Mystery Solved

Just an add-on to the post below, because enquiring minds want to know; the mystery has been solved! It’s just as we thought, a harbinger of spring with a mind of its own!

 Joe finally went to the scary, dangerous basement, to beard the little thing in its den; he took the flashlight (you need a flashlight in the corners down there, eeeek), and traced the little plant, aka Audrey, aka Jack’s Beanstalk, back to the source.  He was down there for awhile; I didn’t hear any screaming.  Then he started back up the basement stairs. I could hear him coming out of the deep dark blackness; he seemed to be moving very slowly; he was on the first step, he was on the second step; I stood breathless, my heart in my throat, waiting; what was taking so long? Was he all right; did he find it?

 Nothing.  He wanted the camera.  And around the side of the house he went.  When he came back to the kitchen, he had the answer:  there was ivy growing around the foundation — it had crept up under the clapboards and into the house under the sill, it traveled 2 1/2 feet in the dark before it found the tiniest crack between the wall and the floor of our dining room to slip in and make itself known.

We’re keeping it for a little while.  I’d love to let it grow up, get fluffy, and frame the doorway of the dining room! Joe says it won’t hurt anything for a while, but if we leave it, it could cause damage, so after a while he will cut it at the root, and that will be all of the story of the brave little ivy who came in from the cold.

T H E  E N D

Love you girlfriends!  ♥ XOXO 

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345 Responses to Mystery Solved

  1. Joy Pence says:

    How sweet. I loved how you ended the story!

  2. Relief that it is nothing more sinister than ivy, but as you say, left to it’s own devices . . . say no more . . .

    My Pembrokeshire stone hedge (which is hundreds of years old) is covered in ivy and it looks wonderful . . I oft times think the ivy holds the ancient stonework in place . . this time of year it is buzzing with birds feeding off the black berries . .

  3. Jeannine Holmes, SC says:

    So glad you discovered your creeping ivy. But let me tell you this . . . this ivy will take root all along the way it travels and if you only cut it at the root, or its base, you may not be getting rid of it all. If there is the tiniest little root that formed along the way, it will keep growing.

    My suggestion will be later to paint the stem that you can see with a brush killer (this ivy is hard to be rid of . . . so you need something strong) and leave it until it dies on its own. That way you can be sure you got it all.

    These little plants have quite a lesson we can all learn of, and that is perseverance!

  4. PatsyAnne says:

    I am more boggled by the “how” in “How did it get down there in the first place?” – how does an ivy reproduce? Not by seeds, not by nuts (also seeds), not by cutting and rooting in a water bottle… hmmm – how did it get “down” there? Maybe a little spider carried it down when their “momma” wasn’t looking, to play gardening and then forgot about it? Or the “Borrowers” are REAL!!!! Only those who love those books could understand this.

    Jack must love it….

  5. Sheila Brazzell says:

    Greetings from Hilton Head South Carolina. I was away yesterday and didn’t get to read your blog until this morning. I had to go back to yesterday to see your little sprout. How cute and mysterious. Mystery solved! Have a good day and enjoy those lovely camellias.

  6. Suzanne says:

    Good morning Susan! Yay mystery solved! That is just the strangest thing ever. I’m wondering if Jack has checked it out yet as my Maggie would have chewed it down to the floor by now, (I can’t keep a plant in the house). That plant had a destination and nothing was going to stop it, it must have heard what a wonderful place the inside of your home is and wanted to be part of it. Such a special surprise. 🙂 East Longmeadow, MA.

  7. Marie (from Virginia) says:

    Oh Susan, only you can make an ivy plant, popping through the floorboards of your home, a charming read. I think that ivy said, I’ve been outside long enough; let me see if I can have a peek at all that old-fashioned warmth and charm that I only get to hear, but never see.

    Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia)

  8. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Aha! I love a happy ending! xoxo ps, well maybe not so happy for Ms Audrey!

  9. I’m so glad there wasn’t something scary living in your basement! You have a very brave husband.

  10. Thank you for the Epilogue … we all needed closure! 🙂

  11. Jeanette says:

    Susan, Your knight in shining armor came through again! Yippee. And, a great ending to the story as well. A bit of an ornery ivy is all and one that can be wrangled. And, it didn’t even go “bump” in the night…
    Happy Hippity Friday to you and Joe and Girl Kitty and Jack!!!
    xoxo, Jeanette

  12. Jane says:

    It has certainly been a wonderfully warm winter this year, here in Charleston, SC, also! Unbelievably, we are hearing that summery sound of crickets (or cicadas?) buzzing in the trees during the evening! It’s February, for heaven’s sake!

