What can I give them today, what would they like? . . . the voice in my head is asking.  And I think Garden! So come with me, let’s go back to England!  And there’s other stuff!

Some of you will remember that rainy day when we visited Rosemary Verey’s garden?  We were only there for a moment, but you might recognize this video I squeezed into another post at the time (couldn’t wait to show you!); I promised we’d go back one day and show you the rest!  And today’s the day!


It’s wonderful to hear those birds again!  In case you haven’t heard of Rosemary Verey, she was an English gardener (1918-2001) who designed gardens for royalty (Prince Charles) and rock stars (Elton John), and others, not quite so well-known, but her most famous garden was the “little one” she did at her own home called Barnsley House near Bibury in the Cotswolds.  She opened the garden to the public “just for one day” and ended up with 30,000 visitors a year!  She’s inspired every gardener I know in big and little ways. So off we go; let’s start with some wonderful old Musica?  Oui!

I always knew I wanted to see this garden but when we got there we were met by a sign  at the garden gate that said: “No Entry  GARDEN CLOSED  Open to Hotel Patrons Only!”

Whaaat??  No!!  So I ran inside, up to the reservation desk, and asked (trying to look calm and normal), “Do you serve lunch to people who aren’t staying here?”  “Oh yes we do,” she said, and I (getting happy again) said,  “May we walk in the garden if we have lunch?”  And she said, “Oh yes, you may!”  “Oh Boy,” I said, “Table for Two at 2 pm please?”  And out we went, into Rosemary Verey’s Garden!

(hahaha just now Jack came up under my desk with his furry little head and put his ball with the bell on my chair between my legs! So it’s a time out….  XOXO  

OK, back . . . Look at that sky! You can see what a dark day it was, we kept ducking in and out of the rain.  On sunny days (and they do have them), those white umbrellas near the house are open and meals are served there.

But not today . . . Here’s what the garden looks like from the porch; we wander out that path to so much beauty . . .

  This is Rosemary Verey (a link to a precious video of her speaking about the “Winter Garden” from Barnsley house), and here, on the cover of one of her many books, in probably her most-copied “garden room,” the Laburnum Walk.

This is The Laburnum Walk.  Is it not to die for???  So simply designed, a straight path lined with Laburnum (golden chain) trees, underplanted with Alliums — my favorite mix of garden colors.

There’s a “Secret Garden” around every corner here; behind every hedge you find brick paths or flagstone paths leading you along; a mix of everything natural and beautiful; it’s a garden filled with surprises.

Garden gates add mystery, we have to follow!  But, before we go further, shall we stop and make tea?  Yes, let’s do.  Let’s take Jack!

He is always so helpful!  Cream?  Sugar?  Honey?  Kitty treat? . . . OK, back to the computer we go . . . all settled in?  Here we go again!

Through that first iron gate we went before we needed to make tea . . . and now through that gate in the rock wall . . . and down that path . . .

To this wooden gate of what they call the “Potager Garden” (the French name for Kitchen Garden).  Want to go through the gate?  Of course!  We’re having lunch here!  We are patrons of the hotel!   We can go anywhere!  So lucky!

Looking back toward the house, again, there are my favorite colors … that limey yellow and that purply violet next to the wall — I saw this color combination in one of her books, I put it in my garden too . . . I love the bright spot of color.

This is a photo of my garden, which is a fraction, a mini-minus-fraction of Rosemary Verey’s, but that’s OK, we can all adapt for our own world with pieces of ideas.  That’s what inspiration is all about!  Learning; seeing something you love, and then doing it your own inimitable way.  Anyone can buy a bush, I found out, back in the days that I was still thinking “Oh I could never do that!”  Anyone can buy a bush!

When we were here, I wrote in my diary, “it smelled like rain, rosemary, and thyme . . .” and it did!

It’s about as full of texture as a garden can get, tall things, short things, hedges, paths in all directions, herbs, flowers, vegetables, formal, and informal . . .

Do I see lunch here?  Oh I hope so!

Designs from Rosemary Verey’s Good Planting Plans …. she does this . . .

And then I, thinking a lot smaller, do this. Maybe we can’t do what she did, but we can do something!  Even a little dooryard is enough to bring lots of joy!

We are so lucky that the English people take such good care of their beautiful handmade countryside and we get to go there and be inspired!


Two pm, time to go!  Back to the house through the bottle garden we went . . .

 Oh look, veggies from the garden!  I know what I’m having!

Beautiful, did I tell you how good the food was on our trip?  So good!  Here’s Joe’s . . .

Don’t worry, that was just his starter!  OK, before we go … I want to give you one more video . . . one last look at the kitchen garden, one last sound of the birds…


 . . . and, here’s where we make an abrupt turn back to reality — we are home again!  Breathe . . . OK, it does make a little sense, since we are talking about gardens and healthy food, that I should add . . .

If you have a garden, and you planted zucchini, I’m pretty sure you could be in trouble — possibly you are inundated by zucchini that grow four inches a day, and maybe even looking for victims to foist it off on, sneaking up to friend’s porches, ringing the bell and running.   Is this you?  We know who you are.

So here’s your answer, one of my favorite summer salads . . . a fresh, easy-to-make salad, that makes zucchini as crisp as pickles.

So pretty and summery with the flowers, and good for you too.  Perfect for a summer potluck. If you give away your zucchini with this recipe, no one will complain!

Isn’t it pretty?  We love to use the herb lovage on this one . . . if you’ve never had it, it tastes kind of like celery; delicious in soups and salads; sprinkle it over cottage cheese, with black pepper, yum!  But any fresh salad herb is good with this; try chopped arugula, lemon thyme (with flowers), basil, or watercress.  Here’s the recipe!

One last thing, speaking of Inspiration, Wednesday the 15th is Julia Child’s 100th Birthday!   Happy Birthday Dear Julia ♥  ♥  ♥

If you don’t know enough about her, or even if you do, one of my favorite movies, and I think probably yours too, is Julie Julia, so fun!

And now I must go, because you know who’s birthday it is today? It’s Joe’s!  I’m going to bake a cake, we are having a big party this weekend!

Come back in a couple of days, I have a new giveaway in the works, something I think you will like!  I meant to do it today, but I just ran out of time.  XOXO Have a wonderful day, everyone!!

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  1. Kristina Moore says:

    The gardens…the menu…oh, my! But The Laburnum Walk is truly to die for! Lovely!!!

  2. I have never heard of Rosemary Verey before now. What a wonderful Gardener. I just posted about an Artists garden in our town I visited recently that reminds me of RVs work. I got so inspired by it the first time I saw it a few years ago and started making our Gardens into as many rooms as I could. I would love to have RV’s book. Thanks so much for sharing her and these photos.You open a lot of our worlds up to such fantastic new things. Thank You. Now I am awaiting my Willard. It hasn’t come yet. Hope it does come and soon. I have always gotten one and look forward to it. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      It goes out today until around 6ish tonight, so you will have it by then, I’m sure!

      • I never got my Willard. 🙁 its 4:25 on the West Coast. did you mean your sixish or ours? I hope I get one.

      • Jackie P says:

        I haven’t received Willard either.

        • sbranch says:

          Go HERE to see what you can do about it, and also there’s another link so you can view it … sorry Jackie … usually if you look and look, it’s there in some folder …

          • Jackie P says:

            I was able to click on the link and read Willard. Well worth the wait! (I just happened to have a hot cup of tea with me when I opened the link. Perfect!) You are such a talented and gifted soul — it must be that happy gene! Love your artwork and creativity. Esp. loved the link to your “How I learned to Paint” blog. I know I’ve seen it before, but the amount of time and energy you put into each illustration is astounding. You are truly amazing — a National treasure! And thank you and Kellee for the extra effort to get Willard to my mailbox. (Smile)

          • sbranch says:

            Oh so glad you got it Jackie!!! Thank you, too, for the kind words!

