S I S S I N G H U R S T ♣ 

Last night, we ate delicious pub food at the George Inn in Cranbrook (we are addicted) and this is the music they played  . . . made me almost homesick!

This photo is my absolute favorite of all the photos we’ve taken so far!!!  Joe took it; isn’t that little doll the picture of joy?   She’s running between the hedges on the Long Walk at Sissinghurst Garden — it’s exactly how I feel every day; my feet didn’t touch down at Sissinghurst either!

Here is a photo I took from the top of the Sissinghurst Towers, so you can get a general idea of what the garden is like.  But don’t worry, we’ll climb down and get up close and personal with it and you’ll see that although some of the hedges look like they’re cut from florist oasis, they are real, soft bushes. The little holes on the top are where the birds go in and out to reach their nests; hedges are “bird motels.”  The long hedge you see on the left is part of what is called “The Long Walk;” a charming feature that occurs in many formal English gardens.

This is Sissinghurst Castle, with the towers peeking over the entrance way to the house . . . for the “aerial” photo; I was standing up there between the towers, under the flag, over the clock, where you can see that little person.

This is really the garden that planted the seed of England in my heart; all because of this book which I read when I was twenty-four.  Portrait of a Marriage was written by the son of Vita Sackville-West, and Harold Nicholson who were the owners of Sissinghurst; every other chapter is directly taken from Vita’s Diary, and her son Nigel wrote the chapters in between.  Besides the era, and my interest in those times, two things from this fascinating book resonated with me and opened doors in my mind.  The first thing was that, until then (and I really do hate to admit this but at least I figured it out before I was fifty!  The way I was going, it could really have taken that long), I believed that everyone pretty much lived exactly like we did at 6847 Claire Avenue, Reseda, California, USA.  I thought they believed the same things, did the same things, read the same things, they all sewed and embroidered, they all thought the same things were funny, they all loved to camp out and cook, they all loved to sing in the car.  You grew up, you got married, you had children, you lived happily ever after.  That’s just how I thought it was for not only me, but for everyone.  Any deviation would land you in the gutter, or prison or something.  But this book showed me that people lived and thought in very different ways, ways that I had never imagined, and that even though it might not be my way, it was a good way for them, as “normal” as me, and worked out just they way they wanted it to.   What a revelation!  No more judgy-wudgy.  Just like that.  And the other thing was this . . . these two people had a passion bigger than themselves that helped to keep them together and enthralled with their lives.  It was their garden.  And what they did with a bare plot of land, although it is in amazing England with the perfect soil and the rain to boot; what they left behind for the generations to come, is pure magic.  It was the first time I knew that there “were gardens in England.”  I dreamed of seeing Sissinghurst ever since I read this book, but first I had to move to Martha’s Vineyard, meet Joe, fall in love, develop the dream and the idea of making it come true, and when I finally got there, surrounded by all Harold’s and Vita’s creativity and dedication, tears leaked from my eyes, as I stood in the mown path of the wild garden meadow for the very first time, on a misty cool May day, smelling the flowers of the spring blooming apple trees.

Victoria Mary Sackville-West, Vita, was a prolific writer, a poet and journalist, born at another amazing house not very far away called Knole, which we are planning to visit soon (Oh yes, I will post pictures when we do!).  She would have inherited that amazing home, more of a castle, had she been born a boy.  But since she wasn’t, her father’s younger brother got the house and she just had to move away.  This would light my hair on fire for a lifetime, which I think it did hers,  but British aristocracy had some interesting laws in the old days, and luckily, in my family, that problem never came up! 🙂  Vita and Virginia Woolf were friends and lovers; which is the connection between Vita and the artists at Charleston.

Vita was one of the very first people to plant a garden in all one color; her White Garden is famous the world over.  Click there and prepare to be amazed and inspired!!


It’s May, that lusty month of may, all the world is coming awake, and here in England, the gardens have just begun to bloom.

This is the house that anyone can lease (through the National Trust) for a stay right here in the White Garden — but the trick is to definitely Book Ahead!  It was already booked up when we tried to get it.

The camomile bench smells even better than it looks!  I can only imagine what it looks like when the little daisy-like camomile flowers bloom!

Harold designed the structure of the garden; then built garden walls, planted hedges and pathways to make the  “rooms” that give the garden shape.

Every bend of a stone, brick, or dirt path brings surprises; an herb garden-room, long walks through pleached lime trees (that Harold planted in rows and made to grow together to become one!!!), a blue-painted door in an old wall; brick archways, garden statues, yew and boxwood bushes carved into shapes; wooden and stone benches for sitting and talking.  Or a happy running child running between the openings in the hedge!  You never know what you may see. 

I never knew there were so many colors of green until I came to England!

I fell in love with this pink clematis and now it grows over our picket fence garden on Martha’s Vineyard.  Maybe not as wild and fluffy as this one, but mine is a lot younger!  We still have some growing to do!

As you turn each corner, you make little screaming sounds inside, like when you find the moat (all good castles have moats!), with the reflections of the trees, the tiny, fragrant flowers of the blooming Hawthorn, the stone path to the boat house.  There are nine full-time gardeners here, a gift store and a tea room.

 Sissinghurst was a huge Elizabethan manor house at one time.  In the 1300’s, my blood relative (although we seem to have lost touch with the family 🙂 ), King Edward I, known affectionately as “The Hammer of the Scots,” spent the night here (Edward got around; in 1305 he paid a visit to Tenterden, the town we’re staying in now); and in 1573, Queen Elizabeth I spent three nights at Sissinghurst.  By 1800 most of the castle was in ruins; they demolished it, and carted it away, salvaging what they could for future building projects.  What we see here is all that is left, but these beautiful impressive ruins still show a bit of its former splendor.  Vita, deprived of her own home by archaic law and custom, bought the remains of a castle, and created her garden here.

What is this?  Does anyone know?  I looked for the little marker to tell me, but couldn’t find it.  Love it!  What a fresh and happy spring bloomer!

Here are a couple of other fresh and happy spring bloomers; that’s Rachel (who started out as my English Pen Pal in the early 1990’s and is now one of my dearest old friends) and Joe! 


And as lovely as the squealing belted pigs, the wild garden, the Cow Parsley (Queen Anne’s Lace in our neck of the woods) and the moat are, all good things must come to an end.  And so this day did, but of course the ending is never sad as it always takes place in a lovely pub, in front of a delicious fire.  As the screen says whenever I turn the TV on around here:  Life’s Good.

Now would you like to take a little drive with us?  It’s so pretty — I could post every single time we drive anywhere, and you’d be amazed at how beautiful it is.  I’ll do more if you like, just let me know . . . But better fasten your seatbelt, and get steady, throw back some whisky (you aren’t driving!), as we are going out there on the wrong side of the road; I’m about to show you what a true adventure it is!  TGFJ.  Thank God For Joe and nerves of steel.


In that video we were on our way to Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, which we saw yesterday!  More gloriosity (not a word, but obviously should be) to show you soon!  Happy Sunday girlfriends xoxo! I’ll leave you with what I see as the PERFECT magazine cover.  I have never before bought this magazine; I don’t even know what is in it, but how could I resist getting it????  Cutest little Corgi!  Everywhere we go we see England celebrating the Diamond Jubilee!  Every little town will have floats and parades in honor of the day!

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355 Responses to Sissinghurst!

  1. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Sue Sue! Thank you thank you for such a magnificent account of our amazing adventure! You have outdone yourself! It was well worth the waiting and checking for the latest story! Your soul down to the very core must be quite revived having visited your precious Sissinghurst again! Thanks for the whiskey tip! It was much needed! You never cease to amaze me!~

  2. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Great photo Joe! Wonderful blog and pictures! Sorry, I couldn’t open the music or the driving video. But, I thoroughly enjoyed Sissinghurst and your beautiful writings and pictures, and thank you! We’re off to our granddaughter’s college graduation in Chico, will catch you later my dears. Love and hugs, Joanie

    • sbranch says:

      Having trouble with the music, but the driving video just came up, hopefully the music will soon also. Happy graduation day!

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Graduation day was AWESOME! Thank you! Flashing yellow light on top of car a VERY good idea! So scary for we foreigners! My heart was pounding, going around the bend then seeing the red dorry (?), wowser for you & Joe! He’s very brave, maybe the Queen could knight him or somethin’!!!xoxoxo

        • sbranch says:

          Scary for the locals too…when we’re in stores, I try to tell them to watch out for us, and not to worry, we will leave the area in about a week!