    Susan, I have a question/request for you….my sweet husband gave me a record player for Christmas to play all the “vintage” Christmas records that I have been collecting. I am so entertained by all the Musica you provide links to, and I’m curious if the music you play in your house comes from the computer or if you, too, have an old record collection. I would love to know your favorite old songs and singers…perhaps in a post similar to the one about your favorite movies! That way I can start hunting for new records and make my house SOUND like your happy home! 🙂

  13. Terri from Swansboro, NC says:

    That ivy gave me so much encouragment today with your pictures and words. If it can go through the dark like that and find light to come to the warmth, well, all the woes in my life need to find that light too! And I know where It is! Blessings to you on this last Friday in February. Hard to believe isn’t it? Love ya’ll!!

  14. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Oh, Susan! Just love the story of “The Brave Little Ivy That Came In From The Cold”! This story and the way you wrote it would make a great children’s book– don’t you agree girlfriends? All you have to do is call your publisher!! Loved it!
    I thought it looked like the ivy we have behind our sun porch. It grows up into the siding and I have to pull out yards of it each spring and fall! Oy! It can be a lovely but quite invasive Houseguest!!
    Tah for now!XO Chrissy…..and as you requested…. Fort Wayne IN. (grew up in NJ–maternal side in Maine so.. frequent New England traveler)

  15. Bonnie Crawford Arroyo Grande, California (Where we miss Susan!!) ;-) says:

    All this talk about basements makes me want an old house again, with all the charm and mysteries floating around….!! That Audrey story is so funny, and I am glad Joe solved that mystery!! 🙂 When we lived in Portland, Oregon for 25 years, we had a huge basement in our first house. It too, was divided into rooms the previous owner called, ‘larder rooms.’ I guess they kept all of their canned goods, fruits and veggies down there, to keep them cold before there were true refrigerators. It had a concrete floor though, and a laundry area. It was cold and creepy in that corner, and I had to go down there frequently to wash the clothes. To cheer it up, I painted all the walls a happy yellow. The basement would fill up with water occasionally, and we had a sump pump to get it all out! Come to think of it, maybe I don’t miss having a basement after all! 😉
    Your camellia story does make me miss the brilliant flowers of the Northwest though! We had a huge camellia bush that would be loaded every year with blooms. They don’t grow like that here in California by the beach!! But then, we didn’t have 80 degree days in the winter either!~~

    My dad told me that the house he grew up in up in Idaho, had a basement with bedrooms, and the floor was all dirt! He and his two brothers lived down there, and thought nothing of it. That story always tied in with his, “When I was young, we had to walk 5 miles to school in the deep snow…., and you kids complain about having to walk one mile to school in San Diego!!” I guess every parent has a story like that to tell their kids….. 🙂
    Thank you Susan, for always brightening our days with these fun stories! xo

  16. jeanette says:

    So glad the mystery is solved–old houses are my favorite for all their character and yours certainly fits that bill! Jeanette from Altus, Oklahoma

  17. Carol D. says:


  18. Nancy Jo says:

    Now maybe I can get some sleep!
    Nancy Jo

  19. Trish K says:

    Greetings from Cape Girardeau, Missouri right here on the Mighty Mississippi River
    Once I met someone who lived in an apartment above her art studio. She had ivy growing in the beautiful light filled apartment, and it trailed all around the ceiling to each window, it seemed so fresh and it made the apartment seem like it was part of nature, like a tree-house.

  20. Betty Marie says:

    Now you can cut it off and dab some root tone on the stem,place it in water till the roots form. Then I can see it in a nice pot with a wire coat hanger bent into a circle and let the Ivy grow around it making a nice wreath. That would be a nice conversation plant. Betty Marie, Transplant from southern N.J. 45 min. from Cape May, now resideing in the Allentown-Quakertown area of Pa.

  21. rosie lus says:

    good morning, susan!
    we once had a neighbors’ bamboo grow across our backyard, under the house and up through the fireplace. these hardy little guys deserve to grow – so glad you’re leaving audrey for a while – giving her a chance to soak up some love.
    oxoxxo from the blue skies of san jose!

  22. Kimberly says:

    soooooo very funny!!! hehehehehahahhehehe

  23. Christine Anderson says:

    Love it!!!

