Best Gardening Tip EVER, from the Heart of the Home! MUSICA. (a little garden music, think: swaying happy dandelions: )

I’ve always liked dandelions.  I like the wishes you can make on them before blowing all the seeds into the wind.  The yellow flowers are pretty and perky — they make our lawn look like a wildflower meadow.  Wild dandelion greens and flowers, unsprayed of course, are a delicious nutritious addition to salads too.

But everything in moderation, and “wild” is the operative word.  Seems like we get more and more of them every year.  Sooner or later, those charming yellow flowers form a puff ball made up of  a zillion seeds that are dispersed, with no help from me, in the slightest breeze.  What you see in this photo is just one small part of what we are facing now!  The feathery part of the puff acts like a parachute which gently guides the seeds to the ground (heaven forbid one should crash-land) and the next year, you get MORE.  I like SOME yellow flowers in my garden, but I’m not crazy about having a lawn made up of dandelion greens with their eighty foot roots as-thick-as-carrots you can never get out.  I actually have all the dandelions I ever want.  I’ve gone out to try to collect the little furry heads before they can disperse, a terribly nasty job that I would not wish on anyone, plus it doesn’t work.  Yesterday, talking to Joe, in a moment of Morning Science, brilliance occurred!  I had to show you!  But suddenly I’m thinking that maybe everyone isn’t familiar with Morning Science, so before I tell you his brilliant idea, for those who don’t know, here’s how I described Morning Science in my AUTUMN book:

So now you know.  We are obviously not scientists, but we do like to ask questions, we’re always trying (weakly) to figure things out.  So the question of what to do with the field of dandelions came up.  And this time Joe outdid himself.  He said, “Get the dust buster.”

At first I laughed, the dust buster?  He was suggesting we vacuum the seeds right off the stems!  You can’t do that.  But then I  thought about it and went and got the dust buster.  See the stem of the dandelion leaning into it?  It wants to go in there!  I just put the tip of the vacuum next to it, and it jumped in!  Once I actually did three flowers at once!  Rather interesting don’t you think?

Voila!  I mean Voi-friggin’-LA!  Can you believe that?   De-nuded, in one fell swoop. So I went and did the entire area.

We went from this . . .

to this!  I missed a bit here and there, a few weren’t quite ready to let go, but see all the little stems?  That, plus more, took me about 10 minutes of extremely satisfying vacuuming.  Then we mowed, everything smelled like heaven, and the stems all disappeared.  Yes, we will still have plenty of dandelion leaves for our salads, but next year’s crop just got wiped out by the two geniuses and Morning Science!  Well, one genius and the other person that hangs around with him.♥  

So, there you go, garden hint of the day — I bet you never heard that one before! 🙂

Every day now something else blooms here in my Martha’s Vineyard garden.  The tulips are still going strong, and now the clematis is blooming on the picket-fence garden.  I love this plant, it’s taken a long time to get established here, but I think we finally made it.

Isn’t it romantic?  Clematis is a vine that comes in all shapes, sizes and colors.  This one is Clematis Montana, var. rubens ‘Pink Perfection.”  They like their feet (roots and bottom of plant) in the shade, and their heads in the sun.

I have to go soon.  I have a meeting at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore here on Main Street — a famous little independent bookstore here on the island —  the same store where I had my very first book signing all those years ago.  I’m going to meet with the owner and show her our book! (Excited! What shall I wear?) Kellee has printed it all out for me now, and although the pages are only printed on one side and not bound, everything is there, it looks beautiful and it gives me something good for show and tell.  But I have a quick question for you before I go:

See this?  My girlfriend sells these bracelets and the little hand-blown Venetian glass beads that go on them.  I had never seen one before but she tells me they are very popular and that many people collect the beads, which come in a huge number of colors and designs.  They collect them the same way they collect charms, when they travel, or have a life event, like a new grandchild or a graduation.  She says it’s the “new charm bracelet.”  (This is the only charm bracelet I’ve ever had … so far!)

The beads come in a sweet little box, all with different quotes — I think they would make a lovely gift.  Here’s the bead she will be selling this summer for Vineyard Haven, our town on the island. Her website is not up yet, but when it is, if you like this bead, I’ll let you know where you can get it.

They can be manufactured with any words on the side.  She thinks I should have a bead made that says Love and Kisses on one side, and Susan Branch on the other.  Or something like that.  Or all hearts.