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Music is here you clever girl you! Love your blog! xoxo

  3. Laura says:

    Oh my!!!!!!! I must find that magazine….the corgi on the cover looks just like our corgi….I must frame that!!!!

    I love hearing the happiness and joy in your voice…..dreams do come true. How wonderful the world is! Xoxoxoxoxo

  4. Leslie Freeman says:

    Susan, this was a beautifully done piece! The yellow plant is euphorbia polychroma – a real bright light in the garden on a grey day. They do well in New England as well as here. I have a foot in both, lucky me! I add my thanks to you for taking the time to do these posts. The wonderful photgraphy and joyous prose make it a joy to read.

  5. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Couldn’t open the driving video. But so loved the other videos!

  6. Nina says:

    Cushion spurge….I believe. I have one also and it just gets bigger and bigger.

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      HAHAHAHA NINA…..I am not sure what cushion spurge is …..or what
      your discussing…..but I think it might be ME!!!!!! I have been spending
      a lot more time on this computer…..and if “cushion spurge” is the English
      word for what I am thinking of……well, I have one too…..and it just gets
      bigger and bigger ……………” “Bret, does my cushion spurge look bigger
      to you…..tell me the truth !!!!” 🙂 😮 :0 🙂 XoXDawn

  7. Karen P. - Green Bay, WI says:

    What lovely gardens! How DO they get those hedges so full and crisp? It must be a Bristish gardener secret because we’ve tried to no avail! Every day is such a new adventure. How DO you sleep with anticipation of the next day? Have a wonderful day today! Thank you for the pictures. The White Gardens must be just magical in the moonlight!?

    • sbranch says:

      In order to see them in the moonlight, you’d have to rent that cottage, but that would sure be fun!

  8. Ruthanne says:

    Oh my, it is so beautiful there! Inspiring me to go out and play in my garden! I leave for London on Tuesday and will be in Bibury on Friday….can’t wait! Enjoy, Susan!

  9. Pam says:

    So glad you are enjoying your visit here. Sorry the weather isn’t better but they did say it was going to get warmer next week. Let’s hope they are right 🙂

  10. Is the flower Euphorbia? I finally was able to get the music to come up (perfect song for your post!), but, alas, the driving video still says “This video is a duplicate of a previously loaded video.” I’ll keep trying, though.

    Sissinghurst is wonderful! Now I have another book to add to my stack! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      It may be a kind of euphorbia, if it it, it’s one I’ve never seen before. I kind of think it isn’t, but let’s wait and see what others say. I work on the driving video!

    • Trish K says:

      Cathy, have you tried clearing you history in your browser? It might help with the “previously loaded” issue, and maybe not. But, I hope so!

  11. PatsyAnne says:

    Am Loving Your Trip! Makes me want to return to England after so many years. My daughter did her A-Levels there at Abbotsholme, for two years she learned all that she could about Shakespeare and his plays, the geography of the British Isles, how to repel down the side of mountains, how to get out of a deep cave through flooded water ways, how to write “good” poetry and how to be “British”…
    I love the Tattler and would LOVE a copy of that issue with the corgi on it. I just checked the internet and can’t find it. Do you have space in your suitcase to bring me one back (LOL)… AND a copy of the latest Country Homes and – well never mind, I’ll find a way to get them all…
    Enjoy, eat, photograph, shop, learn, relax and know that we will all be waiting for your return.
    Remember, we’re all walking just a step behind you on this fantastic journey!

  12. Mary S. says:

    Dear Susan and Joe…’ literally popping from sleep at 4 a.m. these days…’got to click on your post ( even before coffee…go figure !! ) any rate..soooo much to comment about…had to chuckle about “judgy-wudgey”…greatly appreciated !!..also your post onVirginia and Vanessa and their group..(altho it stirred sadness w/ understanding their ..and severe depressions..knowing that world well enough ….BUT !!..this morning,even tho I’m turning 60 at the very end of make me feel air-born like that child…skipping around castles and gardens and moats !!! ‘ Love it all..and love that you have that precious “happy gene ” !!!!

    • Priscilla Palmer from Naples, Florida says:

      Dear Mary S,
      I too love that Sue has the “happy gene” … she always makes me smile …

  13. Lynn Cooper says:

    Hi Susan,

    The yellow flower appears to be euphorbia, which blooms in the spring in New England. Mine did not come up this year, so I was unable to compare it to the one you sent, but it looks like euphorbia to me.
    Lynn Cooper

    • sbranch says:

      I think you’re right … such a fresh soft one! I have lime-colored euphorbia, but it looks completely different.

  14. It can only be imagined what a wonderful book you’ll write from your travels; it’s difficult to wait! You have a gift, Susan, for living in the moment and you relay that moment, extraordinarily well, to us. Many thanks.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Sandra, so nice to hear … I’m just trying to give you the feeling so you feel like you’re there!

  15. jennifer says:

    Susan, What a treat! How amazing it all is. 🙂
    All this reminded me of when I was a little girl playing outside.
    My Dad loved to constantly landscape the yard :). He would rearrange
    outside like a woman rearranges her rooms inside the house. He was so creative.
    I would make little rooms using leaves or whatever I could find to create my own house, and there were always cozy, fairy-like spaces behind and in between the shrubs. It was magical.
    Thank you again for taking us along.
    Now I am so eagerly awaiting ‘Miss Potter’s’ kingdom!! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      We still have another week and a half before we get there, but we’re on our way!

    • My grandmother’s out-in-the-sticks unpainted house in Mississippi had bushes trimmed into the shape of a couch and two chairs in her yard that we grandkids played around. And the huge roots that grew out of the ground around the oak tree by the gravel road made for little rooms in our “house”. She always had lovely flowers lining her walk, too. It shows that even poor people can make a bit of beauty in their lives with a garden.

      • sbranch says:

        There are a thousand ways to make beauty! I don’t think any of it is about money! Your grandmother made you a little bit of magic there!

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        What wonderful memories to have !!!! I would have loved
        playing house there !!! I think you touched on what makes
        the English Gardens so beautifully magical…’s all created
        from Nature….our Mother Earth…I think nature connects
        to us in a way nothing else can…if only we take the time to
        recieve it. “Thank You” Cathy for bringing back memories…
        when we were little my Mom used to make couches & chairs
        out of snow…..for our room made of snow…in our house made
        of snow….pretty much everything was white snow…except
        for our red runny noses!!!! 🙂

        • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

          A little story, Girlfriends—

          I grew up in the mountains of SW Pennsylvania and my brother, sister, and I spent many hours outside making little homes under the honeysuckle bushes in the woods, out of the piles of leaves that Dad would rake up in the yard, beneath the hemlock trees, and even a ship out of a nice pile of limbs and trunk of a big tree that had blown down at the edge of the meadow out behind our property. We had plates and utensils made of bark. The meadow was sometimes a lake or the ocean depending upon what our imaginations were making up that day. My mom followed my brother’s and my footsteps in the snow one winter day as she lost track of us from her view from the house. She found us digging through the snow and into the dirt below at the edge of the meadow. When she asked what we were doing, I replied, “We’re digging for clams.” Well, I had been reading the Bobbsey Twins. . .I think it was probably “The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore.” I always envied you girls who lived near the seashore.

          • sbranch says:

            The outdoors was a magical world then, and it still is!

          • Patricia H. says:

            wonderful story! Love it!

          • Janet says:

            Great story, Kathy… I used to “re-enact” a lot “Bobbsey Twin” stories with my little brothers and sisters too – though I was the only one who’d read the stories. Since I was oldest, that made me the “director” too. We lived right on the shore of Lake Ontario – smallest of the Great Lakes in western New York State – so we really could “dig for clams.” Fun to remember all that – bet I hadn’t thought about it for over 40 years. Thanks for the flashback!

          • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

            Thank you. I’m glad I brought back some happy memories. Bert, Nan, Freddie and Flossie.

          • Dawn and Kathy, loved your stories! Aren’t children wonderful! And the thing is, we all were once children and we can get in touch with who we were (and really still are) through our memories…..

  16. Marcia A. Sherman says:

    Wow is not a big enough word…I wept.

    Marcia in Sewell, NJ

  17. Brenda says:

    At first look I thought the yellow flower was an evening primrose because I grew one in my garden at a previous home. But after reading other’s comments I think I might be wrong. I love the gardens! And now after thinking I would take a day off from my gardens because I am a little stiff from the past couple of days in them, I might have been pushed by the pictures you have shared to get myself outside today after all. If I had the soil and weather that would accept them, I would plant every kind of flower there is in the world. Cannot wait for more pictures! Could not see the driving video though. 🙁 Have a great Sunday!