  24. Susan (College Station, Texas) (Whoop!) says:

    Audrey reminds me of Jeff Goldblum’s quote from Jurassic Park “Life will find a way”!
    …sounds like spring to me <3

  25. I LOVE that! I wish you could keep it, how unique that would be to frame an inside doorway with REAL ivy! Talk about bringing the outdoors in! But understandable, it will eventually have to go. I’ll bet your kitties will like it (especially Jack!).

  26. Paulie in Vermont says:

    This little wayward plant has brought such joy for springtime to so many describing it’s discovery and finding its illusive origin. What a neat happening! I loved these two posts.

    Dare we continue to hope for spring now or not? We may have to table that for a few days now with the impending snowfalls due to arrive here today. Our very first major storm of an entire six inches of snow. This makes me giggle…..I can remember when those were not even worth mentioning, lol. Have a great day Susan and everyone!

  27. EsSuzy (from South Carolina) says:

    Yes, that ivy was definitely looking for the breakfast party! Hah!
    I have to share my basement story. I have no basement, live in a 1960s bungalow, but often had one growing up in one of the houses provided by military as my father was in Army my entire childhood. BUT, my 3rd year teaching I was at a school built in 1902 (which was also where I attended 1st grade and half of 2nd) It had a big scary basement. After a few years we got a zerox machine!! and finally got rid of the old hand-cranked mimeograph copier (yes, I’m THAT old). The extra copy paper was kept in the basement and any time I was the unlucky one who had to go get more paper, I would make it a point to tell the school secretary: “I’m going down to the basement..send someone if I’m not back in a few minutes.” Years later the school was closed because the foundation was sinking and the classroom floors were dropping into the basement! I then taught in our spanking new school and work there part-time now! So cut out that ivy!!!

  28. Sheryle Towle says:

    Susan Branch!!!! I have missed you; we went to sunny FL for 4 weeks, returning a few days ago. Since I have been back home, I have been a bit blue with this drab weather….then I started reading your wonderful blogs again!!!!! You brighten my days! Thank you so much for a touch of springtime & a fresh breath of air!!!!! Love you!!!!!!

  29. Pat Beckman says:

    Susan, just what I needed on a really gloomy day in Cincinnati with the awful lest case of bronchitis I have ever had…I’m almost too weak to get off the sofa…..blaaaah
    We have an old house, built around. 1860 after the civil war…there is a fire place in a front room that will have ivy come thru between the bricks and the siding every few years…freaks my husband out because of the damage it can do if left alone..ivy has found its way in a tiny crack around a basement window, stubborn. Little things. Only you can make a story out of it, what talent. You have taken my mind off me for awhile
    I’m dying to get out and pick the hellebores in the garden.we have snow drops and crocus blooming too…
    Thanks so much

  30. Cindy Garner says:

    Whew!!!…. I’m glad Jack and His Bean stock will have some time together before father Joe cuts in down….LOL…

  31. Diane P. says:

    Oh, my gosh… I think seeing Audrey poking up from the floorboards would make me afraid to go down in the basement… (hearing “Feed me Seymour” in my head!)
    I grew up in California, too, with no basements until I moved to the Gold Country and lived in a farmhouse built in 1865. The basement was partly finished, partly not. The finished part we used as a storage room, the unfinished part was my (then) husband’s work shop. One night, I had just finished putting something away in the storage room when I heard a “bump” in the workshop. I thought I was the only one down there, so I bravely decided to investigate. I opened the old creaky door, walked into the middle of the space to pull the chain attached to the lone lightbulb hanging from the ceiling when “BOO!!!” my teenage son jumped out from behind the door to give me a scare I will *never, EVER* forget!
    Fortunately, my son and I share a love for scary movies, so I was used to (and didn’t mind) him giving me little scares, but this one made me scream so loud, I’m surprised the neighbors didn’t come running!
    ~Diane, Sacramento, California, U*S* of A!

  32. Sandra R says:

    Joe will probably not like this idea. But you could root it you know. And keep it in captivity, so to speak.
    Lexington, Ky. WINDY day
    PS I had daffodils in full bloom the last week of January, the earliest in 20 years. I do not describe the usual yellow tight buds that can jump the gun on winter, I mean full bloom. So odd.

  33. Hi Sue!

    Did you know that Greek, Roman and Celtic societies revered the ivy plant for its hardiness and longevity; and, ivy has been a symbol of fidelity, friendship and affection for centuries? Those “heart-shaped” leaves are irresistable! lol

    Have a happy day!