  3. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Good Afternoon~
    Ironically I just came in from my garden! Loved looking at the beautiful garden pictures~ I especially liked the one of the beautiful lettuce. I am anxiously awaiting a new crop now that the heat has taken a respite. I posted a reply before about the Bragg vinaigrette dressing ~and now I have to have another salad~one for dinner~ as all this salad talk has got me hungry for one again! Nothing better than fresh veggies right out of the garden~and cucumbers~ any body want some? I have never had so many from 2 plants in my life!!
    ~Happy Birthday to Joe !!!~

  4. Jacquelyn Wirthlin - Bainbridge Island, WA says:

    Loved the Willard and todays post. The gardens are beautiful and the salads are inspiring. Tomorrow is my market day so will see what I can find. Happy Birthday to Joe and all the Girlfriends sharing todays date and a Happy Happy to Julia tomorrow. Thanks Sue for sharing so much with us.

  5. Debby Holman says:

    Susan, the pictures are lovely and I really enjoyed hearing about your trip, but, oh, how I missed Jack!!! Happy birthday to Joe. Debby

  6. Barb says:

    Hello Susan, 🙂

    Oh……….this flower/English post was Fantastic! I just love gardening and thank you so much for sharing this today! I was in such Awe of Rosemary Very’s gardens and watched her video, and I could watch that again and again. I loved the Laburnanum Walk. I have never seen a Foxglove so big in all my life. I have raised those and am curious to know how one can stand that tall without going over…imagine? Your artwork was just beautiful………I just love it and your videos and Jack kitty too! I was delightfully surprise to see the salad bowl you have…I have one also but mine is a dark blue……was given to me as a gift……..I love colorful bowls. Your salad looks delcious and will have to try that for sure. I have no zucchini but a plethra of tomatoes ………tons of the cherry and sweet williams, heirloom tomatoes, plus beefsteak all coming in at once….yummy!

    Happy Birthday to Joe…….and a blessed day to you Sue! 🙂 🙂
    Hugs & Smiles…Barb, Ludlow MA

  7. CarolK says:

    A speical birthday wish for Joe: Wishing you always love to surround you, warm memories to cheer you. Good fortune to walk beside you and happiness to fill your heart. Best wishes from Carol & RayK in NJ
    P.S. Susan, thank you for the nostalgic walk through a beautiful English garden. I’m so inspired. Maybe next year now that I’ve gotten two new knees I’ll be able to dig in the dirt again. Hugssssss

  8. Marie - Valencia, CA says:

    Thank you again, Sweet Sue, for another look at English Gardens. I’ve been a fan of Rosemary Verey for ages and loved the 10-minute video. What a treasure she was! On the day you toured her gardens there was one perfect pink foxglove standing out–it may be my favorite flower–how spectacular! Thanks for the recipe, the artwork, and the photos. Happy birthday to your dear Joe!

    I echo your sentiment, “Thank you dear English people!”

  9. Gill says:

    Birthday greetings to Joe.
    I visited Rosemary Verey’s garden several years ago while she was still alive. (I live in England.) I saw some deep pink pulmonarias & wanted a plant for my garden. When we came to the plants for sale, I couldn’t see one. My friend asked Rosemary (who was doing the sellin) if she had one. “Oh, we’ll go & dig one out for you.” Wasn’t that wonderful? I had many years of enjoyment from that plant., then sadly it died 2 years ago. Fortunately I had given a cutting to a friend & she has now given one back to me. Hurrah!

    • Chris Wells says:


      How special that plant must be to you. What a wonderful lady she must have been.

      • Trish K says:

        Thank you for sharing that story Gill, very touching. RV sounds so sweet! I’m so glad you shared that cutting and that you can start again. Thank you again!

  10. Denise says:

    My question is what kind of loose tea did you sip in your tea break? I’m sipping Kenyan tea from a tea plantation near Nairobi. Bought it when I visited our kids who live there. . . wonderful tour, delicious black tea blend. We have at last had a break in our 100+ temperatures and so my tea kettle is out each morning for my first cuppa with milk.

  11. Minette says:

    Happy Birthday, Joe! Wishing you all the happiness and joy throughout the coming year, but know that will easily come true with Sue by your side!
    Susan, I have really loved the past four posts, but gardens, especially English gardens, and Rosemary Verey’s no less was just a bit of heaven! I think I have been in love with the romance of English gardens ever since I read about Alice and her adventures in Wonderland as well as Peter Rabbit in Mr. McGregor’s garden as so beautifully illustrated by Beatrix Potter in those tiny books! And what is it about English and French kitchen gardens surrounded by those brick or stone walls that is just so comforting and makes you want to go straight to the kitchen to make vegetable soup! Thanks so much for taking us back to such a lovely garden! By the way, have you ever seen the flower watercolors of the expressionist, Emil Nolde? They are so fluid, painterly and lyrical and I think you would enjoy them.

  12. Ruthanne says:

    What a lovely post….thank you, Susan! The gardens are breath-taking. I just love Bibury…..a treasure around every corner!

  13. Charlene H. (S.F.Valley) SoCal says:

    HaPpY BiRtHdAy, JOE!
    Thank you for this wonderful garden post, Susan!

  14. Karen C says:

    Susan, Susan, Susan!

    I “was” having a Monday kind of day on a Tuesday, until I read my email and saw your wonderful blog. I was rear ended on the way home from work, after what was a heck of day at work. No one hurt Thank God, just a tiny bump on my bumper. Needless to say, I was not in a great mood, until I read your Willard and saw what I call your INSPIRATION blog. I can get lost in your photos, but mostly I am inspired with the texture and height of the garden plants. Hmm, now I know what I want to do next spring with a little flower bed I have. Thank you for posting England again. And Happy Birthday to Joe! Hope his day has been going great. What kind of birthday cake did you make him? Take care and have a great rest of the week.

  15. Ruthie P says:

    Every time I read your blog the tension just drains from my body.

  16. Linda Petersen says:

    Hello Everyone & Happy Birthday to Joe! Many more healthy ~~~happy years to come! Happy Birthday to the other folks having their special day too.
    Thank you Susan for sharing yet another lovely garden post~~~the birds sound so cheerful & happy to be there. I’m certain the wedding was beautiful with or without the rain!
    Going to make the salad this week~~~thank you for sharing that too. I have lots of zucchini & yellow squash to use up~~~made two chocolate zucchini quick breads this afternoon.

    XOXO from Arizona,

    • Tawni urrutia says:

      Hi Linda,
      I am on the hunt for a good zucchini bread recipe…since I do have them coming out of my ears!!! Would you mind sharing yours?
      Have a wonderful wednesday!
      Tawni Urrutia

      • Linda in Texas says:

        Hi, I’m a different Linda, but I saw this recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread in Southern Living magazine. I haven’t made it, but the recipes from SL are consistently good.

        Here’s a link:

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Tawni, I don’t know if Susan will print this or not but this is a delicious one that a friend gave me:

        MARILYN’S ZUCHINI BREAD (makes 2 loaves)
        3 eggs, beat until lemon-colored
        1 C. vegetable oil
        2 C. sugar
        2 tsp vanilla
        2 C. zuchini, shredded fine
        3 C. flour
        1 tsp salt
        1 tsp. baking soda
        1 tsp.baking powder
        3 tsp. cinnamon
        1/2 to 1 C. chopped walnuts
        1 C. raisins

        Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour loaf pans and place parchment paper in the bottom of the pans. Add oil, sugar, and vanilla to eggs and mix well. Sift the dry ingredients. Add them to the egg mixture, alternating with the shredded zuchini. Mix well. Stir in walnuts and raisins. Place in loaf pans and bake 1 hour. Test with toothpick to make sure they are done. Very scrumtious–enjoy!!! 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Happy to print this … great to share recipes! Thanks Pat!

