So, I thought maybe we should just wait another day before we do the drawing.  Maybe it’s more of a Friday’s Child?  Is that OK?  Oh, come on 🙂 you’re loving the anticipation . . . I know you are!  When I was reading through your comments yesterday, I saw how many birthdays we’re having this week, and thought what we should really do right now, is celebrate BIRTHDAYS!!!

And then I thought, naaaaah.  Well, OK, let’s do it!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY GIRLFRIENDS! I hope you Birthday Girls have a fabulous day and have all the cake you want — here’s your card!  I know there’s one Birthday Girl who is going to have a particularly wonderful day  . . .  

BECAUSE, SURPRISE! I lied! 🙂  Of COURSE we’re going to announce the winner today!  A promise is a promise! 

So, I was watching closely when Vanna dipped her lovely polished and bejeweled hand into the hat with those 3000+ slips of paper with all your names on them.  She went to the very bottom of the hat (a shiny, black top-hat), stirring it slowly and carefully, little papers skittering round and round in the vortex made by Vanna’s whirling arm; after a moment or two, she slowly withdrew her hand, and with it, the narrow slip of paper carrying the winning name; she shook it a little — it looked like six or seven other slips were stuck to it; they fluttered off in all directions, until she had just the one . . .  she handed it to me.  I took a deep breath, thinking, what a miracle this one little name is, rising to the top from so many–and every one of them equally deserving!  I clicked champagne glasses with Vanna (when Vanna’s around we have champagne for breakfast), toasting the good job she did, but I  had mixed feelings, only one winner is sad!  I had to get over it.  I had to move forward.  Joy replaced momentary sadness and flooded my emotions as I concocted an email to the lucky winner.  In the subject line of my congratulatory note I wrote: ARE YOU SITTING DOWN?

And here is what the winner wrote back to me . . . Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think this would happen!  My thought was that some lucky person would win this and I hoped they would treasure it for life.  It’s my birthday!  What a gift . . . . I am in tears.

It’s her birthday!!!   Oh, how wonderful!!  She wasn’t the only one in tears!  I went and put her name in the book; and now, with a little drum roll, Girlfriends, I am happy to annouce the name of the lucky lucky winner . . .

H A P P Y  B I R T H D A Y  D E A R  B E T S Y !

We are so happy for you!!

Your one-of-a-kind, Special Numbered Edition copy of the book Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, direct to you, from Hill Top Farm, via Martha’s Vineyard, is in the mail!  Congratulations! Happy Birthday Betsy!  And thank you for your sweet comment!  And really, Girlfriends, thank YOU all for such a fun week of excitement!  I wish we could do it everyday!  And don’t worry; there are more fun, special things to come; I’m always thinking about you!  A little music might be in order now, huh?

Cheer up (except for Betsy, because we know she is feeling very cheerful right now)! Don’t forget . . .

When we were kids and we were sad, my mom would take us downtown for ice cream cones–we cheered right up!  I’d love to take us all down to Main Street for Birthday ice cream cones (to Mad Martha’s here on the island, because it’s the best!); but obviously, under the restricted circumstances of actual limited reality, I can’t do that . . . however, “rising above,” here’s what I can do right now, in the way of a consolation prize — because I know lots of you might like to see a page-in-process from the Diary I’m writing of our England trip, here’s a little preview.  You might recognize the two characters on this half-done page near the front of the book where I’m writing about whether or not “now” was the right time to go away for two months . . .

Had to paint the kids in … right?   So this is how the book will look, only with more art and more photos . . . I work on it every day, a true joy to do!  I hope to have it finished for the printer in two or three months.  I wrote the diary every day while I was there, so the words reflect just what happened each day; I painted a little bit too, but I have more to add!

As further consolation to my sweet girlfriends, I’m thinking that today you might like to go for a walk through my cyber flower garden?  It’s been hot, it’s been steamy, some of our gardens look like something the cat dragged in, due to no fault of our own. . . ! Let’s “rise above” this reality . . .

Come on, bunny people, lets go look at flowers . . .

This photo of my California garden always cheers me up!  It was having a very perky year . . . everything in bloom at once — too gaudy? I was not in charge!  The Russian sage went berserk, sweet peas, gladiolus, butterfly bush, iceberg rose tree; with birds flipping around in the bird bath, hanging out in the bird house; bees and butterflies flitting through everything . . . in a cool breeze from the Pacific Ocean up the road . . . take a deep breath and tell me, don’t you feel better already?

And while you’re breathing in, smell the Philadelphus (mock orange); it looks like a wedding bouquet, so romantic!

I don’t know the name of this fragrant rose because it did not survive; a harsh winter did it in; but for this moment in time, it made my Martha’s Vineyard garden look and smell heavenly.

I planted tons of foxglove in the back of our California property under the Cottonwood trees.  The thing I love most about foxglove is that they reseed themselves and pop up later where they are least expected.  As if someone you LOVE just shows up at your door out of nowhere!  Thank You!

This tall flower grows wild here on the island (is it Dame’s Rocket?  I forget); we pull some of it out, but it always comes back.  I’ve heard it’s invasive, and I say, please, invade to your heart’s content . . . have your way with me. 

This is a color scheme I learned about and put into action in our California garden after our first trip to England; I still love this color combination of lime and purple.  The most important thing I learned while traipsing through gardens is that it’s not just flowers that count; it’s leaves, their shapes and colors: long and strappy, tiny and soft, thick and leathery, smooth and dark, yellow and stickery-looking … mixing them up, with attention to texture, is one way to make an interesting garden.

The English wildflower meadows were wonderful, natural, and they were everywhere,  through the whole beautiful countryside … don’t they cool you off just looking at them?  And the smell!  Like new mown hay!

I took the picture of this gorgeous flower in England, but I can’t remember the name of it . . . does anyone know?  I know you know, you are so smart!