  34. Jane says:

    I’m happy you figured out where the little bugger was coming from. My daughter’s room is in the basement {it’s finished} and she had a whole wall of ivy growing until I found it! It looked like a big stencil! lol! Of course our house is covered in ivy, it’s old and gnarly. But I love it…as long as it stays outside!

    Have a Happy Weekend, Sus

    I’m from Chicag

    • sbranch says:

      I love anything ivy-covered . . . not sure why it’s a problem for some places and not for others … I guess a wooden house is a bad place for it!!

  35. Joan in Texas (Big D) says:

    That was spooky and exciting! How come your “kitty bundles of joy” didn’t take it out before it got that big? I know mine sure would have. The poor little ivy would have been shredded to pieces by now. Happy Spring! (It sure feels like winter went by in a blink of an eye to me.)

    • sbranch says:

      Still going strong, leaves have unfurled, and cats seem not to know or care that it’s there! i have no idea why!

  36. marie bailey says:

    Totally unrelated comment, have just made your Orange cake from your Domesticity City item. It was delicious, not as sweet as I thought the icing may have been. Will definately make it again . Just to let you know. From Marie in England near the city of Chester .

  37. Gail from Manchester, N.H. says:

    Isn’t it all just so amazing!!! Such a fun blog to read.

  38. Laurie G., Woodland Hills, CA says:

    I miss the start of spring in Massachusetts. Sometimes I take if for granted here when it is sunny all year long. What I love and miss about each of the seasons is that they seem to comes at the perfect time. We can enjoy what each has to offer and it isn’t too long that the next one will be starting. Enjoy!!!

  39. Diane from Washington state says:

    As usual, I was cracking up at the way you described the unfolding of the mystery! LOL. I hope your laundry room is inside your wonderfully light and bright house…and not down THERE!? I can promise you one thing….it would be my hubby doing all of the laundry if it were me! We had bought an old farmhouse in KS when we were first married and lived there until we moved out here in the northwest, and that house had one of those dark and smelly and very scary basements….along with the steepest set of old wooden stairs that I have ever seen. In those days I thought I HAD to be the one to do the laundry down there….but now if I could do it all over again, I would have the husband doing all of that…and anything else down there. lol. Have a wonderful weekend Susan! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Ours is in the pantry! But my old house had the laundry in the basement. I eliminated half of my trips down there by putting an open cabinet with a lid over the washer so I could drop the laundry down and not have to carry it. I got used to it after a while, but never fully loved it.

      • Diane from Washington state says:

        I can totally appreciate that you didn’t enjoy your other laundry “facility”! What woman can feel joy in that chore in those surroundings ? Lol. I am glad that you can be cozy, warm, and safe now….you are a princess and deserve beauty all around you!

  40. Kelly J. says:

    Quite a faithful little sprout….oh Susan, this has “children’s book” written all over it! What do you say?
    Thanks for the update 🙂
    Kelly in Eastern PA….where it’s perfect tea & reading weather today.

  41. Joan says:

    How tall was it when you first noticed it? It looks pretty big in the picture.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s the first moment we saw it . . . it’s a little bit out of the way (she says, to make up for the fact that she didn’t notice!)!

      • Joan says:

        That is hilarious you didn’t see it till it was BIIIIIG! Surprised Jack didn’t bring it to you trying to make it a new toy. LOL

  42. Nancy says:

    Your pictures and watercolors are so beautiful! Thanks so much for brightening my day!

  43. Tina says:

    We had trouble with the exact same plant growing on our house here in Idaho. We also had to dig it up as it was crawling into the attic crawlspace and trying its best to come into our bedroom through the ceiling. I had to admire the plant’s persistence, but my husband insisted that an invasive ivy actually breaking into the house was not a good thing as it was breaching our secure home and it would only be time before mice and squirrels and bats found the opening from the ivy. So, no more ivy covering the side of the house.

  44. Shelagh says:

    Hehe. How amazing. I actually was thinking about your traveling plant this morning, looking forward to finding out what it was! Ivy! When you cut it back will you keep that as a slip? A reminder of where there’s a will there’s a way:)
    Rain here tonight again.
    Shelagh from Nova Scotia

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve learned so much about ivy! It’s very invasive. Pretty in its place, but dangerous curling inside the walls of a house. We do have lots of it in our yard; it’s a vine, sends out lots of shoots, that root along their course. You actually could pull it all up all day everyday and it still wouldn’t be gone.