          • Tawni urrutia says:

            You girls are THE BEST! Pat, I made your bread yesterday…Delicious! I brought some to our new neighbors, it was the perfect “Welcome to the block!”. I’m going to try Susan’s This weekend. Because as you know…there are no shortage of those zucchinis!!! Thanks a million Pat and Trish and Sue and Susan. My hubby will love tasting each of these recipies!

  17. Oh! Happy Happy Birthday to Joe!!!! Hope you’re having a wonderful one, and have a fun party this week-end, I know it will be marvelous! Thank you Susan for the trip back to an English garden! Love it! Hi Jack! I pick up our new kitty tomorrow! He is solid black and as beautiful as a panther! Can’t wait!
    meow meow!


  18. Mary S. says:

    Thank you, Susan, for taking us back to England!! How heavenly, hearing the birds singing, hearing the raindrops, and seeing all the beauty!! It’s 108 here today, so this little respite was soooo welcome!! And seeing Jack’s cute little face!!
    How touching that Girl Kitty cried when you got home!! I have only had one cat cry – Bear, the best cat in the whole world, who died about 1 1/2 years ago. He peed in the house and I picked him up and yelled at him! :'( He tucked his head under my chin and cried!! I felt sooooo horrible, I cried, too!! How I miss him!!

    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA (sozo52 on Twitter)

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Mary, how DOES a cat cry? How can you tell they are crying?

      • sbranch says:

        Girl cried when we got home from the trip … it’s like a long cry, a long meow, you can tell the difference though … you know it when you hear it.

  19. Bee Stevens says:

    How great – a “Willard” and a new post. Both delightful. How you find time to
    do Willard, a new post, work on the diary and bake a cake and of course play
    with Jack is beyond me. Love going back to England – beautiful pictures of
    the garden and the lunch looked heavenly. Grand idea to ask if lunch guests
    could see the garden. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOE.

  20. Laurie Walt says:

    GUSHING! I AM GUSHING with inspiration, thank you! The viburnam walk was magic!!!!!!!!!!! I must do that color combo. Please remember the name of the limey bush in your garden! And the flowers too! Happy birthday Joe! Thank you Susan!

  21. So many Leos! My Joe celebrated his birthday yesterday. Sending Birthday Greetings to your Joe from much cooler Michigan, Mid 50’s by morning now–great sleeping weather, and very nice for hot tea again. Thank you for introducing me to Rosemary, she seems to have been a lovely person. Her garden is beautiful, and so large. Yours seems more manageable to me, and as lovely with its white picket fence.

  22. Cindy says:

    Loved the videos on Rosemary Verey! How do you find such delightful goodies? The whole entry was just fantastic! You had time to work on Willard? I can’t believe it. I’ve been in heaven all night. Thank you for bringing delightful beauty to our days and simple times.

  23. Rhonda D. says:

    Thank you for the lovely garden tour today. Loved the Laburnum Walk…it is to die for!! It reminded me of one of the pictures you posted of the blue bells in England. My grandfather from Scotland was an avid gardener after he moved to Canada. Half of his 1 acre lot was planted in vegetable garden, the rest (what was left) was planted in 8 ft high dahlias along a handmade cedar fence, beautiful glads, and the deepest red geraniums. People used to come and tour his garden. That garden gene was passed on to me, now you’re really inspiring me to do more gardening (to get busy really). One of Rosemary Verey’s books, on top of your posts, might just put the icing on the cake for me. You know, I may be a bit of an anomaly here, but I can’t wait for the large, unwanted zucchini to show up on the top of our postal box in our subdivision. I grate them and make Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins. They are way too delicious. Very moist and my favorite (healthy?) chocolate cake. They disappear very quickly. Thanks for continually inspiring me and a very Happy Birthday to Joe!!

  24. nancy says:

    Happy, happy birthday Joe!

  25. Laura Ann in Vermont says:

    Oh! How lovely! In particular, the Laburnum Walk is drop dead gorgeous! Funny I should say “drop dead” (and funny you should say it is “to die for”) because laburnum pods are, in fact, poisonous, which I only learned after watching and reading English murder mysteries! Laburnum pods were featured in a very recent Inspector Lewis Mystery (The Soul of Genius) on PBS and also in the very creepy “Mother Love” of several years ago starring Diana Rigg. They were also important in the Daphne du Maurier book “My Cousin Rachel.” After seeing your picture, I can now understand why someone would want to grow such poisonous trees. They are just beautiful! (Just don’t eat the pods!)

  26. Michele says:

    Thanks, Susan! I DO miss “being” there. So beautiful!

    Happy Birthday to Joe!

    (and a couple of little “pets” for the kitties!)

  27. Charlene says:

    Susan, I loved everything about this post, including that precious Jack. Please tell Joe I wish him the happiest of birthdays.

  28. Cheryl Danley says:

    Susan Branch, I love you, I love you, I love you! <3 Thank you for all these beautiful garden pictures and the two videos AND for introducing me to Rosemary Verey. I now have a new person to research! 🙂 And, happy Birthday blessings to your favorite guy, Joe!

  29. Joann says:

    That Jack….always trying to steal you away. So so cute….he knows what to do….

    What a lovely garden—and what a life to be noted for—planning gardens! We are still looking for our garden and hopefully, a home to go along with it….

    I’ll keep you posted…



    • Susan says:

      We are on our way back to Texas from Woodland Park, Colorado. Sorry we did not have a chance to meet (with all the fires!). Maybe next summer? We’ll be back in mid-May…

  30. Trish K says:

    Happy (belated) Birthday Joe!!!!!

  31. Helaine says:

    I loved your tour of Rosemary Verey’s walkway with all the Golden Chain trees. It reminded me of the first time I saw one was in “Raintree County” with Liz Taylor and Monty Clift, both young and beautiful. I finally found mine after a long search just like Monty’s in my own town. So lovely, if we could have just one. Are they lucky trees, does anyone know? Not that I’m superstitious, oh no, but we all need a little help. Can I still be a girlfriend, I’m 79. Is there a cutoff date???

    • lisa from CT says:

      Yes!!!! Of Course you must be a girlfriend!!

      • Carol Maurer says:

        Helain…. you are a ‘girlfriend’ as far as I’m concerned! I know what you mean about the chain trees. They are very abundant here in my town. I waited and waited for our local nursery to get them one about 3 years back. Was sooo excited…. couldn’t wait to get home and plant it. It was very small and some chains were on it. It grew pretty good all of last year and the chains were quite abundant, although the tree was still quite small. Last year was great also, BUT this year the pour thing died. I was devastated to see that happen. We now have to dig it up… so sad!

        Carol M

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        I agree! No age cut-offs, Helaine! The more, the merrier…

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Helaine, Of course you are a girlfriend! Age is never a factor when you are young at heart!

  32. Kathy Thompson says:

    Hi Susan…Quick question for you. What is the status on the book you’ve been working on for us girlfriends? It ’twas awhile back and you didn’t tell us much about it, wanting it to be the best surprise. I’m having to order “Girlfriends Forever” on eBay, etc., as I guess it’s out of print. Believe it or not, I still have a few girlfriends who haven’t gotten it as a gift from me yet, so I’ve been on a hunt for a few copies. Anyway, we all need a new SB book. I may have missed updates on the book, but if you can give us a sneak peek of what and when, that ‘twould be great. Glad to have you home. Loved England…but love MV and California visits even better. Hope to hear from you soon. Kathy T.