Crazy wild California picket fence garden — this property is in an ancient river bed which is why the soil is so good there.

Ahhh, and now a cool breeze . . .

And a few drops of rain . . .

And here’s the reason for growing flowers . . . the table!  (Guess what, not to break the spell of the floral world, but my entire post just disappeared right here, so THAT’S why this is so late.  I was good, I only screamed about it once on Twitter.  Picking self up, dusting self off, and here we go again!)

(Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!  :-)) And flowers for our little vases too.

I better get this post up, I know you are wanting to see this.  I just have to tell you one more thing!  The sky just opened up here; rain is falling straight down out of the sky like long needles, soaking everything for the first time in weeks!  Joe is walking through the house, turning off air conditioners and opening the doors!!!  I’m sending some of this drenching your way!  (As Angie would say, “Poof!” there it goes!)  (Not you, my English friends, I’m NOT sending it to you!)  XOXO Have a wonderful day girls . . .

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

473 Responses to ANTICIPATION ? ? ?


  2. Tracey (Sandy OR) says:

    I just wanted to let you know your blog made my day, you always
    remind me what happiness is. Thank you Susan Branch for being you.
    Do you have any drawn plans of your California garden? It is beautiful.
    I am looking forward to the new book

  3. Noelle Sweeney says:

    Well I have to say that we are all winners and even though it’s not my Birthday I feel as though it is! Wow that post is awesome, soo inspiring.. I feel so much better now.. thank you Susan.. for all your lovely words and funny words, they make me laugh out loud sometimes:)

  4. Oh, I’m soooo happy for you Betsy! Congratulations and Happy Birthday! And Susan, your tour through the garden did it for me. I’m consoled and what a great post this was. I could just smell the ocean when I took in a big breath of air. your artwork in the book was precious and I hope to see some more that you are working on. Fun! What a beautiful mind you have, and what beautiful things come out! It must be fun being you! Love you!

  5. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Congratulations to Betsy and Happy Birthday!!!!! Lucky–Lucky girl you are!!!!

    Hello Susan! Your foxgloves are so regal !!!! They seem so proud to be in your garden !!! All of your flowers are infectious !!!! You have marvelous gardening talent and to own two gardens, on opposite ends of America, and have both so spectacular with color and beauty !!!! Thank you for all of the joy you give to all of us girlfriends day in and day out !!!! (I must restudy and write down some of your favorites into my gardening journal as you have such an eye for color combinations !!! Love the lime and purple combinations too !!!)

  6. Coni (Nashville, TN) says:

    Congratulations, Betsy! You’re a lucky girl!

    Susan, I can hardly wait for your English diary to come out. What a nice treat we can all give ourselves. 😉

  7. Bonny ~* says:

    Well, Happy Birthday Betsy…you are the envy of all the girlfriends! But…we can all enjoy Susan’s book about our trip when she’s finished!! ~*

  8. Mia Sophia says:

    HEAVENS TO BETSY! She is one very lucky and Happy Birthday girl!! Congratulations on such a fabulous prize!!! Seeing all the beautiful flowers was a good distraction to make the sting of loss more bearable for the rest of us hopeful hearts. Alas, no cigar. Loved seeing a sneak peek from a page of your next book, Susan! It will be something wonderful. Time to drown my sorrow in chocolate! 😉

    • Julie (Omaha) says:

      I agree with everything you said Mia! In fact, I just had a squirt of chocolate sauce right out of the bottle!

  9. Cathy from Golden, CO says:

    Congratulations and Happy Birthday Betsy. BTW – You have that sweetest name. Betsy Flannery. Irish? So cute.

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      🙂 indeed Cute! and reminded me of another Cute Betsy… you
      remember Betsy Clark, from Hallmark? I still have my little Betsy
      Clark votive candle that I got in 7th grade from my friend ….Betsy C.
      oh the little things to smile about!

      • Cathy from Golden, CO says:

        Oh – I had a Betsy McCall doll that I loved!!!!

        • Dawn from Minnesota says:

          Colorado…..this morning got a text from my daughter
          Torrie: “Mom I wasn’t at the movie theater last night”
          she was however 4 minutes away and heard sirens
          that seemed to last forever and ever…. my heart aches for everyone involved….I am so so sad….I am so so MaD!!! Why?!Does anyone need such a weapon??
          I just got home from class and am afraid to hear
          the whole story on the news……..our world scares
          me so at times!

          • sbranch says:

            Good Lord. Your daughter, how frightening. I Tweeted all day the website of the Brady people who have a petition going. Psychopaths with assault rifles, it’s ridiculous. Every mom who watched Columbine had a melt-down seeing that … and nothing ever gets done. I just don’t think the Gun Lobby is stronger than WOMEN. One of these days we are going to get mad enough to do something about it, maybe this is the time! Here’s that link, in case anyone wants to sign the petition — it does feel good to do something … no matter how small …

          • Dawn from Minnesota says:

            “thank you Susan!” I signed the Brady petition
            to prevent gun violence…, what are we
            gonna sign to prevent the “normal” people?
            WOMEN are indeed stronger….we need to
            put our creative minds together and think of
            something! My heart goes out to the families
            that “didn’t” get a text this morning…our world is so full of reckless behavior! be safe….and
            thanks for the link…gonna go spread the word!

          • sbranch says:

            Not sure what you meant by prevent normal people. I’m just thinking if we could do a couple of little things, it might make a difference. So glad you signed it. I never give up hoping that it can be better.

          • Dawn from Minnesota says:

            I’m sorry Susan ….quote “normal” was in reference to James Holmes….he may have appeared somewhat “normal” on the outside (college student) but he was not normal on the inside (the evil joker gunman). Susan, I truly believe in what you say, “it does feel good to do something……no matter how small…”
            thank you for giving us something to do and
            for never giving up on hope!