    • sbranch says:

      I hope the driving video is working now . . . I saw that it had made it up once, and then for a while I couldn’t get on the blog at all, so I’m not sure what’s going on.

      • Brenda says:

        It did work this time. Oh my, I would not want to be a driver but not sure I would want to be the passenger on the side so close to those passing cars. Good for Joe!

        • sbranch says:

          I know, I don’t want to be the driver, and I’m not wild about being the passenger either, what does that leave me? Running along side!

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            Oh no–you’d get caught in between the cars!!!
            I think I would grab a neck pillow and “rest my eyes” for a while! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            I rest my eyes but then of course I have to “help” Joe!

  18. Marianne from Peoria IL says:

    This is so special to be part of your adventure! Hope I’m not in the way too much!! I too wake up each morning hoping there’s a new post from Susan! I want to save each one and maybe, someday, I too can enjoy England with my sisters.

  19. Andi M says:

    Husband and daughter off for a boating expedition on the Susquehanna while I am at home working on my resume packet for (cross your fingers) a full time librarian job. Your post was the perfect break I needed. Your excitement and enjoyment is so contagious. Thank you!

  20. Martha Ellen says:

    How lucky am I to experience Sissinghurst through your eyes–the white garden is so divine–I absolutely loved the photo of the child that Joe took! That was all of your girlfriends jumping for joy at the sights and sounds you have brought to us through your blog! Thank you so much! To the powers that be–Susan Branch should be our ambassador to England! ♥

  21. Priscilla Palmer from Naples, Florida says:

    Dear Sue & Joe,

    Smiling from all your brilliant UK posts! Look forward to the driving video once it is repaired. Although I always leave the driving to my wonderful UK girlfriends …

    My friend Julie (from Newark, Nottingham, UK!) and I will be Skype’ing later today, and probably planning my next visit. She (and my other darling friend Anne of Wales) are wonderful for taking me round to the treasured sites. During my last visit, Julie took me to visiting the grand sites of Nottingham, whilst Anne took me Jane Austen’s home in Chawton plus a seaside visit to Portsmouth. My most treasured times have always been with my girlfriends!

    xoxo, Priscilla

  22. Ann says:

    Thank you thank you for showing us Sissinghurst through your eyes Susan. Of course I’ve seen it many times on our TV gardening programmes but your delight is so obvious its lovely to see. I’ve been longing for a wild meadow in my unruly patch but efforts so far have not been good!

    Hmm…… the Tatler…… only the very best people read it so its perfect for you! ;o)

  23. mari says:

    a white garden – how beautiful – I was truly blown away by the photos ♥♥♥ I am so enjoying tagging along with you and Joe in England – and Rachel also! This was soooo much more than I ever expected! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
    Enjoy your day !!!

  24. Susan M says:

    Hi Susan
    This was well and truly worth the wait. So much beauty and information.
    I am loving everything you are sharing with us. I am going to go back and gaze at the pictures while I have my second cup of tea. By the way, Prince Charles and Camilla are visiting here(Canada) to help kick off the Jubilee celebrations. Too far away for me to go wave at them.
    Have a great day
    Susan M

  25. Nanc Nielsen says:

    I think the name of that beautiful yellow blooming plant is hacquetia epipactis and I have it growing in my garden in Bellevue, WA. It is hard to find but is well worth getting because it brightens up the flower bed in early spring. I am so enjoying you wonderful adventure – I have been to Sissinghurst and loved every corner. You make me wish I was going again!

  26. Nanc Nielsen says:

    I also think that the picture of the cute little one running through the lane of hedging is one of the best I have seen ever!

  27. Fran Sigdestad says:

    I knew that the wait for you new blog would be worth it and it certainly is wonderful! How I love the little girl with her feet not touching the ground. I am like you, and would feel the same way if I were there. I wonder how many people it takes to keep the gardens so beautiful. Perhaps they have a lot of volunteers. Going to the pubs after a wonderful day and enjoying the fire and food has to be so delightful. You and Joe have hearts as big as all outdoors to be willing to share with all of us! XOXO

  28. Lorrie says:

    I’m loving being in England via your blog. My daughter is in the UK right now and I’m so wishing I could be there with her to tour these lovely sights you’re showing us. The gardens at Sissinghurst seem like something out of a fairy tale. Think of the stories!

    Glad you are having such a wonderful time!

  29. Pamela Jewett says:

    Hi Susan,
    Talk about the land of Oz……I have never seen so many greens. This would be a watercolorist’s challenge!
    I am sitting here with my tea tray absorbing all that you send. The videos are wonderful and I love the birds singing. If those pigs were cows they would be “Dutch Belted”, but I don’t know what that breed of pig is named.
    This is a lovely trip and am enjoying it immensely. Tell Rachael she is adorable!

  30. Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

    LOVE the Corgi magazine cover. I especially love the little videos so we truly feel we are sharing it all with you. Susan, I think I can speak for everything that we are just adoring everything you share about your trip!! I did also agree that the Bohemian artists’ house reminded me of MacKenzie Childs pottery, maybe that is where they got their inspiration. Well, let me share that Country Living is doing a contest for Bloggers, and wants to know who we follow on blogs? true! To vote for the 2012 Blue Ribbon Blogger Awards visit: to nominate “you know who”. How difficult though because, Susan, you can win in EACH category!! Collecting, Crafts, Gardening, Pets, Cooking, Decorating, Lifestyle. I would encourage us all to nominate Susan in several categories! 🙂

  31. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Tea~Time My “English~Lass” 🙂 The Beatles…Devine….The Video of The White Garden…Pure Magic!♥*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.♥*¨`*.✫*¨♥*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.♥*¨`*.✫& The Video with Rachel…Fabulous…You Sweet Sue are An Excellent “Tour~Guide”….so Thank You for Sharing…The English Countryside The British Birdies…Joe….& Rachel!….& I Know You Might be just a Touch “Homesick”…but Not Quite…cause You are “Home” Away from “Home”…Twirling into The White Garden! I’ve got My Shot of Whiskey & My Seat~Belt On! Yay! xoxo Poof! 🙂 ♥*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.♥*¨`*.✫*¨♥*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.♥*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.♥*¨

    • EsSuzy (from South Carolina) says:

      Angie, I’ve just returned from a fun garden tour of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where I saw on the wall in the darling ladies room of City Kitchen Restaurant, a framed print of Tinkerbell! It caused me to think of you! xo

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        EsSuzy…How Nice…Thank You….Twirling into English~Gardens with Sweet Sue…Yay! xoxo Poof! ♥*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.♥*¨`*.✫*¨♥*¨`*.✫*¨*. 🙂

  32. Pat Mofjeld says:

    The gardens are gorgeous!!! You’ve inspired us to make a trip to the arboratum here in town to check out the flowers blooming… Fun to see Rachel, too! Looks like you are in the setting for Masterpiece Theatre and/or an Agatha Christie movie…thanks so much for sharing–we are both really enjoying the posts! 🙂

  33. erica says:


    Thank you for taking the time and extraordinary efforts with your England Journey journaling to all of us. So, so….SO MUCH FUN to read. Oh JOY! Sorry for not responding often, but I am here and am left with many thoughts of awe, wonder and left speechless. Yep, speechless…and that doesn’t happen often. However, dreams are what’s left behind for me to keep, after I’ve read and re-read your pages. *heart-smiles*

    With regards to the plant request, I was most certain it was some kind of euphorbia. So, as usual…when in doubt, GOOGLE. Here it is…EUPHORBIA POLYCHROMA, Golden Fusion. Check it out here: (hope the link works)

    Continued JOY for the journey! I will be here following. Thanks again. XO

    As always,

  34. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    Oh Susan…what is the word for Beautiful?!! In this post you have given us so
    much to “chew on”…visually, emotionally, and intellectually !!! I agree !!! I adore
    the picture of the “little doll of joy!” It’s as if she’s runnining towards her
    future…so happyily optimistically innocent….towards her future full of dreams… in a castle originating from the 1300’s, in a decadent garden created & tended, by a woman (because she had not been a Son….) named Vita during the early 1900’s. Too many, many thoughts & appreciation for the women who have
    blazed the trail before us running around in my head!! I do not take any of it
    for granted!!! What they strived for and gave up for us women of today…..I
    will never fully understand what they went through….but I do know Life was not
    always an easy one ….just for being born a “little doll of joy!” I too, want to
    leave the world a better place …How? Truly, the more I learn the more I
    appreciate !! And Susan ….I keep Learning because of You…Loving it all with
    You…and Forever Thankful along the way !!!
    I am so Happy that you were able to visit YOUR “Dreams!” Beautiful !!!
    AND… with an “Old Lady!” ….Rachel, Rachel, Rachel…..gonna dress you up in pink
    and call you dolly !!! Keep Learning, LAUGHING, and Loving to ALL the Dollies out there!!! Old????? Silly girl!!!! ” I Love to Love Susan Branch 🙂 ”
    ….and Joe “thank you” for being such a good picture taker!!! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Sweet as Pie Dawn xoxo so happy to have YOU along!