  33. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

    Oh what a wonderful treat – after numerous days of very hot weather in Paso Robles (110 yuk) – to enter the green gardens of England is peaceful. I love all of the gardens that you have shared with us. It is difficult to pick a favorite. I, on the other hand, am not a very good gardener – but that is OK because I love beautiful paintings but I can’t paint. Basking in the beauty of someone else’s talent is simply divine! Another treat – you are the best! Happy Birthday, Joe – have a wonderful party! And I too will be celebrating that great lady by the name of Julia – love to watch her put together a meal! She is so brisk, honest and blunt – she makes you chuckle. Have a fabulous day!!

  34. Nancy B says:

    Happy Birthday to Joe! Can’t wait to try your salad recipe. So pretty! Now to go find Willard!

  35. judi says:

    Lovely post – the lushness of that garden – wow! Happy, healthy belated Birthday to you Joe! What is his favorite cake? Thanks, sweetie for the deliciousness:)

  36. Rosinda says:

    Happy belated birthday to Joe! What kind of cake did you bake? I just love baking birthday cakes. They are indeed the most special of cakes, made with so much love for the ones we adore! I had a lovely time “walking” with you through Rosemary Verey’s garden. I have to say that my favorite part was walking through the Laburnum Walk. Thanks for sharing it all with us. Love you! You always inspire me! xo

  37. Ann Y. (Adamstown, PA) says:

    Loved this post…and all the “Secret Gardens” – that is my favorite book ever ! What inspiration whenever you are feeling down: “Where you tend a rose, a thistle may not grow” ! I have to re-read it every Spring. Loved that you shared a peek into all those gardens – thank you. And also thanks for the quote about Julia Child – I am thinking of her today as I plan a little dinner on the screen porch for friends this weekend. Thinking of making your zucchinni salad, but alas – no nasturtiums ! Can I use something else ?
    Cant wait for Willard !!!

    • sbranch says:

      In the new Willard I talk about all kinds of edible flowers. . . perhaps you can check a farmer’s market for nasturtiums.

      • Ann Y. (Adamstown, PA) says:

        Thanks – heading to a farm stand today and I am sure they will have something I can use ! Happy Belated Birthday to Joe !

  38. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan…this post is just full of beauty! The Laburnum Walk is so amazing…oh my gosh it just speaks volumes about this garden!! I love all the gates…they are so inviting and just add a unique atmosphere….smile… I feel so blessed to see all of this through the eyes of your camera you do such a wonderful job of capturing all it’s beauty!!

    Love Jack, he is such a ham….smile…. Be sure and tell Joe Belated Happy Birthday!! Hope you all have a fun weekend….


  39. Balisha says:

    What a wonderful time I’ve had here…I especially loved the little rows of lettuces.

  40. Lynn Cooper says:

    Speaking of zucchini, the neighbors are showing up at the door and meeting and greeting me on the dirt road with bags of summer squash, cukes, and zucchini. A great recipe that everyone will love is Ina Garten’s zucchini pancakes – easy to make and so delicious. You can probably get it on her website or if you do not have her cookbooks. As for the late, great Julia, her cucumber and beet soup(cold) is simply the best. I make it quite a few times when it is hot throughout the summer, and will make it again today with the two cukes my neighbor dropped off at the door last night. You would love my neighborhood – one of my neighbors goes fishing on Long Island Sound frequently, and they give me fresh bluefish, so that’s what I made for dinner last night after his wife dropped off the fish while walking their Springer
    Spaniel. Of course I baked it in the oven with the squash I got from my other neighbor, along with fresh basil, tomatoes, and such. Don’t you just love the fruits of the season? Cherish the mass quantities of fresh, local produce while you can because winter lurks around the corner and the produce will not smell as great nor will it be squeaky fresh when you bite into it after it is cooked.

  41. Robin in New Jersey says:

    Happy Birthday, Joe!

    I have nasturtiums growing on my deck. I grow them every year. I have never eaten one, though!

    • sbranch says:

      You are in for a treat! Like any new food, especially flowers, it will take a moment, but they are delicious and taste like radishes. Now if there’s one on my plate, I eat it first!

  42. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Dear Wonderful Joe! Happy Birthday today to Julia! A beautiful, beautiful blog dear sweet Sue!! We were at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens last week (fabulous 62 weather) & I was so fascinated with the Angelica stricta ‘Purpurea’ plant, that I took a picture of the sign & the plants – purple!! Gardens around the world are so gorgeous & bless all the gardeners for sharing them with us. My garden’s favorite plant is Bermuda Grass, & we don’t even live in Bermuda, not my favorite though! Looking forward to visiting with Willard. Hugs & a jillion thanks for sharing your wonderful talents with us, love, Joanie

  43. Wendy Louise says:

    Good Morning, What a wonderful morning here in New England it’s raining and I am so excited to have a beautiful rainy day. The gardens are so happy too ! This is the best BLOG ever ! I say this to all your blogs, but it is true. You are such a dear, wonderful, amazing, soul, you feed my soul so much, how do I thank you enough. To have a constant friend, you are here when ever we need you, I can’t stop singing your praises.
    The pictures of the gardens are such a feast for the eyes, I can’t stop looking at them and the video links are so lovely. Ideas are just popping all over my little head sometimes I think it will explode ! May I give a belated Happy Birthday to your wonderful Joe and a squeeze to Jack and Girl Kitty, Oh – a squeeze to you and Joe too. Bye from a very Happy and Content Cottage in West Newbury, MA !

  44. Crystal Burns says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thanks for sharing your lovely photos and video of Rosemary Verey’s garden. We all can use some inspiration. I have really enjoyed travelling alond with you and Joe. Happy birthday to Joe for today. I am sure you will have a fun celebration.I am excited to hear that you have another drawing coming up. I am always game to try my luck at winning one of your lovely prizes. Take care and thanks for being such an inspiration to all of us.

  45. Crystal says:

    Some people feel sorry for poor August since it’s the only month with no holidays (at least here in the states) but I say that makes it the PERFECT month to have your birthday! Julia, Joe and I can’t be wrong! 🙂 Happy birthday Joe!

    That’s one of my favorite color combos too! I love chartreuse and lavender sets it off beautifully. I wish I could walk down that Laburnum walk every morning with my coffee in hand! How stunning! Since I can’t, I have a small geometric abstract painting on my desk at work with a chartreuse bacground and a lavender center focal point. Now everytime I look at it I can appreciate my pretty little painting AND imagine being in Rosemary’s garden at the same time. Thanks again for sharing your trip with us!

  46. Tawni urrutia says:

    Good morning Susan!
    Thanks you for another gorgeous post! I watched Miss Potter for the first time this past weekend, I only thought of you a million times. Nobody warned me to get the biggest box of kleenex in the house! She was a real pioneer.
    I’m with you, August whispers Autumn to me! I start planning and scanning for fall decorations(that potterybarn gets me into sooo much trouble this time of year! Have you seen their wax jack-o-lanterns?)
    Happy Birthday Joe! We all sure appreciate the patience and good nature he has along with all of love and support he so obviously gives you. I wish him his best year yet!

    • sbranch says:

      I cry when I just look at the pictures of the movie!!! It’s ridiculous! Thank you on behalf of Joe!

  47. Sue Miller says:

    Always a bright spot…your blog makes me smile. Happy Birthday to Joe!