  45. Patricia from Philly says:

    Hi Susan! I like to recite to my husband (during dinner) the story from each day’s blog.
    While I was telling him about the vine, he started calling it “Jack” and I was completely confused. He then said “for Jack and the Beanstalk” and I said the vine could not be named Jack, as that was the name of your dear krazy-kat. He then replied “ok then, Jill”.
    Do you do Oscar parties? I love the whole event-filled day leading up to the actual ceremony… the gowns, the glitterati, all of it. Loved the movie Hugo, and I think you and Joe would too. I highly recommend it. Of course, The Artist was excellent as well.

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve been to Oscar parties, and they’re fun, but we never get to see the Oscars, everyone is talking! So now we just hunker down in front of the TV and catch the very first of the red carpet shows I can find, because I just love those dresses!!!

  46. Audrey Patterson says:

    Dear Susan Thanks for Willard, I loved hearing about spring in your part of the world.I’m up here in cold old Canada and even though we have had a great winter I am longing to also see snow drops. Right now it is a blizzard and we spotted seven beautiful dear across the street, grazing,right here in town, in fact last week they were standing on their hind legs eating from our bird feeder. Wonders never cease.
    In the spring I always think back to our great,great, great etc. mothers. When we step out the door , feel and smell the first signs of spring today, with such delight and thankfullness, imagine our ancestors. Their delight and thankfullness would have been so, so much greater as they would have made it through another winter, hopefully with all their children still alive and well . Even if their larders were almost empty the signs of spring would fill them with renewed hope as they could now search for natures offerings of maybe leeks or morals or watercrest, anything fresh after the long winter. Each year as I feel spring, I am in touch with a long, long line of women who have felt as I feel only even more so, and it makes me ever so thankful for my good life.

    We live about two hours north of Toronto and this time of year when we get really fed up, we can get in the car and drive to spring, just to see the bare fields and see the spring flowers coming up along the edge of some houses, is worth the drive.
    Thanks for your lovely blog, it’s my daily inspiration.Snow drops? really?Wow!
    Bernice Audrey

  47. Dee says:

    How sweet! Love your story! I see a new book in the making!!! You are so funny, Susan!
    Pink Hugs,

  48. Nicki Anderson says:

    Call me cynical — but I have a feeling this story is not over. I HOPE it is — but I will keep watching. My best wishes for you.
    Hugs, Nicki

  49. Lynn D says:

    Thanks for the end of the story. Too bad it wasn’t a wisteria (since they do that too) cause then you might have flowers in the dining room, not just ivy. Enjoy while you can. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      We already live in great fear of the wisteria on the other side of the house that’s always sneaking in through the window. So beautiful, but so strong, slipping in and out of the slats on the old shutters!

  50. Alyssa says:

    I LOVE the ivy creeping up into your house! That is very funny and it must know that you are a true plant lover, or you have the Little Shop of Horrors plant growing down there. My mind would go with the later, as yesterday I went screaming up the stairs with dog and 6 year old in tow because I thought I stepped on a mouse. It was actually an oak leaf when my husband went to “check out the situation.” Would love to be in your Rose Chintz drawing if it’s not too late. Happy Friday on this chilly gray day in Massachusetts. Spring is just around the corner, or almost through the floorboards. ;)All the best to you, Susan!

  51. Pamela Rossi says:

    Can Ms. Audry somehow be saved and transplanted elsewhere, outside? She seems such a brave little soul to have traveled all that way in the dark in the hopes of finding a place to sprout and thrive. I feel, somehow, that she should be rewarded for her courage and tenacity!

  52. Sarah says:

    What a great little story. It always amazes me when I find little trooper in nature that manages to “bloom where it is planted.” Find a way to get where you need to be. A good lesson for us all. 🙂

  53. Gala says:

    I love ivy–it ‘s one of my favorite plants. I wanted it to cover the walls of our brick house, but we had construction and exterminator folks tell us that it was a bad idea. Enjoy Audrey while you can!
    Manhattan, KS

  54. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Wishing You & Joe & Girl~Kitty & Jack The Happiest Weekend Sweet Sue…oh how I L♥ve the Brave Little Ivy…so Cute…It would Be so Cool if You could Let The Ivy Grow all around Your Dining Room Doorway…Talk about Bringing The Out~Side In… 🙂 Very Park~like…Gazeboish…Thanks for Letting Us Know…I really thought it was a Magical Beanstalk…lol…But this little Ivy is pretty darn Magical all By Herself….Joe is a very Good Dectective too! :-)… Whew….this was a Very Good Beginning of Springtime Story…Twirling into Ivy….Getting all Tangled Up…yay!….xoxo Poof! ♥♫ 🙂

