEA!! So fun I can’t wait until it arrives and I get to make my family heart scones! Thank you Susan, for your blog and for your beautiful website and fun products! Tami Scire

  6. Jennie says:

    I love you for spelling it all out for everyone- it took me three years of blog land exploration to figure it all out and then starting my own blog? Oh I can’t tell you the frustration and even tears at first! There was no one to help! So ya know what I did? I prayed! I went to the ‘Big Man’ himself ’cause certainly if anyone gets this stuff, HE does! And He calmed me down, and walked me through! Trust me- there is no other man in my life patient enough to do that! 😉 Technology is certainly a double-edged sword.
    Thanks for the flowers and congrats to Sharon! Thank you for remembering that not everyone knows how to do everything- we are always learning (at least, we should be!)

  7. Linda says:

    Susan, Thanks for the book idea (Elizabeth and Her German Garden by the same author who wrote Enchanted April (Elizabeth von Arnim). I went on Amazon and got it for $.99 and lot of her other books for free as a Kindle download! Yay!

  8. Linda says:

    Oh, also, if you click on the Header of your e-mail version of the blog, it takes right to the original blog where you can see all the videos! I love it!! Linda

  9. Betty says:

    About 4-5 months ago I decided to read blogs through my email. Thought it was such a neat idea. About a week later I realized that something was missing….like all the neat things that make a blog – a blog! Quickly went back to “the old way” and have been a happy gal ever since…

  10. Debi says:

    I just love your gardens. I especially love the little fences around the framed gardens – it looks like you have one in California as well as on the island. Do you have any hints for how to plan a small one like that? Did you draw out a diagram and do you plant flowers that come up each year or plant new ones each spring? Is there a little walkway in the gardens? The remind me of Colonial Williamsburg gardens – so, so sweet.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I wrote about it in my Summer Book; but I’ll write all about it here soon — it’s really easy, it’s small, we just cut it out of the middle of our lawn at each house. I couldn’t really live without it! It’s like a toy!

  11. Mia Sophia says:

    Wait for it…wait for it…Sharon J. you are one very lucky winner! But we are all winners to be in on THE most beautiful blog! Susan…you makes every thing brighter, more colorful, taste better, fun and joyful! Those roses were the prettiest I’ve seen and the Valentine’s bling ring was darling. Thank you for sharing all the information to help us better understand. It answered some of my questions. Looking forward to Willard and whatever else you have in store for us girlfriends! Oh, Happy Day! XOXO

  12. Suzanne Larsen says:

    Hurray, a new blog posting. Susan Branch you make my day and every day. I love your pictures and your videos. I always go directly to your site each and every day to see if there’s anything new. I have you on my Favorites bar, so it’s just a simple click and there you are. I love the pictures of your English garden. When we landscaped our backyard, I told the landscape architect that I wanted an English garden, and he said, “Ma’am, this is Arizona.” So much for that dream. But I do have a rose garden. Right now, it’s pruned but by the end of March or the first of April, I will have lovely dark red, coral, pink, yellow, and peach roses. Then the heat will come and they will struggle, struggle to get to Autumn, and then I’ll have another week or two of beautiful roses, and then they’ll all freeze and die. Oh well, that’s Nature’s work. I’m just thankful to have the color in the midst of so much brown. Lots of people love the desert, but it’s not my cup of tea. Give me lucious green grass and trees any day of the week, and call me happy!

    Thank you again for sharing a little bit of your world with us. You’re just the best.

    • sbranch says:

      That person who said, “Ma’am, this is Arizona” did you a favor even tho’ he was the bearer of bad news! The secret to a beautiful garden is just to plant what really likes it at your house. Otherwise it’s a war you will lose — I know this from years of fighting against mother nature, trying to grow things that just didn’t like it where Iive. I think if I was smart, I would have moved to England when I was young where every plant seems so happy! Give me luscious pink rose-covered arbors and stands of foxglove and I know just what you mean, I’m happy!

  13. julie borg says:

    Thank you for all the beautiful flower pictures! Gives me a BAD case of the spring fever! I think maybe I will stop at the garden center on the way home…!

  14. Victoria Miller says:

    Loved the garden and rose pictures today! Also, Joe is certainly a treasure! He is so sweet to you. Like my daughter’s husband. She was ‘napping’ on the couch one evening, and he woke her up, saying there was something she needed to see. Outside was the first snowfall of the season, and when she looked out the window, he had gone out and walked a big heart with “I love you” in the snow for her. Just Joey is one of my favorite roses, also. And I love David Austin roses. Alas, having a nice garden where I live is next to impossible, so I really appreciate lovely garden pictures. I love the basket of roses, so beautiful.

  15. Marie (from Virginia) says:

    Susan~love the flowers! Your Joe, sounds like my Ray; they know what touches our hearts, big and small. The bling is fun! Isn’t it great having the color of hearts in our “Autumn” family?

    Susan, thanks for caring for us Girlfriends in your own special way.

    Congrat’s Sharon! Enjoy-Enjoy-Enjoy!

    Marie xo

  16. Sandra says:

    All the photos are so nicely done; enjoyed each and every one. I also enjoy having your blog come to my e-address and then I click to read it on-line. I don’t have the bandwidth available…surely I’m not the only one!?…and can’t access videos, you tube, movies, etc. anyway. Sometimes, when there is time, I go to the town library and watch there…but not very often. It’s a round trip of almost 50 miles and there are always so many other errands to do, I don’t have time for videos, movies, etc.
    That’s okay though; your blog is enjoyment plenty and I don’t feel as though I’m missing a thing.

    • sbranch says:

      You are really out there Sandra, I forget, I know you told me, but tell me again, where are you?

    • Debbie P says:

      Hi, Sandra~
      When I see the picture of the beautiful scenery next to your name, I think of you and wonder how you’re doing. I hope sweet memories and love of family and friends are holding you up.

  17. Diane says:

    Congratulations Sharon on the big win! How fun! Loved the blog with all the pictures of the flowers and gardens BUT felt almost jealous when I saw that huge basket of roses!!! lol. One of my dreams would be to have such a large garden and space to be able to pick and pick and pick to my hearts content until I had a huge basket of flowers to take inside and arrange for my home or give away! So far we are still in the organizing and planting new things every year stage since we just moved into our new home a year ago. (which is still very exciting and thrilling to plan and execute) It was fun and amazing to see your beautiful garden and to “feel” that spring is so close now! I LOVED that Joe did such romantic things for you for Valentines Day….such a rare gem of a man! And such a sparkler of a ring! It is adorable! Have a wonderful day and weekend dear Susan!