        • Dawn from Minnesota says:

          but Susan, then I hear the news…..and wonder
          why on earth would any college kid ever need an
          assault rifle? How can that ever be thought of as
          normal??? What a bad dream this day has been for
          so many families……

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            What does ANYONE need an assault rifle for unless they are in a war zone and in the military??? And other than people that hunt in the fall or the local police, what do people have a need for guns at all??? Handguns–they can’t come up with any other hobby than target shooting??? What was this guy in Colorado doing with the guns and all of that ammunition? How did he get that easily and why didn’t somebody question why? Why are there directions for making bombs, etc., on the Internet? And I’m sure someone will be answering me–it is a free country. Well, a free country means everyone should have the freedom to come and go without risking their lives. There are unnecessary shootings every day and there is just such a simple solution: Gun control!!! Having a weapon that can kill is NOT a necessary freedom. And shame on anyone out there that says, as a friend said to me, “Well, table knives can kill.” I can’t help but think anyone truly understands the difference…

          • sbranch says:

            It’s time they do something.

  10. Cyndi in NC says:

    Happy Birthady Betsy and enjoy the book!

  11. Lezlee says:

    My dear sister’s birthday is today also! *I told her she is a 57 Chevy:)

    I truly do not know what my life would be without her . . . . here I am tearing up!

    What I meant to say was . . . HAPPIEST BIRTHDAY to you Susan! May health and happiness be yours in abundance:)

  12. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    oH BETSY!!!…the girl with the really cute name….you just had a H A P P Y Birthday, get a whole lot HAPPIER!!! enJOY! that little book…and please give that cute-as-hot-milk-cake lambie a little “kiss” for me! oH Susan!
    Well, I didn’t get the book…..but; I will “rise above my reality” and think
    about what that all means to my life….as I eat my ice cream!!! Funny thing,
    yesterday I was humming Carly Simon’s “Anticipation” all day long and today
    it’s still a Carly tune, but a little different, some of you may know it……it’s the one called…..”I haven’t got time for the pain” 😉
    It may not be everyone’s BirthDAY today…but, we can still have a HAPPY ONE!
    Thanks for “playing” with us Susan!XoXDawn

  13. Happy Birthday Betsy!! What a wonderful gift…ENJOY!!

    Hi Susan!! I love the sneak peak of the England Diary, and wanted to know when it will be in print? Will it be in time to put it on my list for Santa?? 🙂

    Enjoy the rain and no A/C!! xoxo Debbie

  14. Terry says:

    Happy Birthday and Congratulations, Betsy!!

    Susan, you are so kind and generous!

    Have a wonderful day!

  15. Great timing for Betsy! Happy, happy birthday to her. I am sure she will treasure it, as we all would have.

  16. I’m so happy for Betsy, Congratulations!! And on her birthday, too — what could be better! (Yay!)

    Susan, I have to ask if you offer the birthday painting at the top of the page as a birthday card? I love it!! I know I’ve seen it somewhere before, maybe on one of your calendars(?). AND, I’m loving your sneak peek of your England diary. Do you think it will be available by Christmas?


    • sbranch says:

      It used to be a card, but isn’t now…maybe we’ll do more cards. Not sure if it will be ready by Christmas, depends on all the other things I have to do (such as next year’s calendar designs).

  17. Karen Saunders says:

    You know I LOVE it when you show me your work-in-process! (ever the artist) and I have to say you’re really getting good at kitties!! Is the book going to be soft-bound or hard-bound?? I don’t care if it’s bound at all, just send us the pages!! We’ll love it!!

  18. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Congratulations Betsy!!!
    I have to say; as I was scrolling down, ever so slowly, making the moment last, my heart skipped a beat when I read the following (I copied this part from your post)

    ” I had to move forward. Joy replaced momentary sadness and flooded my emotions as I concocted an email to the lucky winner. ” When I read “JOY”, I thought oh my goodness. But that’s OK. I am glad for Betsy. Yes, the first flower looks like dames rocket, it grows wild here too. We have tried to get to grow “wild” in our flower beds, but I think it likes woodland edges and low ditches. The second flower…did it have a nasty or pretty smell? It looks like a bit like lantana, but I could not see the foliage in the picture. Enjoy the rain…its raining here too!!! YIPEEEE!!!

  19. ArlineLA says:

    One anticipation over — congrats to the birthday girl winner! Another delicious anticipation begins for the England Diary and signing events. Oh dear . . . I hope that is not pressure to finish! We will wait patiently since there is so much to talk about in the meantime. Have a great weekend.

    Arline in LA – heading to beautiful (and hopefully cool!) San Diego for the weekend.

    • Joanie B in San Diego says:

      Yes, SD is warm with a breeze, the perfect summer weather, hope it is sunny for your weekend!

  20. Ruthie P says:

    Congratulations and Happy Birthday to Betsy.I think her name looks perfect there in the book.Susan you are so kind.I can not wait for your book to come out,sooooo excited.Love the fact that your babies will be in it.Love the drawing of the sheep you put in Betsy’s book and the bunny in the post,I hope they’ll be in there too.Will it be available in stores,online,or your website,all of these? The way you feel about Beatrix Potter,is the way I feel about you,don’t know if I said that before,but if I did it’s worth repeating,and I know I’m not alone.xoxo..have a wonderful day!!!! Ruthie

  21. Katy Noelle says:

    Oh, your illustrations are WONDERFUL! Oh, you are so funny….. building our anticipation – chuckly giggles all the way! Oh, how precious that, not only is she getting that priceless-last-one-left book but it’s signed and entwined by the beautiful memories of your trip. and, OH.MY.GOODNESS!!! The pictures of your garden are pure joy – so beautiful!