  55. Ginnie says:

    Excellent! We have ivy that has crept into our detached garage (so now I keep it trimmed back from the foundation) and into one of our basement windows (ditto). When Joe snips yours, consider also sealing that spot with expanding foam (e.g., Great Stuff), as gaps like that not only let in lovely ivy but also winter cold and critters. Your house needs more air-sealing to be more energy-efficient. Why waste one of our precious resources if you don’t need to. That ivy is sending you an eco-message! 🙂

  56. Melissa Leathley says:


  57. thea says:

    I created a website for our garden club, working with a web designer who is not a gardener. I wanted a fence with flowers growing up, and she designed one with ivy. Need I tell you how many comments we’ve gotten regarding the cardinal sin I committed by having an ‘invasive’ plant growing up the blog???? A lot. But since that work is a foundation layer of the site, it’s not easy or cheap to fix. oh, dear. Thank goodness you have the mighty warrior, Joe, to do the hard stuff. But you have to admire the earnest desire to reach for the sun that your ivy visitor possesses. xo

    • sbranch says:

      Oh that’s so funny!! You poor thing! It’s something I would do . . . being perfectly correct is like walking a tightrope!

  58. Lisa says:

    Now there’s proof of where there’s a will, there’s a way! I’m glad it wasn’t anything scary. Just a little Audrey for a little while. I like that.

  59. little t (Greenbelt, Maryland) says:

    Hi Susan! My heart was really pounding when you were telling us about Joe being in the basement. I’m glad he got out, safe and sound. That cute little ivy looks like a cat toy to me! Happy Weekend!!!

  60. Ann Michael, from Ohio says:

    Whew – at least the little plant has not taken over your home like the plants in the movie “Jumanji”! Sometimes we find the funniest uninvited guests living in our homes. When we lived in Portland. OR., I found a happy little salamander in our basement. Now that’s when you Know you have too much water getting in down there!

  61. Leslie says:

    That was hilarious! “I didn’t hear any screaming.” Thanks for the good laugh on a Happy Friday!

    Leslie from Marysville, WA

  62. Angela Smith says:

    Love the ivy story…also I adore your teacups that you will be giving away.. Perhaps to a lady that lives in a town of 241 people in SC maybe??? Going to borrow your morning party idea.

  63. Nancy says:

    Loved your sweet story Susan. And I love that Joe is letting you keep him or her in the house for awhile. (I couldn’t remember if it was called Audrey or Jack…smile). You’re such a delightful story teller, even of the simplest things, and I love it.


  64. Barbara from SoCal says:

    Awww, “the little ivy that could”. 🙂

  65. Judy Leopard says:

    I love the story of the little ivy that wanted to come in from the cold….how sweet and happy she gets to stay for awhile….reminds me of how we took in the Calico Cat…several years ago living in Tennessee a huge winter storm was brewing one the back door was the Calico cat standing and hitting the glass door asking to come in from the winter blast….now Ms Calico Rose has been in the house living the life of a princess since 2002..she is happy and so are we. and her 3yr old brother Mr Spooky…..we all moved 2yrs ago to Ohio….cheers..thanks for your stories…

  66. Cindy Tuning says:

    VERY scary basement. Brave guy, that Joe! I’ve been fighting with Ivy along my foundation all 26 yrs that I’ve lived in my house(Dunkirk,NY not far from Buffalo).Almost has hard to tame as the Bishops Weed that has taken over all my gardens. I’ve read that the only way to get rid of it(the weed) is to spray every living inch with herbicide and cover it up with black plastic for an entire growing season.Not in me to do that. So, every day I pick leaf by leaf that grows through and around my flowers. This year I will win!!!! If anyone knows what to do with this PLEASE tell me.But..don’t you just love it when a pansy or a johnny-jump-up appears out of a crack in the concrete?

  67. Susan Joy says:

    My aunt (who lived about an hour from me on LI) had a screened-in porch in back of her brick home that ivy just loved. It crept its way all around that porch, inside and out. It needed trimming from time to time but what a beautiful room that was!

  68. Ann Beirne says:

    I love how it all had a happy ending!

  69. Pat says:

    Ta-dum!!! And the mystery is solved!! Neat story!!!