  18. Pat says:

    Hi Susan!

    Sharon J is a lucky lady! She will love your give away gift.

    Susan, your California garden is one dreams are make of — from the white picket fence to the lemon tree and profusion of roses and hollyhocks and irises…oh my! I would be in heaven with a garden like this. I live in the city so i have to content myself with flower pots on my patio filled with flowers, some tomatoes and herbs, as I have no dirt in my postage stamp size backyard, but I’m happy with what I do grow, and I even have a fig tree growing in a big pot!

    Thanks for all the blog information as I’m sure it will be very helpful to many of your non blogging readers. I written a blog for almost five (!!!!!) years now and it seems like second nature to me now, but I’m sure I had all the same questions and confusions in the beginning. I love blogging as it makes me feel that I am keeping my over 50–getting close to 60– brain sharp. It makes me figure things out and constantly learn. To me is is better than doing crossword puzzles or playing scrabble to keep my brain challenged. It’s fun to meet people through blogging and I’ve learned so much when I research for my blog ( I mainly write about places I visit in NYC, where I live)

    You do a wonderful job with your blog — it is a very happy and welcoming place, and I’m always excited to drop by and read your latest news and see your photos and videos. Thanks for all the effort you put into each blog post!

    I’m looking forward to you new Willard –I’ve been an e–mail subscriber for years and years! Love it…and you!



  19. Gert says:

    Congratulations Sharon….where ever you are ! What a lovely gift you will get! Susan, this was so informative..and I’m sure this will help so many! Oh..the sun is shining here in Iowa & the 6″ of snow is just seeing your garden in CA, just made my day so much brighter! I really thought I could almost smells those rose!!


  20. Ann says:

    Congratulations to Sharon! I have always loved your California white picket fenced garden. Sometimes I just stare at the photo of it in your early cookbook and dream that it is in my back yard (can’t have front yard gardens like that here in my little town). I signed up for the email notification, but always go to the web page to read because I don’t want to miss anything! Your website is magical!

  21. Ginny S. says:

    Oh what a treat to see things in BLOOM! We are still in the “dead of winter” less the snow we usually get. I could almost smell those roses! Thanks for the breath of fresh air I am longing for…… which is at least two months away…

  22. Kathleen Hills says:

    Thank you so much for making my winter more tolerable. After 2 months of health problems (both husband Ed and I are working our way through cancer treatment) your wonderful, up lifting blog, makes the days brighter.
    Your CA garden makes me yearn to get my hands in soil again. No yet in MI.
    I too couldn’t figure out how to leave a comment from my email account. Thanks for explaining it so well.
    Thanks again. Kathleen

  23. Wendy says:

    Hi Susan! Thank you so much for the informative email. I, too, have been reading your blog additions via email but do switch to the blog site for all your amazing extras. Thanks for your gorgeous garden pictures, I drool over your flowers. It is rainy and damp here today, though warmer than usual. Seeing a new email from you is always a BRIGHT plus for the day. Your ring is adorable and so is Joe. It is so sweet of you to share your daily happenings, photos and art with us. I agree Vitamin D is a necessary supplement, especially in the winter plus an overall health boost. Please give a special pat to Jack and Girl Kitty!!
    Thank you!

  24. Barb says:

    Hi Susan,

    Congrats Sharon! Thank you for the beautiful pictures of your flower garden.
    When I saw the “Foxglove”, it took my breathe away. I am an avid gardner and raise flowers. I also loved the picture of your beautiful pink “Gladiola”.

    When I was just a child, I grew up in Connecticut and my parents had a good few acres of nice flat land. We had a huge garden and many of flowers. My Dad raised the Old Fashion Ruffled Gladiolas, along with rows upon rows of Zinnia and Giant Sunflowers, Trellis filled with Morning Glories. He taught me at an early age how to grow anything as well as did my Mom.

    Needless to say I carried on the traditons I was brought up with and when I married and moved to Western Mass we had his child hood home he grew up in, which was an old farm house with soil that was fantastic for garden and flowers galore.
    We sold our home last year and we so miss it. Yet we have a new abode now and its just waiting for us to start a new with many flowers and a garden. Can you guess what I got for Valentiens Day? Little flower pots along with potting soil to start all my flower seeds in. I am such a “kid” when it comes to planting. My husband is going to make me a Homemade Trellis…….can’t wait so excited.

    Loved all the earlier posts from other girlfriends and wanted to include a comment about birds I saw earlier. Last Sunday here while doing dishes, saw tons of birds eatting, more then usual, was a very cold day here. Well all of a sudden there were two Robbins then it was like tons……..fifteen to twenty Robbins all at once. My husband came to see as well, we could not believe it.
    We do have these (red wild berries) not sure of the name, but the Robins love them. Just a tad early for Robins……Spring is still two months away but it was surely a sight to behold. And one more thing if I may. Had the greatest surprise
    right after the Robins flew in. An “Eastern Blue Bird” was sitting on top of our birdfeeder. They are goodluck so we both made a wish. My husband and I are both outdoors people whom just love nature and all it has to offerr.

    Thanks so much Sue for allowing me to share a lot today and thanks for making
    all my days so much brighter. xxoo Barb

  25. Cyndi Harp says:

    Congrats Susan, I know you’ll enjoy the goodies!! Have a great day all.

  26. Mary Ann says:

    Congratulations, Sharon! I’ll be waiting for one of those heart scones to arrive in the mail 🙂 Susan, your blogs are just so pretty, so beautiful, and humorous. Everything you do is like that. Even your kitties are wonderful! And let’s not forget Joe. He is a gem!
    The other day while cleaning my ‘office’ armoire, I came across my Susan Branch cards and envelopes ‘Kitchen Garden’. The box has illustrations of your garden and its flowers, herbs and veggies. The cards and envelopes are so beautiful. Years ago, I bought this as a gift for someone, but couldn’t bear to part with it. I’m now collecting as many Susan Branch books I can find. I have all of Gladys Taber’s Stillmeadow books and a few others, too. Now it’s time to add yours to my library. I have seven and I’m still looking. The latest is ‘Girlfriends’ which I’ve been reading at bedtime. Looking at the photos reminds me of those wonderful days back then when we were all young and looking for adventures! Whee! Good times!