  48. Joan Lesmeister says:

    and, I forgot to say, I love it that the restaurant will “rustle up something” for those with dietary requirements!!! xo

  49. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    ” B R E A T H T A K I N G ” . . . . . . and that word is being used to describe
    YoUr heart!! The thoughtfulness of your words, the beauty in your artwork, the time you take “thinking of what we would like today” . . . is really over-the-moon
    nice!!! It may seem funny to you…. but…. I have missed you! And my daughter missed me ….for when I showed off my “new shoes” she squealed, “You got Susan Branch shoes!” I didn’t understand? She said, “Well, when you were gone I missed you, so I looked at Susan Branch’s blog…and your shoes look like some of her shoes…..” Catching up on your postings has been fUN! You always manage to tug at my every emotional heartstring! So many thoughts I wish I could share with you! I love the thought of you making and baking Joe a birthday cake… all SpRiNkLeD with thoughts of the past, present and future! Please tell him, that someone wishes for him…..a lifetime of Happy Days! “Happy Birthday Joe!” and a Happy Joe makes for a Happy Susan! I have always loved the morning after birthday’s….it means that breakfast will be cake! Susan… I hope that you enjoy these last bits of summer and if you ever wiggle your toes in the ocean…will you think of me…thinking of you? And when I look down at my really cute new Susan Branch shoes……I will think of YoU and SMILE …….through the pain of my new blisters! : .}

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I hope you aren’t getting blisters Dawn!!

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        oh, maybe just on my pinkie toes…but my Fred Flintstone feet never looked lovelier! Torrie took a picture when I got
        home and wanted me to twitter a picture to you… 🙂 Silly.
        Susan, can I ask you a question? I am wondering…what is
        in the little jar with the red lid on your windowsill? Capers?
        Little rocks soaking? Beans? Shells? It has me so curious!

        • sbranch says:

          It’s brown sugar crystals … for Joe, he likes it sometimes.

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          Dawn and I met for lunch recently and I have to tell you, Susan, and all of the other girlfriends that she definitely does not have Fred Flintstone feet! 🙂 It was really fun to meet, though, and we are planning another get-together before the snow flies…antiquing and lunch this time! 🙂 In fact, she and Deborah and I had so much fun on the trip to England that we are now penpals! I thank you for these new friendships–and to think it all started when I was sent back to check on them!!! LOL! 🙂

    • judi says:

      Dawn, good to see you back – been missing you:)

  50. Pollyanna Leggett says:

    I got my Willard yesterday! Can you imagine my surprise when I scrolled down to the little picture you did for August in your calendar!!? I was just tickled pink pink pink to see my very own name! You did mention to me, wait until I see August!! Tee hee!! It’s been so lovely to see all your amazing adventures in merry ol’! I miss the green rolling hills and patchwork pastures and of course the lambs! We were there last October and we had such a wonderful time driving around some areas I hadn’t seen on previous trips. We do plan on going to Hill Top Farm some day, I hope! Keep calm and carry on with your magical self. The moments when I get to visit your world are serene and peaceful and I always look forward to the way you remind me to stop and take in every little bit of simple beauty around me. I depend on it!! Thank you! Bring on Autumn!! Peace and love, Pollyanna 😉

  51. Gini says:

    Susan, I too have to echo the many thanks for introducing us to Rosemary! The video is wonderful & I love seeing her near the fire, working by candlelight. And the musica!

    Thank you!!


  52. Natalie Wise says:

    Happy Birthday to Joe and Julia, both!!! Very best wishes sent from Vermont!

  53. Gail says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post about England’s gardens. I will never tire of learning more about them. Will be out looking for Rosemary Verey’s book, sounds wonderful.

  54. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Susan–have you ever taken those little baby patty pan squash and sauteed them in olive oil and served them as a side? I have a friend who LOVES them fixed that way! She just adds a little butter and salt and pepper to taste…Yummy! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I have done that . . . and mixed them in with my recipe on p. 53 of the Autumn book, with all the fresh and dried mushrooms, fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese — makes a gorgeous fall dish!

  55. Janet says:

    Couldn’t get my comment to “take” at all Tues evening. It’s either my computer or possibly my turn to be haunted by the blog’s resident poltergeist. :>) Tried 3 times too – after all, it was Joe’s birthday!. Happy [Belated] Birthday, Joe…

    Anyway, just wanted to ask – on the Barnsley menu there’s an item”soya braised pork belly.” And this is… ? Bacon? Salt pork? Something else entirely? Something we just call by another name in the States? I collect menus [old ones being my favorites of course] and was just curious.

    PS – along those same lines, here’s one of our family’s “campfire questions” for you and/or all Girlfriends… What is the most exotic thing you ever ate and liked?

    Hope this one gets through! Happy Julia Child’s Birthday, everyone!

    • sbranch says:

      Look at it here on Wikipedia . . . It’s really popular over there, crispy on top, layers of meat and fat. I do think they make bacon out of it. Hmmmmm. Exotic. I have never eaten grasshoppers or anything like that . . . I love escargot, but I have to eat them fast and not think too much during it … I’ve eaten venison, but I could never eat it fast enough to stop the thinking, which is silly, because I love cows as much as I love deer, maybe even more; and I’m not wild about caviar. How about everyone else?

      • Janet says:

        Thanks for the info, Sue. Your blog is not only beautiful and fun and inspiring and comforting – it’s educational too! I learn something every single visit…

        Well, I will try just about anything in the fruit and vegetable world, but for someone who considers herself a foodie, I do not have an adventurous palate at all when it comes to animal products. The most exotic thing I ever ate and liked was definitely venison. Two of my brothers hunt and my first taste of venison was – I’m sorry to say – an absolutely butter-soft delectable filet. Not “gamey” like you hear. Actually not all that much flavor at all [so lean]. But like you, I was thinking “Bambi” the whole time. Yet for some reason, while I LOVE cows, chickens and pigs, eating dairy products, beef, pork, chicken etc don’t bother me the least little bit! I was offered hasenpfeffer once but I simply COULD NOT get past the images of Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail. Peter – and Thumper – in my head. I have 2 sisters and a niece who love escargots and calamari and sushi – but the only sushi I’ve liked was vegetarian. That however was delicious! :>)

        • sbranch says:

          And I love Carpaccio! SO delicious … the best is at Cafe Roma in San Luis Obispo … the absolute best, I’ve tried it everywhere I go, but Cafe Roma wins every time!

          • Rhonda D. says:

            After we found out my Dad (from Scotland) wasn’t well, we started doing an annual Scottish Party. Everyone that came had to make a tradional Scottish dish. I always had in my mind that I really wouldn’t like it, but, omg the food was to die for. People are still talking about it. I tried haggis for the first time. I don’t think you can have a scottish party without the haggis. We didn’t make it ourselves, but I have to admit that it wasn’t that bad. Most people just say “yuk” when you mention haggis, so I was a bit surprised.

          • sbranch says:

            You are a brave person! But I too will pretty much try anything once!

          • Janet says:

            Oh – I have always wanted to try carpaccio! That’s beef so it won’t make me go all weird. Have you ever had marrow? When we were little, my dad told us that marrow was a special treat for him when HE was little. Which got our interest of course. He’d scoop the cooked marrow out of the hot soup bones, steaming from the stockpot – and spread it on a very fresh slice of white bread, sprinkle it with salt and pepper – and yummo! Now that I think about it, THAT may be my most exotic thing. I’ve met lots of people who’ve had venison – but almost everyone looks at me funny when I mention bone marrow… :>)

          • sbranch says:

            I cook bones down to get the marrow, it’s really flavorful for soups. And sometimes, in a round bone, you find a bit of marrow.

      • Linda in Texas says:

        The most exotic thing I’ve ever eaten is alligator (at a friend’s insistance–but I drew the line at rattlesnake!) The alligator I had was rather rubbery. Not sure if that was because of the way it was prepared or if it’s just that way. I wouldn’t bother having it again.

        I’m OK with eating meat, but I really, really don’t like to think about what it was before it became food.

        • sbranch says:

          I feel a lot better about it when I know its all done humanely and that while they are living, they live a good life and eat well.

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          I’m with you, Linda in Texas! I don’t mind meat but I don’t want to know where it came from…I think that is one reason I don’t like anything rare…looks too much like what I typed when I was doing medical transcription! LOL! 🙂

  56. Jeanne Hedin says:

    Another wonderful post! (Do you ever get tired of hearing that over and over and over? :-)) It’s true, you know. Happy Birthday to Joe and happy day to you and the furry family members.