    Happy thoughts slung right back to you! =]


  22. Deborah says:

    Your blog is my own “secret garden” where I can escape from the world. Thank you for creating it.

  23. Karen D says:

    This really is a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY BETSY!
    What a wonderful gift! (btw, Susan, my birthday is New Year’s Eve… hint. ;0) Heehee! ) I aspire to have gardens as lovely as yours, but the deer and other nighttime critters seem to think I am setting out a buffet just for them! Oh well… I will rise above it! Be the phoenix!

  24. Kim Wilson says:

    Hi Susan. This is coming to you from San Luis Obispo. I was wondering if you still come here to live part time. I thought I remember you saying something about whether you did in your blog but I can’t remember. I kept thinking about Girl and Jack while you were gone. I have 4 kitties and I know how much I miss them when I leave just for a couple days. I love logging on everyday and reading about your life. Thank you. Take care. Love Kim from San Luis Obispo.

  25. Jane in Pennsylvania says:

    Congratulations to Betsy. Is she from Pennsylvania? We have some Flannerys in our small town. That would be a hoot. The diary is really something to look forward to – the perfect way to relive & savor our trip.

  26. How wonderful! She’ll always remember this special birthday! Happy Birthday Betsy! HAVE FUN!

  27. Diane from WA state says:

    I am wiping away a tear right now as I type this for the winner, Betsy! What a precious gift to very special birthday girlfriend of all of ours! When I read that this was her birthday just now, I just thought to myself how PERFECT this is! Happy Happy Birthday Betsy!

  28. Nancy B says:

    Congratulations, Betsy! This will be a birthday you will never forget. Happy Birthday!! Susan, where is the rick-rack on your dear little lamb’s apron? It’s ok that you chose not to use it. I was amused when you first described it in one of your posts. Loved seeing your garden again. So beautiful.

  29. Kate G. says:

    What a delightful birthday gift for Betsy! Congrats to her!

  30. Nancy B says:

    p.s. You made this giveaway game so much fun!!

  31. Congratulations and Happy Birthday to Betsy! What a memorable birthday treat she will always have.
    Susan, your gorgeous flower from England reminds me of Lantana, one of my summer favorites. I’m not sure, because Lantana are usually two colors on one blossom. Mine are either yellow and pink or yellow and orange. Here’s a link with a picture:
    They may be a little different from yours.
    If I’m mistaken, I hope someone else knows.
    xoxoxo Janet

  32. Barb from Ohio says:

    Congratulations to Betsy for winning and a Happy Birthday too!
    This will be one birthday you will never forget.
    Hi, Susan,
    What lovely pictures of your gardens and no, you can never have too many flowers in a garden, something always fading and something else starting to bloom. Love the foxgloves but I’ve planted them and they never came back for me or reseeded the next year. Thanks for that rain you sent down my way. It poured a few hours ago and was very badly needed. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and peek at a page of your book, I can’t wait to see it finished!

  33. Janet Rowland says:

    Those pink glads are absolutely beautiful, and that sweet pink rose is just precious. Do you journal in pencil on the trip and then ink when you get home?
    Again, I have enjoyed being part of your day. Take care.

  34. Congratulations Betsy!!! It’s so perfect that it’s your birthday too–It’s for sure that this will be one birthday you will never forget!!!

    Thanks Susan, for sharing a peek at your English Diary in progress, also your flower gardens. Here in Michigan it’s soooo much cooler today after a good rain–I’ve turned all the fans off and we’re enjoying a cool breeze (almost too cool after the oven-like temps we’ve been experiencing). I even boiled up some fresh hummingbird nectar for my feeders. 🙂

  35. Shellie Laird says:

    Congratulations Betsy! What an awesome birthday!! Hope your day is wonderful!

  36. Sue (from Michigan) says:

    Sweet Betsy (what a great name) – Congratulations to you and happiest of birthdays!! Joy shared is truly joy doubled!

    Sweet Susan – Thank you for that butterfly fluttering, “night before Christmas” feeling of excitement; a peek at your marvelous work in progress (so excited!); the refreshing sensation of rain and ocean breezes (aaahhh); the amazing colors and smells of your flowers blooming; the “virtual” ice cream (mint chip, please) and the inspiration to paint and journal myself. You are the true gift!

  37. Sheryle Towle says:

    Congratulations, Betsy!
    Hello Susan! I have been following your wonderful blogs, but not writing….shame on me. Anyways, so enjoyed your voyage to England!!!! Heart warming pictures & stories. Hope to go some day. Just had to tell you that Mike & I just returned from a road trip……Camden, Bar Harbor & Christmas Cove….those places reminded me of you!
    Sending good wishes & sunshine!

  38. Trish K says:

    Happy Birthday Betsy!!!!!!! I feel this was meant to be, because your name looks perfect on the page!!!!!! Congratulations, have an awesome day! Susan, this post brought me to tears, I can’t put my finger on how you do it…you always know just what to say, I wish I had that talent! I loved all the garden pics, but most of all the Kitties in the new book. So, cute! And your Dad’s comments are extremely amusing! But I’m sure you already knew that.

    Speaking of Anticipation, I hope you aren’t feeling too much pressure, with the book and Willards and the blog. You just got home and you have a life, and you have already given us so much with the armchair vacation. I hope you are getting R&R! Please, no pressure, no “shoulds”.

  39. KJ says:

    Congrats Betsy…..I know you are going to love your book….What a birthday treat !!!
    Susan just want to say what a joy it is to share your blog….When ever I feel down (which isn’t often !) it is the most perfect pick-me-up….that and a wonderful of Lady Gray tea !!!