  27. Patricia from Philly says:

    Hello Susan! The other day, while setting our little Valentine’s Day tea, I put out all my little Dept. 56 items which are from their “Tea Party” line; probably discontinued a long time ago… anyhow, I had my Susan Branch porcelain cupcakes, 3 of them in pastel colors, bought ages ago. I put them out at our placesettings, and inside each I put a little Wilbur Bud (Wilbur Buds were the precursers to the Hershey Kiss). I was so proud of my creativity! And I thought to myself, I really love my little Susan Branch cupcakes.
    Thank you for the kaleidoscope of colors, the beautiful, lilting music, the heady scent of the roses, and the sheer joy of friendship that your blog graces us with each and every day. If only all the news in the world was as sweet and lovely as the news we Girlfriends share through this blog.

  28. Tricia says:

    Thanks, Susan, for all your kind and thoughtful words (and music, pictures, and videos) which brighten out days, light our way, and just make us happy! All those delicious flowers – delightful! Thank you for sharing!

  29. Wendy says:

    Congratulations Sharon!!
    Oh I just love all the flower photos, Susan. I am ready for the warmer days and longer days of spring!!

  30. Christine Anderson says:

    Thanks so much for your blog, I look forward to it!! I do get there Via the website and read around if I am waiting for a new blog!

    Living in So Cal we always have something in the garden, Right now the Camillas are in bloom. As we have an old orange grove house, ours are over 50 years old and reach the porch roof in beautiful dark pink Valentines!!!

    Thanks again!!

  31. Del Jean says:

    Thank you, Susan, for showing us new girls how to simply click on the link to your real blog page! What fun!

    My cousin and I just had lunch with an older angelic couple, who is fighting cancer now in her bones. She has blessed the world with business management, catering, floral pieces beyond imagining, so now its our turn to bless her!
    Our menu included:
    Susan Branch Orange and Chocolate chip Tea Biscuits
    Butternut squash soup
    Rose Cream Tea (from Teatime Garden)

    Thank you so much from a very white and sunny high country of Colorado

  32. Shanna says:

    Congratulations to Sharon on winning your hearts!

    I receive your posts via e-mail, and just click on the link at the top of it which takes me to the post with all the links, photos, music and videos. I love all of it! The flowers, the music playing in the background, Jack and his antics. Isn’t technology wonderful–especially the way you’ve chosen to use it! It is almost as good as being there in person with you.

  33. erica says:

    Greetings Susan!

    Hokesy doodles Susan, your flower gardens are simply gorgeous! I. am. in. love. Okay…..I simply must go out and buy my mister a hammer and nails and little picket fence posts so that he can build me my very own floral retreat! Ohhhh…*sigh* the foxglove and alyssum, (with lots of bees probably doing a happy bee dance on them) and is that MALVA? ….no matter, they all remind me of sweet summer cottages. Simplicity. Romance….. ladies wearing floppy floral embellished summer hats with satin ribbons tied under their chin. Well, maybe a few are untied….like mine ‘cuz I don’t like anything tied onto me. Even shoes. Oh, and we are nibbling scrumptious fresh baked sweets, sipping earl grey lavender tea and talking about this’n’that and Peter Rabbit. Ponder. Smile. Silly, I know! Can’t help it. :/

    There is another option for you to try, rather than deleting the unwanted spam. Right click on the spam, and you will be offered a list of options. Underneath the ‘delete’ option is something which reads JUNK E-MAIL. Click on that, and there are more options. I usually choose “send domain to blocked sender list.” This gets rid of them once and for all. Maybe you already know this.

    I save my stuff to the “desktop” on the computer. Here is how. Right click (the mouse) anywhere on YOUR blog page, a list pops up and if they choose “create shortcut” it will save the site right to the desktop. From there it can be saved to a folder. How to make a folder? Right click on the desktop, select “NEW”, select FOLDER. A new folder will appear. It looks like a yellow file folder. So, after you’ve saved a blog via the ‘shortcut’ you can drag it into the folder. This is what I do, and it works beautifully! Easy, peasy. I have lots of folders. Recipe folder. Blog folder. Craft folder. Music, work, home…etc. My desktop has many folders and folders within folders…called sub-folders. Like a filing cabinet. Now, I hope that didn’t sound all complicated. Oh, if you want to NAME your folder, because it comes with the name ‘folder’ Right click on the folder, and click on ‘rename’ and then you can name your folder anything you want. FUN!

    Huge ‘whoooooopeeeees’ to Sharon J. for her fabulous win! I’m sure she was jumping up and down and maybe even squealing with delight. I know I would.

    Thanks again Susan for all that you provide. Brilliant, absolutely BRILLIANT! XO

    Much love to you,

    • sbranch says:

      When I right click on spam on this blog, I get the option of printing it or saving it, LOL, two things I’m not going to do. I was thinking all blogs are a little different? No? What everyone wants is for you to move in with them!

      • erica says:

        Oh drats. Sorry, I was referring to email spam. Hmmm, not sure how it would work in your website/blog program. (wordpress?) Perhaps somewhere within the settings? Such as those with a “LINK” cannot comment?? (spammers usually have a link to something…)

        Within your website are email addresses, and “spys” (usually a program) which are on the world wide web, look for those. Then the address is sold or used to send spam. YUK. All this wonderful technology has a down side. Hope you can find a way to limit it, ‘cuz 3 out of 10 comments coming from spam is annoying and time consuming. There are programs to help prevent most of it but moderating is probably the best way….that is until you get 10’s of thousands of girlfriends. *wink*


        • sbranch says:

          I don’t get near the email spam — the spam that comes to this blog is ridiculous and I’ve been told the only way to stop it is to close the different posts to comments! Kind of defeats the purpose don’t you think? Sometimes I will wake up and have 123 “comments” and 86 of them will be spam. It’s crazy. Time consuming. Something will have to be done one of these days, but what, I still don’t know!

  34. Nancy says:

    What a welcome sight your blog is for a northwestern Pennsylvanian…looking forward to Spring! Anticipation is half the fun and thank you for the preview of what’s to come!

  35. kat says:

    I have followed your artwork for decades, and love that you have a blog now, too! I am writing to ask that you reconsider getting rid of the email option. There are many blogs which offer both email and RSS feed. I find that I prefer email.