  70. Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

    I’m doing the HAPPY DANCE!! I took my uncle into Boulder to walk the Pearl Street Mall – oh what a glorious day! The foothills are coated in snow, the sky a brilliant blue, a bit chilly (39) but the sun was out and warmed us as we ducked in and out of stores. We stopped in The Peppercorn… its an amazing 3 story kitchen store with several aisles of cookbooks. As I always do in a book store I asked “Do you have any Susan Branch books?” YES!! I came home with two of my Wish List books: AUTUMN and HEART OF THE HOME!!!! Oh La-de-da! I’m so happy!! You need to add the Peppercorn to your Book Tour in the Fall! Also, just up the street is The Boulder Bookstore! Have you ever been to Boulder? You will just fall in love with it!!
    Have a wonderful weekend girlfriends… I’m curling up with Earl Gray on the sofa with Bella dog and my TWO NEW SUSAN BRANCH BOOKS!!! xoxoxox
    PS Did I tell you I’m happy??!!!!

    • Linda in Texas says:

      Christine, I loved hearing about The Peppercorn. Lovely store. I have a little yellow teapot I bought there a number of years ago.

  71. Caroline Delao says:

    How strong that little ivy is to travel through cracks and dark just to visit the inside of your house. How incredible nature is.

  72. Seattle-ish, WA. 42 degrees and rainy.

    First of all, I love the idea of starting my post with my locale. I added the weather bit. This is what my dear sis-in-law, and I do when we text now that she and my bro and my darling nephew, Spuddy, and niece, Petunia, have moved to Orange County, CA. We’ve never lived outside the same county before let alone two states away. But I digress…

    Your harbinger of spring made me smile. I would be like you and want to let it grow around the doorway. My hubby would be like Joe, and point out the impacticalities (rightly so.)

    The countdown to spring has begun!

  73. Wendy says:

    Ivy indeed is tenacious, dedicated, prolific and curious! We have it all over the west side of our house and I am always pulling it down as it climbs way up and likes to wiggle it’s way inside our windows! I do love it but it is reluctant to grow where I place rooted pieces, with the hopes of spreading where there is a lack of grass. Oh well. More power to the ivy as long as we can keep it under control. It’s not as insidious as the infamous kudzu!
    thanks for this post!

  74. I LOVE this story! i feel the same way about basements. My current house has none, which is perfectly fine by me! Oh, and I’m from Muskegon, Michigan, a small town along the western shores of the great Lake Michigan.

  75. Mary S. says:

    I love this story of The Brave Little Ivy so much!!!!!

  76. Marie Morris says:

    What a sweet story Susan. That little ivy deserves to be planted somewhere else, it’s a survivor for sure! xo

  77. Kathleen Smith says:

    So glad the ivy mystery has been solved! Loved seeing your beautiful table setting prepared for your guests! I would love to be a fly on the wall at your next gathering…one would always depart your home with a happy heart! Maybe the chintz teacups will call me…! 🙂

  78. barb bussell says:

    You’re so sweet to update all of your girlfriends who’ve been waiting with bated breath to see the outcome of this mysterious little Audrey. Thanks, Susan! Love the story of the little persistent ivy that reached for the light!


  79. Arline LA says:

    Passed a dry parking lot today with a grate in the middle — and a bright green palm frond sprouting out of it. Made me think of Sue’s ivy! It’s the California version of Spring busting out.

    Burbank, CA – right next to the “Wonder Years” house

  80. Connie Michael says:

    Greetings from North Carolina! Our house is 70+ yrs old and the basement scares my daughter to pieces – I’ll go down during the daytime, but at night no way, even though it’s well lit. Something about going down below….and wobbly steps! So glad the ivy mystery solved – amazing how plants find their way… hope you have a wonderful weekend – kitty chin scratches to Girl Kitty and that lil rascal Jack! Love their pictures! chm

  81. Mary Anne says:

    Hi susan, I am writing from beautiful Salem Oregon. I haven’t time to read the other comments but just want to say that that little innocent looking ivy is nothing but pure evil. It will grow inside your house and literally push the boards and cement apart. The best plan with English ivy like that is never to plant it and if you somehow get it growing try to uproot it all. It will always come back, kind of like cockroaches! It is absolutley a noxious weed. I thought that was what it looked like in the photo yesterday. Best wishes in getting rid of it. Mary Anne

  82. Tam says:

    wow! That is one determined plant!

  83. Anne says:

    What a great story! Couldn’t wait to hear the end of the tale. Thanks for letting us know. We call them cellars in my neck of the woods and I don’t like them either!