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        🙂 So so Happy to have YOU make my Heart Happy !!!!

        • Hi Dawn, I just visited your daughter’s blog (she is very pretty), and honey it made me more nervous when she talked about mudslides, rude drivers, transportation strikes, touring around Rome @10pm, and SHOPPING!!! I have given Angela strick orders not to bring every member of our family back a “trinket” to live like a “poor college student” (kind of hard when parents send along spending money for a month)…..she did a great job of keeping all her experiences (wonder if they shared everything)?? probably not and that is perfectly ok with me….what I don’t know won’t hurt me?? Angela is very driven and has goals and on her side trips to Germany & Paris she will be going with Professors who have experience with the Countries so that makes me feel some better. We are getting our instructions tomorrow on Skype and there is a 6hr. time difference so I hope I’m awake when she tries?? Yikes….

          • Dawn from Minnesota says:

            Don’t be nervous!!! And …I listened to your
            daughter & commented….I told her that she
            lives up to her name as she sings like an Angel!!!
            Be proud !!!!!! SO BEAUTIFUL!!! Oh, the stories
            she will tell when she gets back!!! My daughter
            had a pretty tight budget and the last three
            days lived on 2 buns and a jar of pasta sauce!!!
            The ATM didn’t pop her $ out (it was out of $)
            and she didn’t want to try again/get charged
            again….so she lived on the spare change in her
            purse….but Hey, the purse was really nice….
            real leather…..from Florence !!!! HAHA 🙂
            So excited for you !!!! Skype is great….still
            think that word sounds creepy !!!! The time
            difference is tricky…but Hey, they are
            Young! Would love to tell you more stories…
            but….I better wait until Angela gets back
            to the states !!!! Just Kidding !!!! She will be
            Safe, Happy, & making memories for a
            lifetime !!!! Take Care !!!!! Breathe…..and 🙂

  35. Susan Havey says:

    Susan!!! Thank you so much for the lovely blog on Sissinghurst. I’ve always wanted to go there and I have a lovely picture book of the garden, but your pictures and videos made me feel like I was there. I’m so happy you will be going back when the roses are in bloom. What a dream come true your visit must have been!

    You have a great photographer’s eye and the picture of the little girl running is truly precious. She looks like you probably looked at the same age, running for joy!

    What a treat you have given us. I can hardly imagine how you will top this visit, but Beatrix Potter’s home may top it. I can barely wait.

    Happy Days to you and Joe and savor every minute you are in jolly ol’ England.

    Susan in Spokane WA

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Susan, it’s been wonderful so far, we’re starting to get a little more used to it and waking up a bit from the shock!!!

  36. Lisa V. from Flower Mound, TX says:

    Loved everything about this post! I’ve dreamed of having a moon garden – a garden with white and night blooming flowers. I have seen pictures of The White Garden and always longed to see it in person. Have you read The White Garden by Stephanie Barron? It is fiction but has a lot of historical details about Sissinghurst and the garden. Thank for taking the time to share with us!

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t read that, I will have to look for it! I made a really small white garden next to the arbor we eat under in the summer, and I have to say, the moon really does make them shine at night.

    • Holly says:

      Hi Lisa! I was surprised to see you’re from Flower Mound! I used to live on Summerfield Dr. (near the H.S.) I’m sure it’s grown from when I lived there. I planted a wonderful garden there!

      • Lisa V. from Flower Mound, TX says:

        Hi Holly! We live not far from where you use to live! How long ago did you live here? We’ve been here over 15 years and it has changed so much in that time. Small world! Good to hear from you Holly!

  37. Heartsdesire says:

    What a wonderful garden tour, Susan. Love the little bird holes in the hedge. The driving video was very scary. I went to Bermuda once where they also drive on the left side of the road. It was hard to get used to, but I think the roads there were a little wider. I’m so enjoying the photos and vids and I would love to go driving with you anytime. I almost feel like I’m there with you.

    • sbranch says:

      Joe does a really good job, I feel sorry that he has ME sitting with him, I try SO HARD to keep the little screams at a bare minimum, but it’s hard when you come around the corner and there is a truck! We get better at it every day though!

  38. Gini Gould says:

    Dear Susan, Sometimes words aren’t enough to express our gratitude to you for the “silver box, tied up with a stunning lace ribbon ” gift you give each of us girlfriends everyday. There is so much to explore on your site; so amazing, so wonderful. I wish I could meet the mother who produced you.

  39. Linda Pintarell says:

    WONDERFUL! Loved it! Thank you. I have just gone to and nominated Susan in the cooking category. She really fits all of them. But girlfriends…as a girlfriend above led us in this direction, let’s get behind Susan on this and hopefully she will be nominated and win. We, as a group of girlfriends, can make this happen.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so touched, this is so nice! xoxo!

      • Laura says:

        Just voted for you Susan in the lifestyle category!!

        • sbranch says:

          Thank you Laura!

        • Paula Jones Denton says:

          Yep ! I’m in…Lifestyle !

          • Karen D says:

            Me too! And it had to be lifestyle – Susan, are so much more than cooking, although that is really great too! ;0) Honestly, I find your blog one of the most positive and inspiring resources I have for helping myself remember to enjoy small moments and to keep my mind open to the joy and beauty of everyday things. I made some very big changes in my life in order to choose happiness and health, and your story was one of the hands that helped me pull myself up. Your words are a constant support for me. Wish I had been born with a “happy gene”. Thanks for sharing yours with all of us!

          • sbranch says:

            I love how you are thinking Karen, choosing happiness and health is definitely one of the things we CAN do! xoxo

  40. peggy sweeney says:

    I see you are enjoying the driving here, I have had my mirror knocked off! Our big American car does not fit on these roads. Summer in England is so beautiful! I love it here and will miss it when we leave, Thanks for showing me castles that I can’t get to, we are up North, but we do have a castle with a mote near by, Oxford Hall, we also live very close to Sheringham, where the queen spends christmas, that is a nice go see too. Anyhow, love love you blogs!

    • sbranch says:

      I keep waiting for the mirror to go! I told Joe that we need to “rethink” the width of our car, to a more exact measurement.

  41. Linda Pintarell says:

    So sorry – the correct website is (I hope)

    Didn’t get it perfect in my comment above;but try this one. Thank you. Let’s nominate Susan for the Country Living Blogger Awards.

    • Sharon Calvert says:

      I, too, just voted for Susan … only I selected the ‘Lifestyle’ category, as I figure her posts incorporate all the other categories into that one.

      • sbranch says:

        You guys are too much!

        • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

          Linda, thanks for the link! I voted for Susan in the Lifestyle category, as well!

          • sbranch says:

            Now I don’t know where to go look for this, would like to see what it’s all about …. should I google Country Living best blogger? Is that the contest?

      • Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

        Me too Sharon! Thanks to Linda who alerted us to the opportunity to vote for Susan!! Yea!

        • sbranch says:

          Thank you everyone!! I have to say, it would be really nice! But just that you’d all do that is pretty darn wonderful!

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        On my way to vote for Susan….”Lifestyle” category too…
        as she does embrace all the good stuff in life!!!

        • Dawn from Minnesota says:

          Okay…..Joe, did you vote yet???? Please….This is
          truly our way of saying “Thank You!” to You and Susan
          if she does win !!!! And just between you and me….
          she has already Won because she has YOU and a Life
          full of Possibilities !!! Have a great day & get ready
          to say, “Congratulations Honey!” 🙂

    • Martha Ellen says:

      I chose the lifestyle category also–Thank you for the link!

      • sbranch says:

        xoxo thank you Martha . . . I have to go find out about this!

        • Susan, Linda gave us the site above (use the 2nd link) and then just follow the directions for your favorite blog. I chose the Lifestyle mainly because of how you have changed so many of our lives with everything you show us and give to our lives…..I encouraged all the “girls” (Jack too) yesterday to get onboard and vote and it looks like they are rallying. The friendships that have emerged from your blog is also life changing. Thank You and with all of us there isn’t anyway you can’t win this!!!!!