    I have an older computer which makes it difficult to load blogs which are so packed with graphics. When I get the posts in email, the backgrounds and all of the extraneous graphic-laden things are not included, and I can just get the pictures and the messages. I know that if there is a video, I can click to go to the blog to be able to see it at a later time, when I have said time to devote to waiting for everything to load.

    I also like receiving the blog via email because I don’t have to constantly check the RSS feed buttons to see if anything new has been posted. Email lets me know right away.

    Thanks for sharing all your adventures with Jack and Girl Kitty – I can get my “kitty fix” this way, with two charmers ~

    • sbranch says:

      No, I won’t get rid of it, I can see that people like it, and now they know more about it, so that’s good. Glad you’re here Kat!

  36. Fortunately I knew all the things you pointed out already….that is, until you told us about the little sun! I decided to check out some of the other keys at the top of my keyboard and discovered some new shortcuts! Perhaps that’s why you’re so creative….your thirst for knowledge, that you then share with us, is probably why. Thanks!

  37. Dee says:

    Believe me, I don’t know what I am doing!!! But I know I love your site and I just fiddle around ’til something happens!!! I leave comments and hope you receive them …. I click on your site when an email comes in and then the flowers, etc comes up. I am 80, just recently lost my hubby of 52 yrs and on sleepless nights I just “play” on your site. You have no idea how much you have helped me!!:) Love your pix, love the little girl taking a bow that started this blog out … just love it all!!! I am trying to follow your directions to get “somewhere” … we’ll see if I get there! I am enjoying myself though! and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
    Pink Hugs,

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, that’s how I do it too! Oh, I’m so sorry about losing your husband. Glad you are here with your pink hugs! xoxo

    • So sorry for your loss Dee, wow! 52 years! Lots of precious memories I bet, We celebrated our 40th in Sept. I am still wondering where the time went!
      Blessings to you!

    • Jeanette says:

      Dee, So sorry for the loss of your husband. My parents would have been married almost 51 years this past December, we lost Mom in October. Watching my Dad (who now lives with us) go through the grief, know my heart goes out to you. Sending you bouquets of pink hugs. Take good care of you! Best, Jeanette

      • Laura says:

        You must miss him terribly! What a wonderful legacy of love you have in your life. Xoxoxoxoxo.

        • Patricia says:

          I just want to express my heartfelt condolences to you as well Dee…52 years of marriage! I can only hope to be as lucky to reach that many years. Much love to you. xx

  38. Hi : )

    Loved this post. It explains everything perfectly.

    Our Mutual Friend! lol I hve a funny story to go with this movie 😉

    Last year, one of my dear kindred spirits of almost 20 years introduced me to her friend who loved victorian drama movies.

    We’d talk about everything… we’re now knows as The Butterfly Babes, but that’s another story 😉

    One day they talked about period dramas and Our Mutual Friend in capital letters.

    I, of course, thought they were talking about… all women’s mutual friend… *ahem*

    I said so to these too Butterfly Babes, and oh they did laugh!! They said, Period Dramas were indeed Victorian Movies and Our Mutual Friend was a movie!!! Of course I had to watch it and it hadn’t a thing to do with “our very own mutual friend” lol!!!

    It was a great movie, i loved it to much, I bought it 🙂 and I learned a valuable lesson… never talk of the movie Our Mutual Friend to someone who doesn’t know what Period Drama’s are!!!

    Love your gardens, i can’t wait to garden!

    Denise of Ingleside, PEI

  39. Karyl Dawn says:

    Thanks for Sharing your garden photos!

    Are those Hollyhocks or Gladiolas? Either way very pretty in pink!

  40. Nellie says:

    Congratulations to Sharon!

    If I haven’t already seen your new post on your blog, I use the email alert to head on over to “where the action is.”:-)

    Thank you for the tutorial. Some of us are still “bamboozled” by all this new-fangled technology.:-)

    Great “bling” for Valentine’s Day, by the way!

    It’s wonderful to have you around spreading sunshine! xoxo

  41. Pam Cassidy says:

    Hi Susan, just wanted to say thanks so much for explaining all we were missing in your emails. I thought it was just me, since there is alot of stuff that my IPad doesn’t deliver. From now on I’m going straight to your blog! Your blog posts are the best and always leave me with a smile on my face! Thanks for sharing your creative spirit with all your “girlfriends.”

  42. Cris says:

    LOVE the photos. Its so nice to see some Summer COLOR in the midst of a gray February. I do go thru the right channels to read your blog just because I would hate to miss the videos and all the rest. Its always waiting on my dashboard or on my blog so I dont miss it. It’s always a treat to see it waiting. Some day I hope you write something about how you come up with so many fun ideas. You are always brimming with such fun. Where do you find so much inspiration all the time? 🙂 I do have a hard time finding my comment again after I leave it as there are so many who comment so sometimes I give up but I know its there since I do look sometimes another time. Thanks for cheering us all up with each blog posting. Your calendar also cheers me up daily as its hanging on my wall by the door I come and go thru here, so I cant miss thinking of you daily anyway. :)) Have a wonderful day.

  43. Nancy says:

    My girl friend found your blog…..we just Love it ! Love Love all your beautiful pictures of Flowers !!! This Winter is so blah……. thank you for the wonderful visits !!! You inspire us.

  44. Cindy Tuning says:

    You continue to amaze me with your mind reading skills!! For no apparent reason on my drive home from popped into my head and I wondered how your garden in California looks and how anxious you must be to see it. I know I’m anxious to see it myself. I thought you had said you usually go out in Feb., so I guess that’s what made me think of it. Scary huh??? I’m retiring in 28 days and am planning to re-do the garden in our community park in the center of town.. Washington Park.I’m soooo excited!! I guess I have garden on the brain so I was thinking of yours too.Can’t wait for new pictures when you get there.

  45. Tamar Weaver says:

    Now, I know what the sunshiny thing button is for! I did not even realize that was a picture of a sunshine. Thank you. I swannie.

  46. Terry says:

    Hi, Susan!

    Congratulations to Sharon!

    Susan, would you ever consider creating blog backgrounds? I would LOVE to have your artwork as the background on my blog!


    • sbranch says:

      That’s a good idea, have to look into it! Do you know a site that gives backgrounds I could go see how they do it.