  40. What a delightful birthday Betsy is going to have! Congratulations and thanks for the fun, Susan!

  41. Trace says:

    How wonderful is God’s timing!
    So happy for Betsy.
    Happy Birthday!
    Thank you Susan
    What fun & JOY

  42. Michele says:

    how lovely for you, Betsy, and Happy Birthday to all of the Sunny Girls of July! 🙂

  43. Kathleen says:

    I just opened my newly purchased Country Gardens magazine today and lo and behold an article on Beatrix Potter and her garden. I swear one of your pictures, Susan, is included. There’s also a sidebox sharing six heirloom plants that Beatrix favored that we could include in our own gardens if able to find. No mention of the name of the rose that we’re all eager to know though. The one shown is not it! The article starts on page 74 of Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publication, Early spring 2012. Enjoy!

  44. pat addison says:

    congrats to betsy and best wishes for a very Happy Birthday, congratulations girl!! okay susan time to fess up, now which one makes the best ice cream, Martha’s there in the vineyard or Bernardoz in Arroyo Grande???? and i will have to tell you that i have never had any ice cream that topped Bernardoz!!! that was the smoothest, creamiest and richest tasting ice cream ever. so be honest who has the best?????

  45. Linda Petersen says:

    Happiest of Birthdays Betsy! And~~~congratulations on receiving the very special book! So~o~o happy for you :0) . Thank you Susan for sharing the beautiful garden & flower show & the page from the diary. I can’t wait for it to be ready! Everyone~~~have a lovely upcoming weekend.
    XOXO, Linda Petersen

  46. Robin says:

    Congratulations Betsy!
    A treasure for your heart to cherish and hold dear –
    Happy Birthday!
    Thank you Susan for your thoughtful heart!

  47. laura says:

    Happy, happy birthday Besty! How wonderful!!! 🙂

  48. Gotta admit…I was disappointed for just one little bitty second…but now I am bursting with JOY for dear sweet Betsy. Congratulations and Happy Birthday! What a hoot you are Susan Branch 🙂 That drawing was so much fun. Thanks for loving and pampering us (your adoring fans) the way you do.

  49. Dear Susan,

    I hope you will tell us to cease and desist if our need for your attention becomes too overwhelming! We’ll understand (maybe pout a little,though), but we’re big girls–we can deal. Take a week off (however long you need) from us. We’ll spend the time rereading all your delightful posts.

    Take care,

  50. Donna Elizabeth says:

    Congratulations, Betsy!…on winning that precious book and your Birthday! ¢=

  51. Sheila Brazzell says:

    Betsy HAPPY BIRTHDAY! What a memorable one this will be. Even though I knew I hadn’t won I scrolled down very slowly to the name in the book and what a beautiful name it is. Susan, you always manage to bring such joy to us girls. THANKS!
    Sheila in South Carolina

  52. Sarah says:

    HAPPY, HAPPY DAY! I’ve been an avid fan of yours since I was a little girl (I’m 35 now!) and couldn’t help but comment on this post with such a beautiful cake at the top! I’m an avid layer cake baker myself and now feel inspired to create a real-life version of that beauty. Not only do I love your blog, I love your calendars and books most of all (although I didn’t get a calendar this year before they were sold out…so sad.). The stories, recipes and accompanying illustrations never fail to inspire me and make me smile. 🙂

  53. Debbie R from Valencia, CA says:

    Congratulations Betsy and Happy Birthday. Such a special day for you. Woohoo. And thank you susan for once again putting smiles on all of our faces….you “Rock”!!!

  54. Charlene says:

    Congratulations Betsy! I can’t imagine a more wonderful birthday present. I am happily awaiting your diary, Susan, and hopefully a book signing. 2004 was the last signing I made it to (it was my fourth) so I have my fingers crossed it works out. Thank you for creating so much enjoyment.

  55. Marie - Valencia, CA says:

    Best wishes to Betsy–Happy Birthday–I know you’ll love “our” book to pieces!

    Susan, the flower whose name you questioned–it looks like a Primrose to me. There are several varieties. Latin name is Primula, followed by another name. Thanks for all the heavenly garden photos!

  56. Jenny says:

    Oh I just LOVE the paintings of Girl Kitty and Jack. I want to kiss their sweet faces through the computer screen!

    And congrats and Happy Birthday to Betsy!

  57. Denni from MN says:

    Happy birthday and congratulations, Betsy!!! Enjoy your surprise!
    Susan, can’t wait to see the whole diary, but, just a glimpse is wonderful to see.
    Love your artwork and your gardens, too!!

  58. caroline De la O says:

    Ok well I’m tooting my own horn my birthday way in June. and I’m a Wendsdays child.

  59. Gail Buss says:

    Happy Happy Birthday to you, Betsy Flannery! What a lovely Irish name………almost as great as McKernan! (In case you didn’t guess, this is from one Irish gal to another althought you may not be Irish but married to an Irishman)! Doesn’t matter………Congrats of winning. I am truly happy for you!

    Now to the blog……………love, love, love foxgloves. When I lived in N.C. my friend planted them but I was afraid to because although I loved the way they look, I thought if a child ate them they were poisoness. I just might have to plant some but don’t know how well they’d do here in Fl. I love your whole garden but I especially love to see laundry flapping on the line! Wishing you a lovely day and again best wishes to Betsy Flannery! Hugs to all, Gail Buss, Bev. Hills, Fl

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Gail…just so you and everyone knows, Foxgloves are poisonous! I’ve had them for years, have never seen anyone eat them, have pulled them up and cut them and put them in vases, nothing has ever happened; I can’t imagine my garden without them, but you should just know that.

  60. Kit says:

    You tickle me to no end! What a lovely way to announce the winner. And a BIG congrats to Betsy! And a Happy Birthday too! (it is my daughter’s 27th birthday today too!) 🙂 Kit

  61. Leslie Gammelgaard says:

    Happy Birthday, Betsy Flannery! With an adorable name like Betsy Flannery (could be be sipping tea with Mrs. Tiggy Winkle and Tabitha Twitchet in her English garden surrounded by foxglove, lavender, and cabbage roses) and is celebrating her birthday…well, it’s just fitting she should receive the treasured Beatrix Potter/Susan Branch book! Congratulations and Happy Birthday, Betsy Flannery!!!