          • sbranch says:

            Thank you Deborah!! I love your positive spirit!!

          • Dawn from Minnesota says:

            ……Okay…..seriously…thinking about all this
            gives me the gOOsebumps…..we are ALL so
            Proud and Excited for our Gal Susan….it’s so
            exciting!!!!!! Now was “Blue” one of her
            “Colors?” If not……it will be!!!! We just Love Ya
            Susan Branch….heehee!!!! :.}

          • Dawn from Minnesota says:

            OH Joe…Did you vote yet???? My Bret did !!!
            Right after I went with him to Home Depot
            and told him to just take… his… time! 😉 Really,
            we did GO…..for biscuits to build the new
            gazebo screen door….but I told him to ……..
            take…..his ……….time…..and …..enjoy! He DID
            and you know what he said, “I LOVE THE
            SMELL OF TOOLS!” (if he knew I was telling
            this…..) And the gazebo screen door looks
            -I mean LOOKED Great….. As it was clamped
            and drying on the garage floor….our 19 year
            old son drove my car home and put it in the
            garage and………..Ummmmm…I think we will
            be going BACK to Home Depot !!!!!!!

          • sbranch says:

            What a gift! “Take your time” in Home Depot. Maybe I will give that to Joe for his birthday!!

      • Trish K says:

        Can we put the same person in all the categories?

    • Georgie says:

      Meee toooo!
      Life Style Category XOXO

    • Charlene H. from So. Calif. (S.F.Valley) says:

      Also voted! Here’s to YOU, Susan!!! ♥♥♥

  42. PauliJ says:

    I have been quietly savoring your lovely writings about, and photographs of, your trip, Susan. I am grateful that you take the time to share with us, and particularly thankful to Joe for “putting up” with all of us who are “traveling” with you!

    Due to my own happily-full life, I have gotten behind on your blogs. However, I had some time today, so I sat down and leisurely joined the tour you are so delightfully guiding! I told my husband that we should take a cruise and tour England; he readily agreed and added Scotland and Ireland–the British Isles– to the list–sounds good to me! <3

    Have another wonderful week!

  43. PauliJ says:

    I have been quietly savoring your lovely writings about, and photographs of, your trip, Susan. I am grateful that you take the time to share with us, and particularly thankful to Joe for “putting up” with all of us who are “traveling” with you!

    Due to my own happily-full life, I have gotten behind on your blogs. However, I had some time today, so I sat down and leisurely joined the tour you are so delightfully guiding! I told my husband that we should take a cruise and tour England; he readily agreed and added Scotland and Ireland–the British Isles– to the list–sounds good to me! 🙂

    Have another wonderful week!

  44. PauliJ says:

    Oops! Sorry for the double comment; I was trying to delete the <3 and change it to a smiley face. sigh. Susan, if you catch it, you can delete the first comment, and this one. If not–well, there it is. 🙂

  45. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    HAHAHA….I just watched the driving video…..I felt like I was going
    Backwards!!!! That felt crazy awkward to me !!!! The right side is the left side
    and the other cars come at you from the wrong side but it’s the right side….
    and watch out for the not-moving mailman ……Ok , seriously….I am ready for
    that sip of whiskey now…….well, ummmm, walking soon ???? : ) yZaRc !!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      You should see when you’re going along and someone suddenly, out of nowhere, comes real fast right up to the edge of the road at you from the left!!! OMG!

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        “Thank the Lord ” that Joe is not a j Um Py driver !!!!
        I think I would be a mess!!! Scream, jump, laugh, & cry
        all at the same time!!!! Help Me!!!! Keep being Brave !!!!

        • sbranch says:

          I am brave (that’s what I say each day as I gather my book, camera, diary and knitting bag when we go out the door!).

          • Dawn from Minnesota says:

            🙂 hahahha…..What’s that famous English saying??? KEEP CAaaah:Oaah:o:OaaLM
            & C:/ 😐 R R
            A 😮 :Oy :@N ! ! !
            Gonna rent a M:Oped tomorrow?…..oh man….
            I could see it now….SHEEP!!!

          • sbranch says:

            I say that to myself, but it turns out just the way you wrote it! 🙂

          • Dawn from Minnesota says:

            Ummm…the “carry on” part looked a lot different before it was sent to moderation!

  46. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    Loving all your posts…truly cannot wait for the book you will write of this adventure…reading Virginia Woolf’s letters along with your journey.

  47. beebarbs says:

    Oh Susan, I just loved “you make little screaming sounds inside”! That so aptly describes it all for us and the photo of the little girl just captures it perfectly.

  48. Barbara B says:

    What a magical journey you have invited us on! My dream has always been to go to the British Isles and experience all the wonderous things that are there. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your experiences with us. I wake up every morning with a sense of anticipation, wondering what magic Susan has in store for us today! You are making my heart sing – I can’t stop smiling!

  49. Holly says:

    Thank you for such a lovely blog to have tea with! I’ve been quite impatient for the next installment! Being able to see gardens and places I’ve only read about in books is amazing!! Have more fun for us all!

  50. Kathy says:

    Hi Susan – Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful adventure in merry ole’ England. The photos are just beautiful. It sends me to a place from a long time ago, when refinement was the means of the day. The little girl running is a great photo; it seems to be making everyone smile. : ) I myself love white flowers. I look out the window at night, and see them under the moonlight – very romantic.
    Best wishes for your touring trip; I am so enjoying it!

  51. EsSuzy (from South Carolina) says:

    Sue, I have avidly been following all your tweets and the blog but haven’t had time to reply. As you saw from my reply to AngieTink, I’ve been on a garden tour in North Carolina and it’s amazing to hear how so many of our southern gardens are inspired by the gardens of England-we can grow a lot of the same or similar plants-though ours wilt or go dormant in the hot summers while theirs bloom on and on. Even the tour director’s farm and gardens, he told us are inspired by the gardens at Heligan. Thanks for taking us to Sissinghurst. I’ve wanted to see it. You’ve inspired me to read more about Vita and her passion for gardening! LOVE the little girl running between the hedges! England is so beautiful!! XO Susan

  52. Peggy says:

    I think the plant is Ladies Mantel cut some yesterday for small teacup
    Enjoying our visit to Grand Olde

  53. Teresa says:

    Loving your posts from England! Our son and daughter-in-law live in Germany and were in England last weekend and going again in July for the Olympics. We are also the proud owner of a CORGI; ours is the best little guy. Love seeing the CORGI featured in the queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations!

  54. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~Sissinghurst Castle~ …….I call my sisters “Sissy” so that would be the perfect name
    for ” our” castle!! I will forward this to them~
    Bet they didn’t know that we have a castle!
    Have a great day!

  55. zinnia patch says:

    Oh Susan! you have taken my breath away!!!! I am laughing, my eyes are leaking tears too, I’m holding on for dear life, and I’m having a ball!!!!! Thank you- Thank you – thank you!!!!!!

  56. Chris and Glenn Perica says:

    We both have enjoyed following you and we are making notes for our visit someday. So just remember, there are men who enjoy reading about your trip!! Maybe Joe can add something to your blog too!

    Glenn and Chris
    Farmington, New Mexico
    But we both grew up in Reseda, CA. How did we miss you?

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, I’ll tell Joe, but he will just roll his eyes at me! Hi to Glenn!!!

      • Joe could write about the Pub visits! After your first post from England I told my husband he should follow along with your Blog. He started to say “no thank you” until I scrolled down to that Roman arch and he was hooked. He keeps telling me you shouldn’t call your readers “girlfriends” :-). I told him not to take it personally since you do have at least two other male readers (your Dad and Jake who have commented) and perhaps Joe might get jealous if you acknowledged your male admirers. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Maybe I should stop that, but I always feel like my girlfriends are coming along … maybe I should say “you guys” instead, as that means EVERYONE, including your husband, who I send a special HELLO to!

          • Actually, I wish you wouldn’t! I love that you call us girl friends. My husband will just have to man-up about it. 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            🙂 Joe and my dad are honorary girlfriends, quite the compliment which they do know, and so all the guys who are here, unless it is too much for them, are honorary girlfriends, and when I talk to the girlfriends that means them too! Blessings on the Honorary Girlfriends, we do love you so much!