  47. Kathleen Willliams says:

    I would say just another day but not today, today I enjoyed the tour of your garden and sharing those beautiful roses. I check for my “girlfriend” fix everyday….here in sunny southern California you still brighten my day. Love you!

  48. Ginnie says:

    OMG, Susan, you are the best! Not only do you show us beautiful art and photos, let us read your lovely writing, share your hopes, dreams, and sweet Joe & the kitties, and give us free stuff – now you’re also educating us on how blogs work! You are a one in a million, and I’m glad you’re in my world. My email alert, btw, has a link at the top to the blog, and I always click that. I do that because I get a better view and didn’t even realize that I would have missed out on all those other things. Dumb luck.

    Congrats to Sharon, and love the Valentine gifts from your Valentine. The ring, oh the ring! Be careful you don’t sprain your wrist when you’re wearing it. 😉

    • sbranch says:

      I know, have to be careful!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Have a story to share here: When Norm and I were first dating, he lived in one town and I lived in another. When we visited each other on a weekend, we used to go to each other’s church on Sunday morning. There was a lady at Norm’s church who always came up to us after the service and would grab my hand and say, “What, no ring yet?” much to both of our embarrassment as we were now-where near that stage of our relationship. One time during the week I was at a workshop for my job and went for a walk on my lunch hour one day and found, on the sidewalk, a little bright yellow ring shaped like a skull with red spots for eyes and a mouth. (Bubble gum ring, I’m sure) I picked it up and saved it for the next weekend, when I was visiting Norm. So, we walked into church and sat down, waiting for the service to begin. I slipped my left hand into my skirt pocket (clothing carefully chosen for this purpose), slipped on my “new ring”, pulled out my hand and as I showed it to Norm, I whispered to him, “I’m read for when Mrs. ________ asks about a ring!” He about exploded with laughter and for most of the service we sat there trying to keep the giggles and shaking shoulders from being seen. (No, I didn’t really show her–wouldn’t have wanted to hurt her feelings but I will tell you all that we got out of there fast after the service before we would see her because we knew we would be laughing our heads off…) I still have that ring and we’ve been married now going on 28 years… LOL 🙂

  49. Vickie says:

    Thank you again for cheering up a drizzly day in the PNW! Loved all those garden colors. My hint for getting to and the blog is to mark it as “Favorite” or “Bookmark” then with just a mouse click I am in the center of creative inspiration. (on Internet Explorer it is that “star” between the “house”-home and “gear”-tools at the top of the page on the right below the X. There is also a green arrow that can be clicked on to show all of your Favorites in a list everytime you open the internet) My guilty pleasure is to click the little heart beside your name every day to see if something new has popped up to make me feel special for getting a special gift from you. :-))

  50. Sheryl Baker says:

    This is my birthday, and now it’s been made completely happy. Your blog is like a little present in my inbox. I decided for today that I would keep a list of all the things that made me happy in no order of significance, just as they occurred to me throughout the day. Your blog is #37, and I thank you sincerely for all the time and effort you put into it, Susan. I love being one of your girlfriends!

  51. Hi Susan, I just have to tell you and all the girlfriends about the (heart shaped)sugar cubes I found in the Feb. issue of TheWhite Issue of Country Home, pg21. You can purchase them on line at Like the add said, you can ask your guests for tea if they want “One heart or two?” Too cute.

  52. Marian says:

    Thank you for the thorough explanation. And for the beautiful pictures. I’m an email subscriber, and through trial and error, reached your blog through Willard. I’ve previously tried to leave comments, but was unsuccessful–saw that my comment was being modified, but have never seen them published. Regardless of the outcome of this one, I love your blog and look forward to each one. Thank you for taking the time to stay connected.

  53. Cindy Maulin says:

    dear bling bling!!! such a wonderful valentine gift… : ) all of the pics today were so uplifting..i just can’t tell you how much i appreciate the thought of spring… very inspiring….we have had a mild winter so far, but it has been somewhat this was a special beautiful gift…great job on the blog info..i was already a http://www. girl, so i have always received your blog via the website…i just posted it to “FAVORITES” and can check in at the drop of a hat…love it!!! President’s Day comin’ up….cherry pie time!!! happy thursday…and thanks again susan….love, cindy
    ps…congrats to lucky girlfriend !!!!!

  54. Oh! Wait a minute, wait for me! I am running to my kitchen to get my tea! Susan do you know, we have the same loose tea holder, or what ever you call it? My husband calls it a padidle, sp? Okay, I am back to read whatever Susan has on her dear heart to teach us today, and to find out which lucky lady will win the goodies! Congratulations SHARON J! What a lucky gal! I know she will treasure her goodies, as do I, my sweet birds! Susan your CA garden is just wonderful! enjoyed seeing it again (last summers trip on the train!) and in full bloom, I can just smell the roses! And the lemons! How I miss having a lemon tree! Thank you for sharing with us!
    I Better go start dinner, tummy is hungry, Corn chowder coming up!
    Tweet Tweet!

  55. Shelagh says:

    Susan, loved seeing your pictures of your California garden in bloom. It is just around this time of year we East coasters start longing for colour. What prompted me to comment was “Our Mutual Friend” what fun, I just watched this a couple of days ago and really enjoyed it. Don’t you love it when the story wraps up just the way you want it to? The old man and his wife really were the charming and kind people we thought they were at first, it was all a ruse. Ha! I have subscribed to BBC player on my iPad and it is full of wonderful period dramas done only the way the BBC can. I have been watching them all one by one. xo

  56. Joann says:

    Don’t stop the RSS feed—we’ll all get the hang of it!!! LOVE YOU! Oh my…..the garden; maybe I need to fly out to CA and tend YOURS for awhile since I don’t have mine anymore…. 🙁 Do your roses need a babysitter??


  57. janet says:

    Susan, thanks for the tour of your gardens:-) I have a Julia Child rose bush too!
    Can’t wait for my first Williard – very soon. Love all of your sweet words and care for us. Love your Watercolor Love too – I’m thinking I would love to watercolor — just gettting inspired by looking at your pallette of paints and seeing you brush color onto the blue floral border. . . – janet in Texas

  58. Janet says:

    Congratulations to Sharon! I know you’ll enjoy your “heartfelt” goodies. PS – the photo of those California roses just took my breath away! No kidding – I actually gasped when I scrolled down and saw them! The colors – cream, pink, yellow, peach – one I’d even call “nectarine” with the beautiful yellow-red blush look – just beautiful!