    • sbranch says:

      No, I never do, it makes me very very happy, I was born to be a blogger! Love it! Thank you Jeanne!

      • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

        Susan, you truly were born to be a blogger! So lucky for all of us, since we were born to find inspiration in all that you write and paint. A perfect match!! Isn’t it wonderful how all of your books over the years have drawn us all together? Now we all have this most special gathering place right here!
        Heartfelt thanks for all of your time and thoughtfulness. Willard was a special treat! Enjoy celebrating again with Joe this weekend!
        Dawn ♡♡

  57. Juliana - Jackson, NJ says:

    A double dose of happiness! A new Willard and a new blog post! Just what I needed as we are getting ready to drive our daughter back to college tomorrow. 1,100 miles and she won’t be back till Christmas – I’m already missing her. I’m unfortunately not a gardener, but I do thoroughly enjoy the beauty of it. I am always amazed at an artist’s ability to envision and plan something so beautiful – for truly Rosemary was an artist in her own right. Just as you, Susan, always know exactly what we will love and have that very much appreciated talent to show us everything through your artist eyes! A very Happy, Healthy belated Birthday to Wonderful Joe! Many more to come!!! Happy Birthday to Julia – the first TV chef who taught us all how to cook and not take life so serious! Thanks again Susan for always cheering me up!! {{}} Juliana

  58. Betty Marie,Pennsylvania says:

    England has just a perfect clement for the gardens. Loved it all…… HAPPY BIRTYDAY WEEK JOE. You need a vacation after the vacation from all that close call driving. WOW!

  59. Elizabeth Q says:

    Hi Susan,
    Beautiful. Love the salad. Has Willard went out? I have been looking forward to him knocking on my door. LOL You always know how to bring beauty in my day.
    Elizabeth Q

  60. laurie says:

    I just got home from travelling 400 miles for my husband to have heart surgery (he is all fixed up!!) We live far up North Canada, we have no close hospitals for this kind of surgery, i found WILLARD waiting in my email, yeh!!!!! and a new post from you, I AM A HAPPY WOMAN , thank you so much for making my day!! I enjoy every single solitary word and photo!!!! such a wonderful trip you had, because of your kindness I feel like I travelled right there with you!Thank you so much for sharing, I’m enjoying it so much!!1

  61. lisa from CT says:

    It makes me happy to know you feel you were born to be a blogger because I love reading your blogs!!!

  62. Susan says:

    P.S. It’s Wednesday at 2:55 MDT and no Willard yet!:(

  63. Terri J says:

    Oh thank you! I loved that music and especially that potager tour (mixing flowers, herbs and veggies is my most favorite kind of garden).
    Love the recipe too. I can hardly believe though, that this year we’re on only our second little zucchini. Not sure what happened this year (last year was not a banner year for them, either) – but next year we’re starting out with some fresh seed and new soil for that bed…and I’m never complaining about a glut of zucchini, again. I am actually missing them!
    Happy birthday to Joe – and to Julia! August 15th must be an auspicious day for food lovers. May Joe have his cake and eat it too. Bon appetit!

    • Terri J says:

      Oops! Just realized Joe’s birthday was yesterday. So happy belated birthday. And maybe August in general, is just an auspicious month for food lovers. My guy’s birthday was last week and he’s a great cook too.

    • sbranch says:

      Everything seems to have good years and bad years . . . I was noticing that, in particular, with wildflowers that grow where we walk; sometimes it’s a great year for a certain variety, and the next, you barely see any at all! Here’s to next year!

      • Terri J says:

        Thanks for the reassurance, Susan. Nature does have her cycles…and I heard this weekend from a gardening friend a few miles away that their zucchini was doing the same thing (in other words, nothing!) this year too. Though I was just noticing this morning, that after our long heatwave has finally seemed to break, the leaves are suddenly looking much greener and larger – and best of all, a new bloom has appeared. Hurray! We may have zucchini, yet (and with no complaints : ) !

  64. Gini Gould says:

    Happy Birthday, Joe! One day late with birthday wishes, this is to include this coming year- may it be just plain and simply WONDERFUL! I admire your faithful support of Susan. My husband is like that too; Doug is right at my side whatever my indulgence. I know you and Susan have many similar interests; it shows! But you are also individuals. Just remember, if you agreed on everything, then one of you would be unnessary! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      So right! No fear of that! 🙂

    • “Just remember, if you agreed on everything, then one of you would be unnecessary!” This sounds like a wonderful quote for Susan to include in one of her books!

      • Gini Gould says:

        That’s a great idea Cathy (and how gracious of you not to point out my spelling error)! If Susan includes this quote in a future book, I hope she uses your spelling of “unnecessary”, not mine. (I have an aversion to my version!)

  65. Victoria says:

    Happy Happy Birthday Joe!!!

    Sweet Sue,
    Loved the hanging bottles, the beautiful garden walk and all! .. As always, love the feeling I get after reading your post! XO!
    When will we hear officially, what we all, already know…that your blog is the #1 Best!!! ?

    • sbranch says:

      You never know, but if it did happen, it would be, I think, in September… maybe? I should go look.

      • Deb from Dixie says:

        Okay…..I did a little Sherlock Holmes on the Country Living website..and here is what I found out ( a synopsis). I know that all the girlfriends are keeping fingers and toes crossed that Susan and this heartfelt blog will win……AND we may also have another chance to vote……sounds like there will be a “Readers Choice” winner also, and that vote begins
        August 31.

        From Country

        2nd Annual Blue Ribbon Blogger Awards
        Thanks to everyone who nominated a blog for our 2nd Annual Blue Ribbon Blogger Awards!

        Blogs will be judged via the following criteria:
        Engagement—ability to draw a reader in
        Creativity/writing style
        Frequency of posting

        Seven (7) category winners and one (1) Readers’ Choice winner will be selected. The Readers’ Choice may also be one of the category winners.

        • Collecting
        • Cooking
        • Crafts
        • Decorating
        • Gardening
        • Lifestyle
        • Pets

        Come back to on August 31 to vote among our finalists for the Readers’ Choice winner.

        Readers’ Choice will be determined by number of votes the blog received on during the voting period, August 31, 2012 through September 17, 2012. In the event of a tie, the Country Living editors will select the winner.

        Winners will be notified via phone, e-mail or postal mail, at Sponsor’s discretion, on or about September 18, 2012.

        Winners will be featured in our December/January 2013 issue and will also attend a luncheon in their honor in New York City on November 13, 2012.

        Just can’t wait for the results ♥ ♥ ♥

  66. Judi Powers says:

    Hi Susan
    wonderful pictures of the english gardens. I want to go someday too!
    Happy birthday to Joe!

  67. Jenny says:

    Thank you for sharing your lovely garden adventure! I am in the planning phases of my backyard and the pictures you share are so inspiring! I also, must go now and make the salad – something new to do with my zucchini! Hip hip hooray!

  68. Gumbo Lily says:

    Beautiful gardens. English gardens are just so lush, aren’t they? Smart You to ask if lunchers can see the garden.

    I’m making that squash salad. I have some lovely zukes which are not the size of clubs yet. Once they get club size, they get shredded into zucchini breads (yum!).


  69. Pamala Black says:

    Susan, You are so enchanting..I love to linger over your blog! So enjoyable.
    Thanks for what you do. Please do keep up the good work.