  57. Paulie says:

    Hi Susan: Well I am speechless. What gorgeous pictures and writing here on this blog. It takes our breath away, it really does. Everything is so lush and so green there, it is unbelievable that a place like this exists these days. I now wonder why anyone would leave England to come to the States to visit or to live, quite honestly there doesn’t seem to be any trade off as far as the history and the scenery goes. Just absolutely breathtaking. A journey I will never be able to make however have made through your eyes. What a gift, what a gift. Life is Good, truly Life is good. Don’t lose that happy gene whatever you do. As for motoring , augh, me thinks I will stay the way I am, OHG……..I would have a nervous breakdown on the roads for sure. Great job Joe is doing. You two must be having such fun! We are just by reading about it…..thanks again you two !

  58. Lori Edmonds says:

    Enjoying your trip to England soooooo much! Thanks for sharing : )

  59. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

    OMG!!!! I feel so blessed to be able to share this journey with you. Has opened my mind to places that I haven’t ever thought about – let alone enjoyed. My husband is suffering from Frontotemporal Dementia and I often have very blue days. This trip has been your dream com true and my time to smile and dream. I loved the movies as well as the pics. You and Joe are amazing!!! I believe that when you met Joe (and I remember when that happened), you found someone just like my Fred. Destiny, for sure!! XXXXOOOO Pat

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Pat, so glad you are enjoying the trip! Blessings and best wishes to you and your husband, it must be very difficult for you. Sending love. xo.

  60. Nanci says:

    This is so much fun to read and see. We leave for the Lake District next Wed….can not wait to be back in England. What a special island it is!!
    Thank you for all the pics, videos and history lessons! Take pictures of your food for us!

  61. Bonny ~* says:

    I’m enjoying our trip so much…thanks for taking me along. I’ve been to England twice…how could I have missed all this!!!! Now I want to go back again!!!!!!!

  62. OK, I’m back up from hiding on the floorboard in the backseat….Susan, I’m serious and now I have weeks of worrying about your safety on those roads!!! Was it me or is their roads entirely too small and not wide enough for two vehicles to pass each other safely?? I thought and couldn’t quite figure out were you on the left side and Joe is driving on the right? UGH anyway, I thought you were going to hit the bushes on the leftside and it was way to much for me and I don’t drink so I just decided to hide until the car stopped!! Phew….now, the precious child running without a care in her world (which is how it should be) reminded me of my precious daughter and I’m a little emotional this week because on Thur. 24th she is leaving for her trip to study abroad for 1 month (ok Dawn I’m trying)….in Austria, Germany, and Paris. I just can’t understand where did the time go and she has always been running toward something and it is her dream. I love all the hedges and gardens and love the pink Clematis…I always loved Nellie Moser (Clematis); but, now the light pink one has peaked my interest….will have to research the name of it. Jim and I worked so hard Saturday and we pulled up old shrubs and took out all the roots (ugh) and now in it’s place is lovely hostas of different types and double shade impatients in magenta and purple….I tend to gravitate toward all shades of pinks/purples whereas Jim loves yellows/oranges and we have them all covered. Blessings to you and I’m praying for your safety (Joes nerves of steel) and please stay safe we all need you!!! HOLD ON GIRLS……..

  63. Lisa G. says:

    Oh, I dearly love the photo of the blooming apple tree in the long grass!! Ahhh!
    But I had no idea that Harold Nicholson had any interest in the garden – it’s always Vita who gets mentioned – that is VERY interesting.

    And the moat! I’ve never seen one from any other perspective than – well, the usual one. It looks like a river – maybe it is a river, and I’m misunderstanding you; maybe I didn’t read carefully. I’ll go back. I love it!

    • sbranch says:

      He’s the guy you did the big picture; he also did the pleached lime walk, which is no little thing. Moats look just like rivers!

  64. CarolK (central NJ) says:

    I’d probably wind up in the back seat looking out the back window the whole trip if I was really there. LOL Having to drive on the left side of the road, to me, is like jumping up and down on one foot while chewing gum and trying to pat your head with one hand and your tummy with the other! What fun to see your videos and garden pictures. You’ve made my day again. Now I need to go vote at the Cty Lving web site. Love and hugs…….

    • sbranch says:

      You have described it perfectly! I’m amazed at how smoothly Joe goes through the roundabouts!

  65. Susan, just was reading some of the comments on earlier blogs and you along with some of the girls were talking about finding Shandy, Rose Lemonade, and your Pear Cider…..would Trader Joe’s or Jungle Jim’s possibly carry them?? I know when I visited the Jungle Jim’s in Cincinnati, OH once they sure had a lot if imported foods so maybe they would also carry the “spirits”?? Just an idea. Also, if you have a local store maybe the owner could special order and keep it in stock or you can check while in England and have some shipped to MV?

    • sbranch says:

      I thought I’d google it when I get home and see what we can find…there are lots of stores selling English things, we should be able to find it.

      • Georgie says:

        I FOUND some Fentimans Rose Lemonade today! I was a woman on a mission! After 3 walk ins with no success, I tried Google (duh!!!)

        It was in a place called Total Wine and More. I had to ask for help to find it…all the way in the back on a shelf. There it was… a single 4 pack! Just for me! I let out a small cry and said, “That’s it!” The woman giggled!!! The cardboard carrier is the cutest thing with a brief history of Fentimans.

        I came home, found a pink glass, filled it with ice, opened the bottle and ahhhh! Pure delight!

  66. Hala says:

    Dear Susan,
    Loving the posts – they have made me determined to visit more historical places on my doorstep! I had to smile at the driving video…I live in a small village outside Bath and commute through tiny lanes which make the road that you were on look like a motorway! (freeway?) In the winter they are icy – I once slid across the road and crashed in a bush! Really loving reading about your visits – thank you so much!!
    Hala x

    • sbranch says:

      Do you get used to it? I keep thinking we will finally soon know the true width of our car and be better judges of what will fit and what will not! Bath is so beautiful, that whole countryside is gorgeous.

      • Hala says:

        I suppose so! But I still hate having to reverse up if somebody is coming the other way. Beetling along (late for work!) I have had a few near misses! The oil seed rape is out at the moment – so lots of bright yellow fields to drive through. Hope the weather gets better for you – it’s the first May for a while that I’ve had to keep my heating on for! Next week is supposed to be warmer. 20 degrees on Tuesday – we are having a picnic in the afternoon whilst watching the Olympic Torch pass through Bath!!
        Hala x

        • Hala says:

          will try to make something from your Summer book for the picnic!

        • sbranch says:

          I watched the flame arrive at Land’s End on BBC. The rape fields are amazing! Love them … how did you get so lucky, bluebells and rape going rampant over the countryside!

  67. kathi schaffer says:

    am just loving getting my mini trip to England each day! think the plant you wondered about is euphorbia—I have some but a different variety–just lovely!

    • sbranch says:

      I have it too, but mine is so different, I thought this was some other kind of plant. I love them!

  68. Rachel says:

    You should take a drive down the lanes between my parents house in Bedfordshire and the school I went to in Hertfordshire… they are often only one car wide, you have little passing areas to wait while another car passes. Dad used to rocket down them at breakneck speed 😉
    Seeing this, I realised just how much my garden here in America, has been influenced by my English heritage, and my husband’s love of English heritage 😉 All I am lacking are the castle and the huge old hedges!
    What a fun trip, thanks for bringing us along Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      I do like the idea of the passing areas! Our car has this little beep beep noise so we know when we are close to a wall or car. Not that we can do anything about it!!

  69. Vickie in Olympia says:

    Oh such loveliness! Makes our drizzly weather today so much brighter. Do you suppose if you were riding in a right hand drive car you would feel less anxious? Being the one closest to the on coming traffic with no control of your vehicle is most unsettling! Of course, an A-type personality (me) must always be in control. LOL I love all the pictures and videos accompaning your inspiring words. When this travel book comes to final form do you think it might include a DVD with all your videos? Can’t wait for the next installment!

  70. Sylvia Faye says:

    My father would say ‘You are living high on the hog’. Such joy you bring to each of us and the length of time taken from your trip with beautiful pictures and sweet thoughts are truly appreciated.
    I have heard so much about Sissinghurst and thanks to your blog I am able to experience Sissinghurst through your eyes. Staying at the house in the white garden would be truly be like living the life of a fairy princess, n’est-ce pas?
    Gardens are God’s gift to us to help slow down the extreme pace all our lives have become.
    The yellow plant caught my eye and since I am planting yellow plants in blue pots this year I am going to see if I can buy one… was so very appealing!
    I was able to drive along, sing alone and share the view with you.
    There will be no live trips to England for me so this is certainly the next best thing. Thanks to you and Joe.
    ~Sylvia Faye

    • sbranch says:

      We stayed at a National Trust house in a different garden once (Stourhead), and the really great thing is that the garden is ALL YOURS on the days it’s closed to the public, before and after they open each day. Peaceful quiet beauty!