  84. Gail G. says:

    We had the same exact thing happen with ivy growing through the wall in our little bathroom.
    My husband did have to cut out the root. I love your post about basements! Unfortunately we don’t have one (at the time builders were charging big bucks for them in new houses and we couldn’t afford one—or so we thought–young and foolish! Lol)

    So if there is a tornado watch we will head on over!

    Only kidding!

    Have a great weekend!

    Regards from Gail G. In Port Jefferson, NY

    Have a great weekend!

  85. Conni Haden says:


  86. Carol renshaw says:

    I live in Blue Springs,Mo. Many basements here’re finished and furnished just as beautifully as the rest of the house. Mine is not finished but is used for storage and craft projects. The grandkids and I do our messy projects down there. You cannot hurt a thing! Go ahead spill paint on the floor, leave paper and fabric scraps,make confetti etc. Etc.. The beauty and creative freedom to do whatever you can think of. There is a long table with overhead lighting and every art supply imaginable. Sometimes neighborhood kids join us, if Iam in a good mood. Basements– good not scary!

  87. Lori from Maine says:

    I’ve always wanted to plant ivy in the garden, but have been warned about it “taking over” and all kinds of awful stories! But to have a little seedling pop up in your house – how cool is that? I got sprung from the hospital on Tuesday morning and pretty much slept until today. All of a sudden I’m wide awake, no owies and ready to roll. Happy to be home with hubby and doggie in my little house. I want to start a spring-like project…I think I’ll play with my houseplants, repot, snip, talk to them. Yahoo, life is good!! Seventeen days in limbo makes you appreciate all the little things. xoxoxo from SWH ME

  88. Bev says:

    Thank you for the up-date. Inquiring minds wanted to know. I think I am like you. Living in Northern CA all my life basements are unknown. I am glad Joe was brave. I would have had someone else go in there for me!

  89. I’ve always loved ivy, and have several varieties both in pots inside as well as free and wild in the yard. Whoever would have dreamed that a rogue ivy tendril could bring such enjoyment!? It’s truly the simple things of life that bring the greatest joy. Thanks for sharing this fun episode in your life with us Susan. Joe is the hero in the end, and that seems so right!

  90. Debbie McCormick says:

    I especially enjoyed your description of the old basement. I didn’t know until a few years ago that not all basements had concrete floors. I loved that we could roller skate in ours. It had a sub pump in the corner and that was the creepiest part of the basement.

  91. Jean D. says:

    Thank you for the update. Clearly that tenacious little ivy knows a wonderful, warm and safe home when it sees it! 🙂

  92. Joyce says:

    You are too funny. Thanks for the mental visuals – I can see little sparkly white lights in the ivy around the doorway. Festive! Yes?

  93. Susie Kunze says:

    Our goat has been eating ivy at the base of a tree lately. I thought your ivy was wisteria at first.

  94. Cyndi Harp says:

    It’s too bad you can’t let it grow inside. That would be so cool growing around the door frame or up a wall. But as Joe said it would hurt the house. It’s a shame though. Where there is life there’s a way. *S*

  95. sharon says:

    When I was 16 I babysat for a couple with a log cabin, in a very isolated, wooded area. The living room always seemed to have ivy growing through the floor and they would wind it around the fireplace mantle. It was pretty cool actually. I hadn’t thought of that in years. Keep us posted. Have a good day 🙂

  96. Julie Cavrich says:

    What a great little story. You had us enchanted! I just love the “little things” in life. Thank you for being a bright, positive spot in life. It was a gray day here in Central Pennslyvania, but you made it sunny! Kisses to the Kitties!

  97. judy says:

    Well that is just TOO cool. Now I want one. But all I get are mice.

  98. Tiina says:

    We had the same thing happen to us but it was called bermuda grass and we were staying at a rental. We let it grow to the ceiling so the buyers could see the crack in the foundation and how it can grow all the way to the top of the ceiling. Needless to say the landlord got really mad and cut it down but we definitly shooed away some buyers. It is a great story of your ivy.

  99. Charlene says:

    I just wanted to say that I love the fact that when I order something from your store the box comes with cute little stickers on it that make me smile. Flowers or a heart with sweet words on it. What a nice touch thank you!

  100. Hello Susan, am I to late to get in the drawing for the precious cups. I have been reading about your basement plant, thinking about Cary Grant,then the next line there he was:) I do not think he ever went down…Teddy did, Charge!!!
    Love Jack and your Girl Kitty. My Kitty Girl was a calico. I now have a Siamese names YumYum. Sweet Hugs 🙂

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