    Question – is it permissible to save photos from your blog? I’d love to have that shot especially. I would just be saving them to my flash drive & of course would never use them for any commercial purpose. Thanks again for the blog that never disappoints, always uplifts! Have a great weekend Sue and Girlfriends!

  59. Chris S. says:

    Thank you for the info..I always wondered if my comment ever made it in the mix of things. Love love your garden as well…I love Roses – all colors and smells…so yummy!
    Thanks again…

  60. Gail says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you for the beautiful photos of your flowers. Your roses are exquisite! I think we will have an early spring this year in Massachusetts. It has been such a mild winter. I can’t wait for the lilacs to bloom everywhere. I just baked your brownie recipe from your Autumn book. It is one of my son’s favorites and he is coming home for a visit this weekend. They are just about the best brownies ever!! Have a great weekendxoxoxo

  61. Alison Eisinger says:

    I absolutely loved, loved, loved your post today! The flowers are simply gorgeous! I lived in Long Beach, CA for a while and was so excited to see the types of plants that grew there compared to my home in Virginia. Also, my husband and I are watching Our Mutual Friend right now!! My husband picked it out and I am really enjoying it! Thanks so much for your informative post and for taking the time to make sure everyone understands how to enjoy your wonderful website! Have a great weekend!

  62. Em says:

    Susan, fear not. That is the way I receive other email notices of blogs and all I do is click on the title and it takes me right to the page where all the things you think we’re missing can be found! I like it just the way it is – it’s nice to see the preview and then go to the site with all the embellishments. I don’t think you should be unhappy with the way it shows up in the email notice. It’s fine! And thank you for the best blog ever.

  63. Jeannine Holmes says:

    Thanks, Susan, for the explanation on how to use your blog. Reading all the interesting comments is a wonderful way to pass an afternoon . . . connecting so many of us with each other. And, by the way, light blue and chartreuse are extremely cohesive partners! Now I’ve got to find a way to get them together in my garden. Thanks for the wonderful showcase of flowers.

  64. Lucy F. says:

    Okay, so I didn’t win that lovely heart pan nor the Emma tin. It’s okay. Congrats to Sharon.

    I originally had signed up for the emails until I realized I couldn’t comment. So I switched to the Google Reader subscription but guess what? No comments there either. Now I use it as you suggested, just a note to send me to your site. Perfect solution.

    When did you close your SLO store Susan? I am a Cal Poly alumni and I never saw it. Was it in downtown SLO?

    Sorry this is so fragmented, I need my cup of tea. Have a lovely evening.


  65. Rita says:

    Thanks, Susan, for all of the ‘splaining. I, too, figured out that I was missing the videos of the new kitty, not too mention just the prettiness of your writing and blog. I use the emails as a reminder to click onto the blog and read it the “right” way!

  66. Becky says:

    Thank you for those beautiful flowers on your blog. Just the medicine for a gloomy overcast day.

  67. Karen Saunders says:

    Oh wow!! Your flowers are SO beautiful, and your garden is so perfect. I love the tall hollyhocks….I don’t even know if that’s their name. Do you have to plant those from seeds or do nurserys have them in little plants? I want to plant a lot of flowers this summer. (going on and on again…sigh!)

  68. Charlene says:

    Congratulations to Susan J! Okay I guess that means I have to buy the heart pan lol! But see here is my problem. I can’t buy JUST the heart pan. Oh no! My wish list is getting out of control. 😉 And of course your store keeps adding more cute things! Seriously Susan my bank account and my husband are going to ban me from this site soon lol! The rooster salt and pepper shakers look so much like two vintage chicken egg cups my mother let me have that she had gotten from her mother. Decisions, decisions…
    I love your your garden in California. I live in southern California and am inspired to get my garden in shape. Thank you for the lovely post!

  69. veronica says:

    Sharon J., Much congratulations to you. Happy Valentines Day:and happy baking.

  70. Lorie says:

    Hey Susan, Ohhhhh I’m dying to dig in the dirt sooooon. Here in TN it’s not been a bad winter, but still itching to get out there. I’ve picked buttercups twice already….love em!!!! Your photos are just divine!!! Heaven on earth….thanks so much. Congrats to Sharon!!!!

  71. Laura B Jenkins says:

    nice info here…I use the RSS feed email notice to inform me that you have a new blog post…I open the email and click SUSAN BRANCH BLOG in the upper left corner, and it links to your “real” blogpage…ta da! xo

  72. Janet Hundley says:

    I believe I have read every your blog since day one and have a full file of them. I am no computer wiz by any means, but I can honestly say that I have never had a problem with the blog. Thank you Susan and Joe and whoever else helps with this blog…it’s my favorite bright, sunny (& sometimes moonlit) spot on the WWW.

  73. What a lovely respite this post made from our dreary rain here in the NW. Your garden is sooooo delicious looking. Foxgloves are my favorite! I love going on a virtual tour of your gardens and house and life. So inspiring for me, a blogger too – I don’t feel so alone in my never ending “how’s that work?” on my own blog. It’s a learning journey that’s for sure.
    You’re wonderful!!!
    xxoo Lynndee

  74. Elaine Thornton says:

    Yea!!! Now I get it – thanks for the “tutorial” on the blog ! Now I can spend even more time enjoying a part of your life!

  75. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    Dear Susan – because of your writings re: Tasha Tudor – I bought several books by her and about her on What a lady! In the book, The Art of Tasha Tudor by Harry Davis – he says that Tasha had a “spritual connection” with her plants and gardens. She could be in the house and suddenly know that a particular plant was in urgent need of water. It made me think of you. I’m definitely going to pay more attention to my plants this year. Your garden and Tasha’s are definitely inspiring. We have a really hot/dry climate here. Sometimes we get help from Mother Nature with rain but it seems to be hit and miss. Can be very, very cool at night and very HOT in the afternoon. Tomatoes definitely don’t like our elevation! Can’t wait to get my hands dirty!!!!! 🙂

  76. Jeanette says:

    Hi Susan! Woo hoot, Sharon – way to go! Enjoy your fab-o heart treats!
    Good to know I’m not the one checking in daily, I simply can’t wait for each update. Every post is like a gift, wrapped in the prettiest paper with a luscious bow!
    The flower pics are gorgeous. We’ve had such a mild winter here in the mid-west I’m concerned things will start blooming and then we’ll have snow or a freeze and then no wonderful spring flowers. Yikes. Plus, all this country mud is an icky mess. Mother Nature rules, everywhere! Hugs to you, Jeanette