  71. Nina says:

    Hi Susan once again a truely wonderful post today! Love the picture of the little girl! As for driving…has Joe driven on the motorway yet? Its crazy! My hubby Tony drives on it all the time (usually traveling from one race circuit to another with me my son and daughter in a race truck. Its crazy here! I think its better on the roads in the US because I don’t think the majority of drivers are so crazy there! lol
    I am going to have a look on the US Country living site and see if it will let me vote too! Cheerio xxxx

    • sbranch says:

      I think the wider roads in the US must be a little help, but probably it’s just what you’re used to. We have been on an “M” road, I think that’s what you mean when you say Motorway, and what I miss is being able to see the little towns, but there is a certain kind of relief knowing your lane will remain open!

  72. Marisa says:

    Love, love, love, love, LOVE following along on your English adventures. Or should I say adore – that might even be a better word. And love your newly coined word – gloriosity – that is brilliant! Let’s get that one in the dictionary 🙂

    I also wanted to share my little driving tip for England and maybe you’ve already heard it before. When I was last there we met some other American tourists our very first morning. And they shared this useful gem with us. Every time we would approach in intersection for a turn. The passenger/navigator instead of saying go left or go right would yell out “wide right” or “tight left.” It was one of THE most useful tips I’ve ever used. I’m sure it saved us from at least one or two head on collisions!

    Can’t wait to travel along with you on your next adventure – I can’t tell you how these posts make my heart sing – and ache just a little bit too 🙂

  73. Jacquie Sewell says:

    The “fresh and happy spring bloomer” at Sissinghurst is a euphorbia. They are wonderful relatives of the poinsettia. I have them in my garden – they reseed readily but they’re so pretty I usually leave them bloom where they are planted. In early spring they are the most brilliant chartreuse slowly turning reddish throughout the summer. The little flowers also turn red – little red buttons to setoff the green foliage. They have a lovely rounded form – one of my favorites!
    Now – can I come with you on your next trip to England? Please!! : )

  74. Melissa Leathley says:

    Susan, I “awwwed” when you said your eyes were leaking. What joy this trip is bringing to you. I wish so much I had a passion to travel somewhere like you have. I am living vicariously through your very special journey. Thanks for taking me along with you!!
    You can put as many photos and videos here that you want to. I could watch all day long. I would be scared to death to drive on that road. Good thing there wasn’t much traffic. I live in Nevada City, Ca and it’s a tiny gold town of old. On Fridays all the delivery trucks park in the middle of the road all at the same time so we have to drive all over the road to get around them. It’s part of life like it is for the special people in England. “Nothing new under the sun”.
    I can’t wait to see the next place you visit. Sweet dreams and happy days to you and Joe.

    • sbranch says:

      I think when you learn to expect it, you handle it better. At first, coming around a bend in the road and no longer having a lane is quite a shock. In towns, the entire lane can be gone, filled with parked cars. The rules of the road, like who is going up hill and who is going down, start to come into play (we’re still working on our part in this one!).

  75. Wendy Louise says:

    OOOOhhhhhhh What a feast for the eyes, I just love those organized gardens, I too would just keep trotting along taking in all that amazing beauty ! I know I keep saying this but Thank you so much for this, you and Joe are so special to do this for us ! I thought Longwood Gardens was incredible but I see there are more and more incredible gardens to keep visiting all over the world but especially England. I have to go visit and see, OHHHH a dream is starting, it’s in my blood, I’ll have to find out where my ancestors are from. I know I slept in a bed from England my whole childhood. This is definitely starting something GOOD ! Happy, wonderful discoveries my kindred spirit friend ! OOXXOOXX

    • sbranch says:

      There are a kazillion gardens here! So many, I had no idea, I think you could tour gardens all day every day!

  76. Maria says:

    Bless your heart for sharing all this with us. It’s such a kick in the pants to see what you are seeing which is exactly what we would want to see!!

    p.s. I have to rent that house in that garden!!

  77. Patricia H. says:

    I spent years searching for Vita Sackville-West’s book The Edwardians before I finally found it…at the gift shop in Chatsworth! I think it went out of print then was re-released but I don’t know for sure. Anyway I really would love to go to Sissinghurst….it’s on the list!! What a beautiful post (seems to be all I ever say but it’s always true!) I really can’t wait for the travel journal…please order enough….I’ll be devastated if it sells out before I get one! 🙂
    Ps- you do get used to the driving…I drove all over in my little VW Polo!

    • sbranch says:

      We just finished our first week here, so I’m sure we’ll get used to it soon! Thank you for the vote of confidence! 🙂

  78. Ann says:

    What lovely treats you have for us today! Two videos and all those lovely photos. I just ordered “Portrait of a Marriage”. The white garden is beautiful, but I would love an all red garden.

    • sbranch says:

      I saw one once, I think it was at Hidcote, and it was gorgeous. The most mysterious colors of red!

  79. Diane from Washington state says:

    Susan, this was the most fun day yet! I loved loved loved the views! I loved the video clip where you were driving along that super narrow road with cars parked! I loved the castle and the history behind it all. I laughed when you wrote about little squeals every time you turned a corner…that would be ME! lol. What a treat and delight you have given to us…thank you for sharing so much. My husband and I bought our house…a total remodel…a little over a year ago and this summer we are redoing the entire front yard. We both love what the English do with shrubs to create privacy walls ..and how they surround their yards with trees, shrubs, flowers etc and the grassy part is in the middle. We planted so many shrubs and trees this year around our front yard and they will grow to become English walls! It is so thrilling to see mature ones that have probably lined the roads for generations. I wish my garden could be as huge and beautiful as the one just visited, but any garden is a blessing! Have fun and thank you !!!! hugs!

    • sbranch says:

      Sounds beautiful — the five years it will take for it all to fill in and look like it’s been there forever are going to pass anyway, and look what you’ll have at the end! And you’re in Washington — really good place to get that English garden look! xoxo

  80. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan…wonderful..awesome….gorgeous!!! can tell you all are just enjoying yourselves…that is a great snap of that joyfull little girl that joe took….says everything…and the car video…gosh…6 days on the open seas can’t hold a candle to driving on the “wrong” side of the road in an obstacle course!!! i’d be white-knuckled for sure.. : ) but i would risk it all to see and experience the splendor…… it is fascinating…thanks again..can’t wait for the next installment!!
    have fun and long live the Queen!!!! xo love, cindy

  81. LindaSonia says:

    I enjoyed Sissinghurst very much!!! Sooo beautiful. Makes me wish I was 25 again so I could re-start my garden… 🙂

  82. Pat Mofjeld says:

    OMG! The first time I tried the car video, it didn’t work, but this time it did! YIKES!!! Kind of raises one’s blood pressure, doesn’t it, sitting on the passenger side??? ‘course, behind the steering wheel meeting cars must be a thrill, too! The roads look incredibly narrow. The hedgerows at least would be soft but the stone walls…like I said before, I’m glad you are driving a good-sized safe car! The scenery is beautiful, though…:-)

    • sbranch says:

      I meant to say “Pat don’t look at this,” but I forgot! 🙂

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        My BFF Sandy is laughing at your comment…she knows I don’t go on any rides at the Fair except the merry-go-round! 🙂 Like I said somewhere else here, I’d have my head back to the car headrest and my eyes closed–just “resting my eyes”, of course, in these narrow spaces…that is what I do here when we are on the freeway during rush hour and Norm is driving. He is a good driver, but others are not… I should tell you that we were hit head-on when someone went out of control on ice several years ago. Having a large safe car is what saved both of us… 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          We have a new Volvo, I don’t guess you can get any safer than that, we looked for a tank, they were fresh out!

          • Diane from Washington state says:

            A tank…lol lol…good one! Yes, I believe all of us had blood pressure issues while watching that clip! I cant even imagine such a narrow road …and then cars also parking there?

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            I think that is one of the safest cars made! Norm drove a Volvo when I met him–it was a 1965 model that his parents brought from Sweden. I called it a “cartoon car” as it was one of the kind of pudgy, rounded designs before their designs got sleeker. I’ll never forget the first time he opened the hood and I saw the engine–it looked like a lawn mower motor!!! But the new models are a LOT different!!! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            I bought my 1982 green Volvo when I moved to Martha’s Vineyard, and I still have it!