  70. Anna Limont says:

    Reading your blog is just such fun! It really is! – The best blog in blogland, we are all so lucky that you take the time to share so much with everyone, life-is-good and it is obvious that you love making life beautiful, something we can all do, as you say, anyone can plant a bush, or make a nice cup of tea or just think happy thoughts. Best wishes to your husband on his birthday – and its nice to see that someone else’s kitty likes kitchen counters too. I signed up recently for a Willard newsletter, I’m sure its going to be lots of fun to read too, I hope it comes as I haven’t received yet, shall wait and see. Cheerio

    • sbranch says:

      Let me know if you don’t get it Anna! Thank you for the sweet comment!

      • Anna Limont says:

        I just wanted to let you know that as of now I haven’t recieved the Willard newsletter, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to check on missing Willard’s for your readers. I will check again tomorrow – looking forward to seeing what they are like, it will be my first one. Best of luck on the Country Living award, you deserve it.

        • sbranch says:

          Go HERE Anna, it’s a link to my FOSB Facebook page where Kellee has explained what to do if you didn’t get your Willard, and she’s given a link so you can view it! Thank you!

  71. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Hi Susan *

    Loved your Garden Post, but I expecially loved returning to England.

    So beautiful…and oh! the lush “green-ness” of it all…the charming welcome gates, the flower gardens…just to see it all again…so wonderful.

    Thanks for making it like I never left the English gardens and countrysides, as long as your sweet posts continue to bring us all back to them.

    H A P P Y * B I R T H D A Y * J O E

    Susan, I am so looking forward to Willard! Can’t wait to receive it. May I let you know if it doesn’t arrive by Friday? Seems like quite a few of the girlfriends have already received their copies.
    * Hugs from Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

  72. Betty Marie,Pennsylvania says:

    Good Morning Susan,
    Willard was waiting for me this morning. I didn’t look last night for his arrival as I wanted to start the day with the fresh news . It was, It is, just wonderful! I will go over and over the letter and make sure I click on each and every area so I don’t miss a thing. I am saving up to buy your the red lid jars. I love red in the kitchen.

  73. erica says:


    My thoughts after savouring (again and again) this post are ….just how blessed we are to be offered up, from MOTHER NATURE herself such a riot of colors and shapes to put into our own yards if we wanted too. Sort of like you, choosing your shapes and palette of colors to create what YOU do! Certainly there is some technique involved and obviously God given talent, but I’m sure we can all learn and keep learning!

    Imagine, PAINTING the yard with plants. Shall I try? I already do in a small way (because of limitations) but this post has got my mind twirling. Who cares if my garden is more PICASSO like? 🙂 It’s all about having fun, right? Eventually I could become a MATISSE…he, he…he…no…to pastel-y….MICHAELANGELO! Settle down twirling mind!!

    Another great post Susan. As always, I know there is so much thought and effort on these wonderfully lovely pages for us girlfriends. XO

    Much love to you and critters…


    • sbranch says:

      Thanks so much Erica! Good luck with your painting!

      • erica says:

        If I may add (because I’m over 55 and keep forgetting) HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY WISHES to your sweetheart, Joe! You two are a terrific, dynamic and loving duo, aren’t you? Soul-mates extraordinaire.

        And, (I know one mustn’t begin a sentance with ‘and’, but it’s how my brain speaks) the WILLARD in my mailbox was such a sweet dessert after a long work day. Thank you! I especially LOVE the little quote and image of the girl at the end of the post, which is taken from the calendar page.

        PS I tried voting for you on the Country Living Magazine site, but it’s U.S.A. only. Drats! I’m in BC, Canada. Just want you to know you have my vote.

        Enjoy the day. XO


        • erica says:

          Oh……OH! So happy and excited that I’ve got to share this!

          Too darn hot to stay in the house last night, so I went to the thrift store. Air-conditioned! Heading to the book section. And by-jabers there on the shelf amongst the thousands of books, I spot HEART OF THE HOME Notes from a Vineyard Kitchen. Price? $3.99 Ahhhhh….such a lovely book Susan.

          Twirling around, doing a 180 there are 8 little Beatrix Potter books to add to my collection. Yes, you’ve inspired me to collect them.

          What a great Friday Night!! Almost as good as a hot date.


  74. Janet Hundley - Grafton, WI says:

    Thank you for a beautiful garden tour. Now I must read more about Rosemary Verey. Also, thank you for the tribute to Julia Child. Happy Birthday (a day late, but still sincere) to Joe. He seems like a wonderful person and wishes go out to him for much health and happiness.

  75. Rae Ann from northern Michigan... says:

    Just checking in to see what’s up…Happy Belated Birthday to our dear Joe…hope he had an absolutely grand day doing just what he wanted to do and I know that his party this weekend will be top notch…been cleaning out our 106 year old garage before demolition in early September for a new garage and winterized addition to our 106 year old cottage…whew…lots of treasures…bringing them inside and scrubbing them to display…I must admit I will be glad when everything I want is out of the garage…what to do with a very old wringer washer…hmm…I’m thinking I can use it to put ice and beverages in…back to work…xoxo…

    • sbranch says:

      That sounds fun!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        How about using it for a unique planter? 🙂

        • Rae Ann from northern Michigan... says:

          Great idea Pat…thanks…I may be donating the antique wringer washer to our local history museum…

          • Jack says:

            I like your ice and beverages concept — to be able to reach in to the icy water and pick out your selection
            for a refreshing repast while working hard to bring a garden into being , is a moment in time that makes it all worthwhile —remove the legs , find a unique location for your tub …….and voila you got it !

  76. Rae Ann from northern Michigan... says:

    P.S…LOVED seeing the lovely gardens…such a wonderfully beautiful break for me…

  77. Angela says:

    Hi Susan, I just finished reading Willard. Although I’m enjoying August (and a little break from the heat here in PA) I wondered if anyone else could feel Autumn coming. I now know I’m not the only one. The crickets here are singing their fall song every night and the cicadas joined in on Monday. I actually made a recording of them the other evening using my smart phone. Although I’m not ready to send my child back to school (I love having him home with me), I’m getting ready to welcome Autumn of 2012.

  78. mary spring says:

    Dear Susan….. wonderful Willard finally showed up late yesterday afternoon ..with so much to share !!…( no surprise that your sweet tea-cup with the bird lid and saucer and your teapot for a single service are already sold out !!..’hope you will be offering them again sometime..maybe I’ll try an improvisation (sp?) meanwhile…thank you for all you do…please pass a message to Julie…that I checked her web-sites for pottery out and that I “throw” stoneware and porcelain and love to do high fire, reduction firings…and I found the book Healing With The Angels…thanks for all her “energies”…she is one smart and funny lady….thank you again, Susan…take care…

    • sbranch says:

      We’ll get that cup back as soon as possible, I felt bad that we ran out, but we got all they had!

    • Julie says:

      Message received, sweet mary spring . ♥
      Have a wonderful pot-throwing weekend-
      no, no that doesn’t sound right
      but you know what I mean ! 🙂

  79. Audrianne says:

    Belated Happy Birthday Joe! We had a birthday party for Julia – showed the film and cooked Bouf Bourgaione from her recipe. It was a hit.

    I haven’t received Willard yet either!

    It’s raining in Michigan today but we need it, can you hear the garden slurping from the island?

  80. Beth says:

    Susan – so love your blog – waiting patiently for Willard, but it’s 1:07 California time on Thursday and still no Willard. Thanks for the wonderful tour of the gardens – I’ll go read it again and wait.

    • sbranch says:

      Did you get it Beth? If not, go HERE where Kellee has written what you can do about it and given a link so you can view Willard now. Sorry!

      • Beth says:

        Susan – heard from Kellee – apparently the “Internet Ghost” is reading my copy-and worse, keeping it, as it never arrived, but clicked on the link – thoroughly enjoyed Willard and as usual, was a delight. So fun to read – followed you all through England and can’t wait for the diary.