  77. Ritchie Saunders says:

    Great Job Susan! Maybe you should publish your directions! It did make me feel very good about my computer skills that at 75 I have conquered all that you explained before you explained them but I have probably waisted tons of paper over the years with all my mistakes and figuring it out on my own. Luckily my husband is a techie and I’m a “just go for it type” so we’re a good pair. We now still have a PC which I hate to give up but we got a Mac laptop and I realize how wonderful it is and an iphone4S as we’ve had cell phones for 10 years that seemed to do the job and I got a Kindle Fire for Xmas. No more Retro Grandma for me. We gals need to keep up with all the latest and as my husband keeps saying jump on the train and keep moving! You are a gem! Just like your heart ring! XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      I so appreciate what it takes these days to embrace computers. I know people who refuse to “go there” — makes me sad because it is so much fun! Jump on the train, that’s right!!

  78. Wendy says:

    Can’t tell if my earlier comment went through. So just in case……
    Congratulations to Sharon!! Lucky lady!
    And thank you for the pictures of the flowers in your garden. So refreshing! Looking forward to the warmer, longer days of spring!

  79. Georgeann Trammell says:

    I have asked this before but must have been the wrong place…is it possible to
    purchase your things without doing it online as my hubby is old fashioned about
    putting credit cards online or even having paypal…love so many of your items.
    Thanks so much, Georgeann

    • sbranch says:

      Yes it is, although everyone is off until Tuesday! But write this number down and when you see something you like, you can call and order it from either Judy or Kellee — It’s 805-474-5836.

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      My husband is the same way, Georgeann, about not using credit cards online. I’ve called and ordered items from Susan’s web store many times–works great! The women who answer the phone are very pleasant, efficient, and helpful! (and Susan, they didn’t pay me to say that!) LOL

  80. Sue says:

    Oh! Please don’t remind me about your shop in CA! My oldest son started college at CSU SLO in 2008 and by the time I even found out about your was…sniffle…no longer!! Wahh!

    I think it is SO SWEET that you read the comments. I was thinking about that, oddly enough, as I crossed the American River while driving my dd to school..”I wonder if Susan Branch reads those gazillion comments on her blog..?” So–tomorrow I will think of something and then expect it to be answered in your next blog entry too…k? K.

  81. Karen C says:


    Who says you can’t learn something new every day?!! Thank you so much for the explanation on how the blog works. Loved the garden pictures. I am in love with roses now too. Looking forward to the new Willard. Congrats to Sharon! We all think that you are wonderful too! That’s why we keep coming back.

  82. Cynthia Avalos says:

    The garden pictures are beautiful and make me envious! I’ll have to remember that movie from netflixxxx1

  83. Nicksgranma says:

    Beautiful garden and flowers. Have been taking down Valentine’s decorations and redoing the hutch for St Pat’s. When you get a “free” moment could you post a St Pat’s screen saver…I use them all and look forward to the holiday ones. Thanks , Susan…keep up the good,no great, work!

  84. beebarbs says:

    Hi Susan — thank you, thank you for your blog — I’m so glad I found it!!! I didn’t realize I’d liked your books, calendars,etc for so long you until I remembered “you” were someone that I shared with my best friend and she passed away in 2000 — time certainly does fly by.

    Thank you again for sharing . . . Your darling videos, your musica, your drawings, your Bling (wowee). You can Never have too much Happy!

  85. Jere says:

    I feel like you wrote the blog today just for me! Thank you. I enjoy it every time I read it; but now I know how to do it the correct way. Thank you Thank you – Jere

    • sbranch says:

      Not sure there are any “correct” ways, but it does help to know the options — I think you would find that 20 people would use their computer 20 different ways!!! Glad you’re here Jere!

  86. Joanie B says:

    Hey, I arrived home extremely angry today, had been assigned to a 6 week jury trial, had finished the third week and was told today it might be longer than the “projected” 6 weeks. I stopped at my favorite thrift store hoping that would cheer me up. It didn’t work. I walked out with not so much as a napkin. Coming out with nothing from my favorite thrift is a first for me. I got home, discovered my wonderful husband had made homemade waffles for dinner, that soothed the savage beast somewhat. BUT what finally dissipated the dragon was the beautiful garden photos and your blog. I needed that!!!! I love my garden and the photos reminded me that winter and a jury trial won’t last forever, tho they may seem too. thankyouthankyouthankyou.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I so feel for you! So glad you’re here Joanie!

    • Kirsten Wichert says:

      Joanie, I do the same thing!! Thrift shops always make me feel good. I’m sorry you didn’t find anything this time! Last time I went I found some lovely vintage pillow cases (soft percale, covered in roses). I also found a Liz Claibourne purse (with the tags still on-not used) for $10. That’s quite a find in L.A. Let us know the next time you go, and what treasures you come home with! Good luck! Hope the trial goes quickly for you.

  87. Lori from Maine says:

    Hi Susan and girlfriends. What a beautiful post – you brought a bit of spring to an otherwise dreary winter day. I’m still in the hospital using the activity director’s laptop – there’s no reason not to “clean up” my e-mails. 🙂
    A very happy congratulations to Sharon on winning the cake pan and tin – have fun with them!
    Going through your website and your new list of “favorites” has kept me busy and able to keep the “owies” at bay a bit. To the girlfriends: if any of you has a used laptop that you could contribute to a hospital, you have no idea how much it will be appreciated. Sure, it’s not like using your home computer, but if a patient can visit a favorite website, or “travel” to Tahiti – it will help them pass time and forget about being sick for a while.
    Happy middle of February! Spring will be here soon! Love from SW HBR (temporarily Bar Harbor). Again Susan, thank you for what you do. xoxoxo

  88. Arlinda says:

    Hi Susan,

    How much I missed you and your blog my friend. It has been weeks since my last visit! I can’t believe it!!! I let myself get too busy. No more. 🙂 I’ve taken this night to read and catch up on things. Love it, love you, love Jacques, the girl and your hubby for sharing. ((hugs)) I needed a girlfriend to cheer me up and here you are.

    Love you, Arlinda

  89. Sharma J says:

    Oh, the basket full of roses is so beautiful! Thanks for the pics of all the beautiful flowers … spring is just around the corner. And congratulations to Sharon J (so, so, so close to Sharma J!)