  83. Barb says:

    Hi Susan, After gardening here all day, was surely great to relax and read this post about Sissinghurst. Breathtaking photos……….ahhh thank you. Camomile bench, now thats unique…….would love to try to build something like that. Pleachwood limed trees…………learned something new there……..had no idea what (pleached) was. Your descriptive words about your dream coming true was so heartfelt, shed a few tears here for you as well. You truly are so special and the way you capture “every moment” in life……….comes forth to all of us a thousand times over! Now………the “ride” I have to agree with the other ladies……scary! Yet
    by the end of the trip……… may be driving and saying… worry…..nah! LOL
    Have a good evening and look forward to our next adventure. Hugs & Smiles
    Barb from Ludlow, MA

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Barb! We wanted to get a little bit out of our normal box, and we definitely did! We laughed at the menu at tea yesterday, all in English and yet we are still uncertain as to what we will get! It’s an adventure!

  84. Joanie B from San Diego says:

    Ok, my heart is so full, the beauty, the thrills, there aren’t enough adjectives to describe my feelings, but to say thanks for taking the time to chronicle this journey and share it. Superb blog today, they just get better and more interesting. I look forward to this moment in my day. Life IS good!!

  85. Georgie says:

    What a delight! I wanted to read bits and pieces in between my day today but I made myself wait until I got home and could imerse myself in your England! Standing right there in the garden… oh my! Dreams coming true so deserve tear drops 😉

    I found a chocolate tin from the Queen Mary today from my antiquing outing. It so made me think of you and your journey, and how much a part of it we now are.

    Castles, moats, flowers, meadows, dreams coming true, girlfriends, pubs, memories… scary driving videos!!! Oh My! Joe, you win the purple heart 🙂

    Sitting in my Charleston corner, reading your blog, sipping Fentimans Rose Lemonade… the things memories are made of. As I type I hope you are sleeping soundly and dreaming away! XOXO Dear Susan May tomorrow bring more dreams come true.

    Georgie in NJ

  86. Karen Z @ Victoria, Australia says:

    Hi Sweet Sue, have just watched the driving video and my knuckles have gone white–and we drive on the left!! Those roads are so narrow where can you go if someone swerves onto your side of the road? Appart from that “Sissinghurst” was beautiful and is on my “bucket list”. I’ll get back in my seat now and look forward to the next lovely place you stop. OXO

    • sbranch says:

      That is the point exactly, there is no where to go!! This is where faith gets its name. The roads are lined in hedgerows, and the houses are often so close to the road they are reachable by hand if I rolled down the window and put it out there! I put Rachel in the front seat, and I have to admit, I liked the back seat better. I wonder what Joe would think if that’s where I sat from now on!! 🙂

  87. Charlene H. from So. Calif. (S.F.Valley) says:

    Susan…echoing all the girlfriends comments above…loving your English blog entries! The driving video was a bit much! I hung on to my keyboard!!! I loved the photo of the pub (a few days back) built in the 1400’s…such age, such patina, such history!!! Thank you for sharing all. I am reading Austen’s Mansfield Park as you travel. Oh! I will be traveling to your Judy’s “Remnants of the Past” show in two weeks for three days of antiquing fun up the Central Coast! Will miss knowing that you are at the show as you were last October! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your trip and your Susan, Joe!!! ♥♥♥

    • sbranch says:

      Her shows get bigger and better every year! You’re going to have a ball. Wish I could be in two places at once!

  88. Karen V (Connecticut) says:

    Hi Susan,
    Loved this post, appreciate all that you put into it: pictures, videos, and commentary! I especially love your driving videos, makes me feel like I’m almost there! When I saw the flower picture, I was also thinking that it was a spurge, so I typed “spurge” into google images, and there was the cushion spurge, just as the other girlfriends were saying. It’s a type of Euphorbia, which I believe is a large class of plants, so there are many types, colors, etc. I love them, they have sort of an architectural element to them,…the one that you photographed is beautiful, those colors! Like lemon-lime…Have fun on your next adventure, looking forward to reading all about it.

  89. jeanne hedin says:

    I just took a moment to vote for you in the lifestyle category. Thanks to the girlfriend who mentioned this opportunity for us to “toot your horn”. 🙂 Life has been incredibly hectic here lately, so I have especially enjoyed the quiet moments I spend with your blog. Your delight and sincerity (and beautiful photos) come through loud and clear. Thank you, thank you and thank you again.

  90. Marion Rose says:

    Hi Susan, When you mentioned running beside the car because riding in the car
    was so scary, Please– Please run behind the car!!!!!!! The road is to narrow, you
    would be squished if you were running beside the car.
    Went to the Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill on Thursday. Couldn’t help thinking of you. Many people enjoying the beauty of gardens in small spaces.
    I just love looking over your shoulder on this wonderful tour. Joe is a great
    guy letting us come along. Next thing I need to do —-vote for my girlfriend on

  91. Cindy in South Carolina says:

    Driving on those roads is Harrowing! And it must be odd for an American to be the passenger yet sitting on the left side in the front. My mind had to reverse everything to figure out why you were so close to the hedges on the left. Do you know they also drive like this in Japan? It has something to do with what they believed was good/bad, lucky/unlucky.

    • sbranch says:

      I would have to say that the choice to put the passenger on the far left doesn’t feel all that lucky to me! 🙂

      • Jack says:

        The right side isn’t any luckier — you hit the oncoming vehicle “head on” from the right , or a huge oak tree ,” head on “from the left …..
        Your best choice is considered “a side swipe” ! I sure hope Joe signed up for full insurance coverage when he rented the car !

  92. Marie says:

    Susan, you are making me so homesick for Kent!! I must not tarry up here in the North West for much longer before I make a trip down and recapture some of this beauty which I hold so dear in my heart. Cranbrook is one of my favourite villages . . . the windmill, the churchyard . . . that cheese shop and all those lovely little charity shops. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! xxoo

    • sbranch says:

      There was a concert going on in the church, we could hear the music as we were walking through the churchyard! Come a bit later, wait for the roses to bloom!

  93. Jamie on Doty Island, WI says:

    Just catching up on your English blogs been away for a while only to come home to delicious pictures of England! Wow, I hadnt thought of the Bloomsbury group in ages, what a fun trip that sounded and inspirational!
    Cant wait for your next blog and thanks for making them so fun.

  94. I could easily be quite jealous, but since you are taking us along on your amazing journey, I won’t be. Sissinghurst is truly, truly amazing. It makes me want to go and buy a truckload of bricks and start building walls for my garden rooms! And every mention of the Diamond Jubilee makes me want to experience every second of it. I MUST get a copy of that Tatler!

    Jake at Dapper and Dreamy

  95. Sandy Richmond says:

    Susan, This is so much fun following along on your trip! Thanks for sharing. I just voted for you too.. (Lifestyle category) It was a perfect weekend here in New England. Planted veggies and flowers, did some painting outside , and relaxed on the porch.
    I hope kitty sitter had the windows wide open for Jack and Girl Kitty! Carry On and Have Fun!

  96. judi says:

    So enjoyed your adventures yesterday. Such amazing gardens – beautiful! And, of course, the age-architecture of the buildings. LOVED the videos – more please:) Would love a video of just walking down the town street – peering into the shop windows.

    Are those roads just out-of-the-way country ones???? Wow, I would like a car 3 feet wide and 3 stores high just to see what was coming. How do they even exit their driveways???

    • sbranch says:

      I keep thinking that, I don’t know! These are fully functional main roads!! There are bigger kinds of freeway-type roads, but if you’re just going town to town, that road in the video is very normal!

  97. Jeannine Holmes, SC says:

    First of all, “YES” . . . do more of those fun videos. Really puts us in place with you and all you are experiencing! And those lovely yellow blooms, my first thought was primrose, or some derivative. Absolutely, brilliantly gorgeous. What a grand trip for you and Joe. If it weren’t for Jack and his sister, I don’t think you two would want to come home!!!

    • sbranch says:

      We are constantly pointing out for sale signs to each other, but what we really want is both at once, and that just can’t be!

  98. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Ladies I just voted for this blog on Country Living! Not as hard to do as I thought it would be! xoxo

  99. Joy Pence says:

    Ahhhh, how magical. Thank you, thank you. You certainly make us feel like we are right there with you. I am enjoying this sooooo much. You are a sweetheart for sharing with us!

  100. mary ahearn says:

    Thanks so much for this wonderful post! For those of us who can’t travel, this is such a treat. Can’t wait to see Beatrix Potter country.
    Maybe the yellow flower is Creeping Jenny? It appears to be a nice groundcover, very much resembles the Jenny in my garden.

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