  62. Rosemary says:

    Susan, I have a similar flower in my garden in England but it is purple…. primula denticulata. I found one on google called primula bulleyana and I think that might be it. Congratulations to Betsey! Apparently the sun is heading over here this weekend… can’t wait!

  63. Jamie on Doty Island, WI says:

    Happy Birthday Betsy and congratulations on winning the Beatrice Potter book with Susan’s inscription! How absolutely delightful!!!!!
    Susan, I agree with one of the ladies that wrote that the mystery flower is Lantana. Sorry that your beautiful pink rose did not make it through the winter 🙁
    It looks rather like the Heritage rose from David Austen, what do you think?
    All your flowers are a delight to the eye and your a girl after my own heart when it comes to loving flowers, gardens and digging in the earth! I do not know if you have ever told us what your favorite flower or flowers are? Mine are iris, roses,lilies and foxgloves. What’s yours???
    Thanks always for such interesting and inspiring blogs. I cant wait for your book on your Travels to be available, and how wonderful that you had more calendars ordered for the coming year. I missed out last year waited too long, so I learned my lesson and will order as soon as they are available!

  64. Joan S. says:

    Loved looking at the garden flowers. I too have lots of vases for “snippings’. What is your secret for keeping the glass vases clear? Congrats to Betsy!

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t think I have a secret, I just put them in the dishwasher . . . but we don’t have hard water, maybe that’s the problem?

  65. Chrissy says:

    Susan, I thought the flower in question was lantana, also. However, I’m more inclined to think it’s a primula, perhaps a candelabra primula. This post was awfully sweet. Betsy has become quite the “Queen for a Day.” May you both continue to be blessed.

  66. Pam says:

    Congrats and best birthday wishes to Betsy. She won’t ever forget this birthday I’m sure 🙂 Glad you’re not sending any more rain our way, we’re still getting it day after day but they have said the weather is going to improve at the weekend. Keep your fingers crossed please, I’ve just about forgotten what the sun looks like.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Good, my heart aches for you all — it was still beautiful every moment we were there, but a little sun in the summer is normal!

  67. Carolyn SO CA says:

    Perfect! Happiest Birthday, Betsy!

  68. Kathy in San Diego says:

    Wow! Happy birthday and congratulations to Betsy! Lucky, luckyUFO u!
    Thanks to you, Susan, for your generosity in sharing this darling book and making it such an anticipatory event!
    Always love seeing the flowers in your gardens…east coast and west coast! Thanks for sharing!
    Can we pre-order your new book?! LOVE the page you shared with the kitty cats! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      We’ll do a preorder in another month or so . . . that way I can know how many to print.

  69. Frances Fowler says:

    Happy Birthday, Betsy! A wonderful wish for someone else came right back to you 😀 This must have been an extra special birthday for you, and I hope the cake was just as good!

    Susan, I could only stare at the line where you said that you lost your entire post. I know that when this happens on my own computer (and most often the laptop), I stare in disbelief — no, it couldn’t be! — before I start screeching things I ought not to. On a better note, I love the soft, muted lime and green colors together in the garden!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s how it was, disbelief, looking all over the place to see if I could retrieve it, and then, finally, resignation, facing the music!

  70. Happy birthday and congratulations to Betsy! She is one lucky lady!

    Susan, your gardens are gorgeous …both MV and CA! I love old fashioned fragrant flowers like foxglove, heritage roses, lavender and so on.

    I also love your journal! What a nice gift to yourself!



  71. Peggy Cooper from Pueblo, CO says:

    Betsy Flannery – Congratulations! Your name makes you sound like the perfect person to receive this wonderful gift. Very Happy Birthday to you. Hope you have a wonderful day, and a BIG piece of cake.

  72. Joanie B in San Diego says:

    Happiest of B-Days to Betsy, I love seeing her name in the book. My B-day is tomorrow, July 20, so I feel extremely special having a birthday cake on today’s blog. I think that every month you could have a Happy Birthday cake/blog for the girlfriends B-days. The cake is simply FUN, and you, Susan celebrate FUN, and influence me and I think the other GF’s to celebrate LIFE and find the JOY. Even in the hardest times, life is good, we have soooo much to be thankful for…like flowers, quilts, friendships, etc., etc., Thanks for another happy blog, a bright spot for me in my day, just like so many other women.

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday Joanie!!! Sooo much to be thankful for, isn’t that true!!! xoxo Thank you!

  73. dottie (in the OC in SoCal) says:

    Happy Birthday and congratulations to Betsy! Loved the flower tour and the sneak peek — really looking forward to having my hands on a copy of that trip diary and savoring each detail of it — over and over and over again. Beautiful cake — and as pointed out earlier — calorie free.

  74. Susan says:

    I wish to add my congratulations and Happy BD to Betsy as well. We all so happy for you (and so jealous … ha, ha). Enjoyed the photos of your garden and the flowers Susan … with the dry weather this summer, we have been struggling to keep our plants watered and upright. So I am living vicariously through you pictures. The rains have come to northern Illinois finally … so I am hoping this is the end of our drought. Keep the lovely pictures coming 🙂

  75. Jack says:

    I know you have Yankee Magazine coming — also the Willard and the 2013 Calendars — are there five now? Plus the England Diary…… And those non-scheduled items that keep jumping in, so can we figure your plate is getting mighty full and really we should not expect too much more of your English expedition for a while, on your blog?