        • sbranch says:

          I think Kellee is going to start posting the Willard on FOSB after they’ve all gone out . . . it gets to most people, but there are a few that for some reason we just can’t seem to reach … so this should help.

  81. CH. says:


  82. Paula K., Arkansas says:

    Hi Susan, Thank you so much for more lovely garden pictures! I would like to try the Fisher Farm Picnic Squash Salad, but not sure which Paul Newman’s salad dressing to use. I thought there were more than one so I want to make sure I use the right one. Thank you again!

    • sbranch says:

      When I wrote this recipe, there was only one! LOL, so sorry, but it’s just the vinaigrette; andy vinegar and oil type of Paul Newman dressing.

  83. Nellie says:

    Oh, my! I’ve missed giving Joe his happy birthday wishes on his birthday! I’m so sorry and send along many belated happy wishes! Our now-six-year old granddaughter shares the same birthday!

    This is a wonderful garden tour. Ours here looks fairly anemic in comparison.

    Have a happy Thursday evening, and enjoy preparations for that wonderful party this week-end!

  84. Denni from MN says:

    Just finished reading “Willard” and enjoyed every bit! Cannot wait for the “Diary” to be all done….every tantillizing bit you give us, all the memories of traveling, keeps us coming back for more and more!!!! Thank you for it all, Susan!

  85. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Hi Susan * Just A Note To Let You Know…I received my August Willard!

    Yes, indeedy…Willard arrived…yesterday afternoon @ 2:38 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, here on Cougar Mountain, Washington!

    I read the only the first few paragraphs so far, and as you wrote, I will get a cup of my favorite tea blend, get comfy, and thoroughly enjoy my new Willard Newsletter later on in the afternoon.

    Be ready, Susan…even though I read only the very beginning of Williard, you are going to get so many posts on this one. Including mine! The new issue has “The Simple Life” music, celebrating August and an extra Blue Moon to look forward too, and that’s just for starters!

    O.K. Sue…this is what I know for sure…and I’ll quote some lines of a great song…”Ain’t no mountain high enough, Ain’t no valley low enough, Ain’t no river wide enough” to keep Willard from getting to me and all of us girlfriends!

    Thank you for Wonderful Willard!
    * From: Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

  86. Enikö says:

    Oh my…what a lovely post! That bottle garden is to die for! …And the kitchen garden!!!!! …But it was the menu that really did me in…the sheer quality of ingredients just makes me swoon… So sad to be missing Joe’s party tomorrow …please give him a big hug from me & Jim. Love you sweet woman…this was such a joyous inspiration!

  87. Carol from Connecticut says:

    Dear Susan,
    Rosemary Verey: masterpiece garden, masterpiece person. A legend in my own mind. Thank-you for a beautiful tour of such bountiful creativity! Wow! This blog entry is one of your best with so much variety and givingness (is that a word?) to your readers. You’ve outdone yourself! You’re a legend in your own time and in cyberspace! Wowee!
    Affection and a tra la, Carol

  88. Kathy from Heafed to the Fell, Brevard, NC says:

    Darling Susan—What a fun and precious girlfriend you are for taking such a huge and overwhelming, but simply GORGEOUS garden, and simplifying it for us into two striking colors, a bush or two, and a “little dooryard” garden. You are the “most”. Please wish Joe a belated happy birthday for me from one Leo to another!



  89. Carol from Connecticut says:

    Dear Joe,
    (please sing to tune of Happy Birthday :o) )
    Happy Birthday to you! You’re always true blue! You love your sweet Susan; and for that we love you! Hip Hip Hooray…Hip Hip Hooray…Hip Hip Hooray! Woo Woo
    and a tra la la, Carol

  90. Debbie says:

    Any plans in near future for Calif. trip?

  91. Marge says:

    Hello dear Susan – I did not receive my Willard as promised. Needed a pick me up so I was looking for it. Don’t mean to trouble you when you are sooo busy with the book. Love your blog. (sorry I’m not thinking straight, due to fibromyalgia acting up-oh pain) Marge

  92. Carla from Wisconsin says:

    Hi Susan,
    I love your post. I enjoy the tours via video. I also loved Willard! Thank you for both.
    Happy Birthday to your husband.
    Have a great weekend.

  93. Julie says:

    A couple days late,
    but I just found this, in my inbox, sent by another who adored Julia Child-
    a real delight !

  94. Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

    I absolutely loved tagging along with you to Rosemary’s garden. I’m sure the lady behind the desk had no idea that all your girlfriends were hiding behind you!
    The first time I learned about Rosemary Verey was in a Victoria magazine. She was still alive and they showed beautiful pictures of her gardens, including her potager. It inspired my own garden! I loved the rows of green and red lettuces. Longwood Gardens in PA plants lettuce like that, too. Very pretty to look at.
    I also have the book you showed on your blog. I love it. So thank you, Susan for another reminder of how much fun we all had in England.
    I hope you have a wonderful b’day celebration for Joe tomorrow and that everything goes swimmingly!

  95. Melissa says:

    Perhaps I missed it but which of Paul Newman’s salad dressings is used in the squash salad recipe. I’m assuming a vinaigrette.
    LOVE your blog. It always makes me feel happy.
    Will you start a waiting list for your English Diary book?

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, a vinaigrette, and it doesn’t really matter which one. Yes, soon, I will start a waiting list for the English Diary. Thanks Melissa!

  96. mary spring says:

    Dear Susan and Joe..have a great party today !!!…great twitter image you posted most recently…such good advice !!..with love…and take care..

  97. Cheryl says:

    Good Morning!
    Sadly, we have just returned home to the Cape after once again, living on Chappy for the past month; so sad to leave, I cried all the way across. I have been faithfully following your blog and travels every day, but keep to myself most often without posting a response. I have to re-tell you how much you inspire me! Your documentation of your trip to England has put a idea of taking another trip across the BIG pond again. My youngest daughter and I spent several weeks living in Richmond Hill while she studied at the Royal Ballet summers ago. It was an amazing experience we will both never forget. You captured it so well in your photo essays. While on Chappy, I made my weekly trip to V.H. to the post office and or LeRoux for something I simply just had to have and I often wandered the streets and by your house imagining you at work and thinking about you and how well you are doing and how hard your work. As a side note I thought I would share with you about the wonderful woman who rented the nearby cottage to us on Chappy. We met on the beach having NEVER seen each other on this earth before. She and her family live in out in the Great Lakes area. Out of the blue, she asked me if I knew who you were! I have to tell you she is a great fan of yours. Well, you can imagine…right? I told her what a wonderful woman you are and how much I admire you and your work and ethic. Best Thoughts to you and Joe!
    Cheryl E.
    p.s. the beach plums are fully ripe on Chappy! I am making jam this weekend!

    • sbranch says:

      SO sweet of you Cheryl! I’m sorry you had to go home . . . it’s so hard to leave places we love! Glad to hear all is well with you! Thank you!

  98. Jack says:

    I’m good ole post #410 🙂 and thought your Willard was great -delightfully full and entertaining but as to ” English Gardens” —–um —they are too much for me this total growth and more growth on top of growth makes me feel claustrophobic –and I’m not !
    Its an actual presentation of not being able to see the forest –for the trees — a jumble of
    plants going everywhere helter skelter , out of control ! no one in charge –a hint of a trail
    leading to the unknown ………engineered mishmash of flowered chaos!

  99. I just love reading your blog and seeing all of the beautiful pictures, both from your camera and your hands 🙂

  100. Peggy H. says:

    I’ve loved reading and re-reading this blog as well as going to the links that you’ve provided. What fun!!! After clicking on the link to Rosemary Verey’s Garden, I noticed another video that was called Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn…… Simply wonderful. Thanks so much for taking us to all these wonderful places! Beautiful gardens, Rosemary Verey, and Audrey Hepburn. What a great way to spend part of my day!!!! Peggy

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