  90. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Yay, Sue Sue!
    Thanks soo much for the very lovely garden photos and video! Oh, how I needed to see the beautiful lush colors that we miss in winter on such gray days.
    Tomorrow Saturday is my Birthday. A day I would send flowers to my dear Mother as she did for my dearest Nana on the day she gave birth to her. So, I shall take this as a little birthday gift and wish Miss Sharon much congratulations on her new treasures.
    Tah Tah for now, Chrissy

  91. Nancy B says:

    Congratulations to Sharon! Lucky girl. I really enjoyed your post today, Susan, and seeing your lovely garden in California. Would you believe we had snow yesterday up on I5 over the Grapevine? That’s only about 30 minutes from me. Up until now we have had Spring-like weather. Our flowering pear trees are the first to bloom here and they look gorgeous with the sun shining on them. Thanks for sharing your life with us on this wonderful blog. Blessings.

    • sbranch says:

      Used to drive up to Templeton to see the rolling hillsides with the rows and rows of flowering fruit trees in the spring; I’d put the approx. date on my calendar so I didn’t forget to go do it . . . so worth it!

  92. Dorothy Ann * says:

    Good Morning Sunshine! aka Susan!
    Your newest “Blog” is so sunny and funny! You titled it: “Girlfriends, Gardens, Giveaways and Gab” and it was indeed, all of the above. I am and I know we all are, touched by you telling us “Thank You” for all of our comments.

    From the photos of your graceful “thank you bow”, gorgeous red heart ring-bling (what a special guy your Joe is), California gardens blooming with the most beautiful flowers, a tutorial section with what I shall call Susan’s Blog 101, a recipe for the most scrumptious-looking pineapple upside down cake I have ever seen (and soon to bake and taste), right up to a “drum-roll” for Sharon…well, this blog of yours today, had it all for us Girlfriends.
    Thank you, Susan, for a most delightful Thursday Blog!

    Congrats! Lucky Girlfriend Sharon…I am so happy for you!

    It’s a bit after midnight here on the west coast and according to your morning time table, it’s…”wake-up little susie…wake-up” time for you, Susan. (I’ve been listening to a new music CD of Classic songs from the 50’s and 60’s and love that Everly Brothers hit song…been humming it all day today).
    Love, Dorothy Ann

  93. Marie says:

    I don’t know how you do it all Susan. The artwork, the blog, the videos, Willard, replying to most of these comments!! You amaze me girl!

  94. Kirsten Wichert says:

    Thanks so much for the lovely garden photos! I can’t see any stakes in the garden, not on the foxgloves or the gladiolas (sp?). I always have to stake mine. How are yours so sturdy? Any secrets? Oh, that Joe! Was he always this way when you met him or did he become more attentive because you are? I can only wish to meet a guy like that!!!! Congrats to both of you! I’m not so disappointed that I didn’t win the muffin mold because you have it available to us in the online shop!! Yea! I always click on the Susan Branch right over the google feed symbol in the email and it goes right to the blog……..I wouldn’t want to miss anything! I hope everyone else does this too, it’s so easy. Does everyone else know that sometimes the colored letter links lead to where the product is available? I love it. That’s how I got my microplane (zester) like yours. I can’t thank you enough for making it so easy for us! Congratulations to Sharon J.!

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes I do stake things, but sometimes they’re OK on their own — probably the same for you. As for Joe, the first time he came to my house, he brought me Fred Astaire music. Who does that? So I would say, he came this way! Have a great day Kirsten!

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Mornin’: I’m enjoying rereading this blog & the comments, pretty much dry-eyed (I’ve read it several times before today, so beautiful, because I have to start my day with your blog). But, Joe bringing you Fred Astaire the 1st visit, no longer dry-eyed here, he’s so sweet!!!!! A match made in Martha’s Vineyard! Have a wonderful weekend Susan & all! xoxo

  95. Sandy Perry says:

    Susan, I really need the lesson on computers as I am stilling learning the whole thing LOL!!! I used to shop at the store in Arroyo Grande and what a treat that was, so sorry you had to close it. The BEST store around<3 but I love to shop on line and see all of the beautiful things you have to share with all of us. You met the nicest people here and also on Facebook's FOSB. Peg is such a great help when you need a question answered. The girls in Arroyo Grande were great at Christmas when I needed a gift sent to my 82 year old Aunt. She has no computer so I copy your Willards and send them to her and I gave her your Willard book for Christmas. What a treat for her she has read the whole thing at least a thounsand times or more. She lives in Nipomo and would go to the store with me but I have now moved from the coast to Bakersfield. Hot here in the summer but a short drive to the coast and the nice breeze from the ocean does it every time. Congrats to your winner I know she will just love her gift from you. Have a great weekend and tell Joe we all say "Hi".

  96. Sheila Brazzell says:

    I love, love,love your roses. Sitting here at my kitchen table, having my first cup of coffee I thought I could actually smell them. Many years ago my bridesmaids carried roses and I always think of that day whenever I see them. Congrats to Sharon J. I love the way you kept us in suspense instead of just announcing the winner right away. Anxiously awaiting the arrival of Willard. Good day to you and Joe.

  97. Sandy Schaefer says:

    Dear Susan ,

    I adore your blog. Check it every day. Often twice!
    It’s a cyber hug.


  98. Linda Stone says:

    No, Susan, thank you for what you give to us . . . glimpses into a gentle and loving life, not to mention the sweet and beautiful artwork. Everything about your blog says how gracious and wonderful one’s life can be. You are one of my “favorites” so I can get to you fast!

  99. Mary Mowe says:

    Susan: I can’t tell you how relieved I am!! I thought it was just my technological ignorance, but you cleared everything up for me! I wanted to to put my name in for the latest drawing, but couldn’t, so maybe next time!! Thanks for all the great photos, videos, music and just a great blog!

    • sbranch says:

      So glad you’re here Mary . . . yes, there will be lots more drawings for wonderful things in the future!

  100. Julie says:

    When I die, if I can come back to earth,
    as a “Garden Fairy”-
    please, grant me living space,
    in your beautiful, “Picket Fence World”.

    I’ll crash, on a Cabbage Rose
    and you’ll never I’m there !

    Photos are gorgeous, Susan-
    Foxgloves in February……..Pure Magic…..a perfect Pick-Me-Up !

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