  76. Heritage Stitchery says:

    Blessings to you, Betty, on your Birthday and Luck of the Irish!
    Susan, your garden is something out of Eden…. so beautiful. I
    love the size and manageability of it all…the fencing is the
    perfect compliment to the exquisite plantings there. A great
    weekend to all the Girlfriends, especially those celebrating
    Birthdays and those dealing with the disappointment of not
    having their name picked for that treasure. Susan, don’t
    forget the idea of using the facsimile in the back of
    Beatrix Potter’s portfolio…..
    Blessings ~
    Mary ~ Gentility

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, we these gardens small, so I can take care of it myself. Although this year, while we were away, my girlfriend Lowely (from 2 doors over) got the urge to plant a vegetable garden and didn’t have the space so she planted it in my garden!!! So today I gathered and picked homegrown potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers! Makes you just love summer! Not sure, I guess I already forgot . . . facsimile in back of portfolio?

      • Heritage Stitchery says:

        Susan dear ~ I’ll not even suggest that you burrow into the
        mountain of billets doux that you received to find my original
        suggestion. The marvelous book – Beatrix Potter – Journal
        is an interactive compilation of her drawings, musings, etc.
        There is an “envelope” on the inner back cover that contains a
        facsimile of her original hand-written Peter Rabbit that is
        removable. For the girlfriends mourning the miss of obtaining
        your precious copy, I suggested that they obtain the BP
        Journal or take one already owned…remove the facsimile and
        create a cover, return it to the back envelope. I am joining
        my BP kindreds in purchasing a cotton print as close to yours
        as possible and applying it to board and covering my copy….
        Then I won’t have to mourn quite as much. However, so I do
        not experience another sell-out, please add me to the list of
        those wishing to purchase the Susan Branch -English Journal…
        I can see my Christmas List just burgeoning!! Love you, Susan,
        for the Joy you bring and share so generously.
        Blessings ~
        Mary ~ Gentility

  77. Diane Sullivan says:

    Hi Susan
    I just want to thank you for inviting us into your happy, happy world. I was sooo glued to your website when you were in England. It is amazing the technolgy we have today….love it! Thank you so much for sharing your vacation with us. I was definitely an “ANTICIPATION” where you were going next. I, too love Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit. When I was going up, all my girlfriends were into Winnie the Pooh (I guess its the classic collection now) but I loved Peter Rabbit. I have 2 stuffed Peter Rabbits and I share your blog with them. hee

    While you are in England, I had the urge to watch my DVDs of Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice and Emma) , Bronte Sisters (Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre), and Little Women by Lousie May Alcott.

    By the way, I used to love going into your store in Arroyo Grande, CA. I live about an hour away. I just love all cute items, especiall your books! 🙂

    I just wanted to express my warm thanks and hugs to you! Your blogs makes me feel happy and work in my garden. hee hee

    have a great night! love and hugs, diane

  78. Katherine Schaffer says:

    many happy returns to Betsy!!! Susan- I think your lovely English flower is a primula; there is a variety that grows wild, in those lovely flower meadows, the the English refer to by it’s “common” name : cowslip.

  79. Jan from Michigan says:

    Congrats & Happy B-day Betsy! I also agree that her name looks perfect in the book. Loved the excitement you gave us sweet Sue! Now we have the promise of a new book soon and can hardly wait!

  80. Michelle Fitchett says:

    Huge congratulations Betsy! Wishing you a very Happy Birthday too. Winning such a wonderful prize really must be the icing on the cake for you today :o) Susan, can you please try and keep the rain with you for a little longer, we really have had enough in England this summer, to last us for a very long time. xxx

    • sbranch says:

      You have, we will gladly take it off your hands for a while! Here’s to sunny days in England!

  81. Denise says:

    Congratulations & Happy Birthday Betsy! Thank you Susan for a beautiful, feel soooo good, blog today! You always know the right thing to say and the perfect things to show us! Don’t feel bad for the rest of us, our gifts come from you with every post, and I know all the “girlfriends” feel the same way! Just one of your gifts to me; ….the last of another pair of baby hummingbirds fledged yesterday! :-)) you brought that wonderful gift to us! I had never heard of the eagle nests and hummingbird nest til you gave us the links! It has been something that has brought joy to every single day (& I mean every day!) for me since your post and that gift……well…….priceless. Thank you!!!

  82. Oh! Happy Birthday to everyone! And a special Happy Happy Birthday to Betsy! I bet you are kicking up your heels! What a special birthday gift you have received! What a treasure! Congratulations!
    Susan, I love the page for the diary, the pondering of having to leave the kitties! I can just feel the turmoil! So exciting to go on an adventure, and yet a part of your heart remains at home with the Kitty Girl and Jack! So understandable! Yet, we are so glad we went to England! So exciting to watch the progress of the diary!
    Loved the walk through both gardens, got lost in the song, my son and my daughter-in-love are always finding 4 leaf clovers and even 5 leaf clovers! I find one and get all excited and press it in a book! Course I press some of theirs also!
    I got lost looking at vases! At the end I said wait a minute, where am I? I am supposed to be high fiving Betsy! I went down and then back up and went OH! I see, it was a side trip! I was dreaming and falling in love with the duck vase all over again!
    Don’t let a day go by without dreaming of flowers!
    Hugs to all,
    Thank you Susan for the journey down Susan Branch Lane!
    Tweet Tweet!

  83. judy says:

    Good news today ! I had talked once before about a little bunny I had been praying before because we had a family of foxes in our neighborhood. The bunny’s right ear had been split from top to bottom, probably from a close encounter with one of the foxes. The bunny is so precious and now it looks like it has three ears, because of the split ear on one side. Anyway, I hadn’t seen him for a while so I was really concerned. My neighbor said that he had seen one of the foxes with a bunny in his mouth in my yard ! (I know it is too sad, but I have to remind myself it is all a part of nature.) Anyway, because he was such a special bunny, I have really been SAD.

    A week or so ago, something happened and all five foxes died. We have no idea what could have happened. Anyway, the good news and the happy ending (don’t you just love happy endings?) is that today I saw my precious little three eared bunny !!!!!!! He must have known that the foxes were gone and there he was nibbling on my grass !!! I am SO happy. He was smart enough to hide until the danger was gone and now he is back. A precious little Peter Rabbit right here in Connecticut, what a gift !!!!! xo Judy

  84. Erin Stroud says:

    Must say I’m DEELIGHTED for Betsy on her birthday! It’s one she’ll not soon forget, I’m sure. Thanks for the flowery interlude, Susan. I haven’t had much success myself, but I keep trying. Thank you for the inspiration!

  85. Gini Gould says:

    What a beautiful ending to a very exciting story. Betsy, I wish you a most Happy Birthday today! It would have been fun to write out “Happy Birthday” in music notation for you, yet couldn’t get the notes transported over. But consider it done!! You are so excited about Susan’s gift of the Beatrix Potter’s book. That’s all we girlfriends need to hear, that you are so thrilled, for that in turn thrills us to see you so happy!
    Susan, like the last act in an opera, you lowered the rest of us down gracefully with skill and artistry. We melt at your drawings, and pictures of your flowers that bloom only for you. Yes we’re excited about what’s ahead. P.S. Might you have learned some teasing techniques from your Dad to keep us in suspense along the way? 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      He taught me everything I know! 🙂 I wondered if anyone would recognize his “technique!”

  86. Joan says:

    Lucky lucky Betsy – but special because she got it on her birthday – that Vanna did good pickin’.
    Am so happy there will be a pre-order sign up – would NOT want to miss out on getting a copy of the England Diary! That would be tragic after following the blog for the 2 months you were there.

  87. Paulie says:

    Thank you Susan for all of the suspense. Congratulations Betsy and a really Happy Happy Birthday to you! This is one Birthday you sure won’t forget! Enjoy your treasure while the rest of us cry in our English beer………Actually & truly …….we are thrilled for you! …..again CONGRATS to You!

  88. Marilyn (in Ohio) says:

    It has been raining buckets here today (finally!) & todays post absolutely made my day – thank you! The pictures of the gardens (& the quilts blowing on the line!) are so beautiful – how I miss being able to pin them to Pinterest to keep them always (even though I understand why that isn’t possible any more). How about a photograph album :):) — or book!

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

    Happy Birthday and CONGRATULATIONS, Betsy! What a wonderful birthday gift….the ULTIMATE gift! So happy for you.

    And, Susan, LOVE the diary page with Girl and Jack!!!! Can’t wait for the whole book….in hand….in my comfy chair…..with cup of tea in hand….preferably on a nice rainy day! xoxo

  90. Bea Lamont says:

    What a beautiful “world” you create for yourself and us – THANK YOU!!

  91. Karen says:

    Hi there! What a nice surprise to see this birthday post. I haven’t been here for a while, but have followed you often via my i-google. So, the reason that I was surprised at today’s post is that today, July 19th, is my birthday!

    Happy birthday to all the others with birthdays!. Yesterday, I attended a girlfriend luncheon and my closest friend there brought me a birthday cake with a little star candle. She added sprinkles below it like sparkles. Today, hubby took me to a local German restaurant for lunch and tomorrow we are going to meet with our son and his family to celebrate my day.

    Hugs to all, Karen

  92. Sandi Skeels says:

    Congrats Betsy …and…. a VERY Happy BIRTH~day’s one YOU WILL ALWAYS remember….so excited for you!!!!

  93. Susan says:

    Congratulations to Betsy on winning the book and on her birthday! What a special day for her!!!

  94. Kate says:

    Congratulations, Betsy. What a wonderful surprise on your birthday. Susan, you make us all happy no matter if we win or lose. We’re all winners here reading and enjoying your blog. I’m so looking forward to your diary from England. Thanks for the rain. We are finally getting some relief here in Indiana where we have been in a drought. Rained two days in a row. Yippee!!!

  95. Joan says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! Your garden pictures are simply amazing. Thank you for sharing.

    Congratulations and Happy Birthday to Betsy! Great treat.

  96. Selina in MA says:

    Susan, I already commented earlier, but forgot to thank you for sharing a little snip of your diary with us. Your kitties are so cute! It will be exciting to see it when it becomes available.
    I have been looking up the names of the roses that were in the basket in your last post. I’m hoping to add them to my garden, which I would love to redo, and put a picket-fence around it. 🙂 You inspire me more and more each time I visit this blog.
    With thankfulness,
    Selina in MA

    • sbranch says:

      I’m heading out to get a Julia Child rose for my Vineyard garden today, so we’re all in this together! Thank you Selina!

  97. Jan says:

    We too, are getting the much needed rain. Thank goodness!! My Dad’s corn and soybean fields sure needed it. So loved the pictures of your flowers and gardens. Well – congratulations are in order to Betsy. What a beautiful birthday gift!! Sooo happy for her!! Happy to see the sneak peek at your work on the England trip book. Can’t wait to see the end result. You are just sooo talented!!

    • sbranch says:

      SO happy for your Dad . . . and for our farmers that are getting rain. Terrible thing this drought!

  98. Debbie Snyder says:

    So very happy for Betsy! What a wonderful birthday present!!! Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, dearest Betsy, happy birthday to you!!!

  99. mymosk says:

    Happy Birthday Betsy! I am so happy for you!

  100. Lynn L., LaFargeville, NY says:

    Happy Birthday, Betsy!! Tell us of all the other wonderful things that happen to you today on your special day. I am sure this will be hard to top. This has been so fun waiting to hear who would win and so exciting that it was on your birthday! Way to go, Vanna.

Comments are closed.