But since I never saw them before, it’s hard for me to understand if anyone would want them?  Do you have a bracelet like this?  The beads sell for around $30, so I figured out, for a bracelet like this

It would cost around $350 for all the beads including the bracelet itself.  Of course you would gather the beads one at a time, so it wouldn’t be all at once (unless someone wanted to do it that way), you’d just get them at special times.  I really think they’re gorgeous.  And the beads aren’t all in blue — there are other colors — my girlfriend has all blue because hers are all Martha’s Vineyard beads, and with the ocean all around, the roses and green fields and trees, you can see it all reflected here.  So, my question is, have you seen them before?  Are they your cup of tea or not?  Am I the last person on the block to know about them?

So, off I go, but I will leave you with one last lovely picture … this wild-looking parrot tulip.  I was talking to my dad on the phone yesterday.  We were talking about you, and the beautiful comments you left on the Mother’s Day post (like all the others, by the way).  He was saying how NICE it is to go into the comments and read them, that when he is done, he feels like all’s right with the world.  I feel exactly the same way.  Each of the comments is meaningful, but when you put them all together, they’re even more powerful, it’s the accumulation of the love, and the connection to things that really matter.  I just wanted to say thank you for making my blog such a loving, funny, thoughtful, heartfelt place to be. You are the perfect example of what’s right with the world.

Hopelessly devoted to you, bye for now, xoxo, me

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762 Responses to GARDEN TIP OF A GENIUS

  1. Patsy in Nixa says:

    I just read a sign which says, “Aspire to Inspire before you Expire”. You’ve certainly accomplished this, My Friend. Thank you from all of us.

    • sbranch says:

      So many inspirers here — most of the people who inspired me had no idea they were doing it … just going about their normal wonderful business of being great.

  2. Sharon Avinger says:

    The beads are very popular here in the South (I live in South Carolina). Most wear them on bracelets but I like to wear three on a silver chain as a necklace, placing a silver spacer bead between them; colored bead, spacer bead,colored,spacer, colored. I’m more of a necklace gal. Beautiful!

  3. Gloria Howard from Wakefield, MA says:

    Will the beads fit on a Pandora bracelet? There are many different types of these new charm bracelets and some beads fit on certain brands but not others.
    Where does your friend sell the beads on the island? Love the quote that comes along with it. Lovely.

    • sbranch says:

      She’s going to sell them at the art market they have here every week … I’ll let you know when I find out. And yes, her beads fit on the Pandora bracelet, and others too.

  4. Dear Susan,

    You and Joe are perfectly cute, adorable, scientific geniuses! I also vote that a youtube video should be made, that would be so fun!

    How did your meeting at Bunch of Grapes go? I am so excited for you about your upcoming book tour. I love to hear all about the latest details on your latest projects.

    And…YES, YES, Y E S!!! Please make a bracelet bead…wait, could you make a whole “Heart of the Home” bracelet bead collection? I love the MV collection your friend offers, they are very pretty and evoke just the way I imagine the island to feel. Could you do something like that with your wonderful art? I would love to see a bead with hearts, maybe a black and white bead to represent Jack and Girl, a bead in blue and white to represent the sea, a pretty floral bead, a bead with stripes…you could have a lot of fun with this I think!

    I hope you are having a splendid May…be sure to update us on any new spring decor around Branch-Hall and the latest in the garden!

    Say hello to Joe, Jack and Girl (hi to your sweet Mommy and Daddy too!)


    • sbranch says:

      My meeting at Bunch of Grapes was wonderful. I showed her the book and we planned a book signing — so it was very fun. I love all your bead ideas! I’m working on spring decor even as we speak!

  5. rebecca says:

    Just in time for the dust-buster trick in OUR yard :). What an idea! (Dust-busters just might turn out to be the “new” duct tape.)

    And re. the beads–they are gorgeous. A little pricey for me, though. I’m sure there are plenty of other who can afford them. The “charm bracelet” reference DID inspire me to go dig mine out. I hope I can remember some of the history of the charms 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      The new duct tape — LOL– no doubt about it! Write down your charm history — someone will love to know someday.

  6. katherine says:

    I love your version of ‘Morning Science’, made me laugh! I love walks in nature and by now I think I should know more than I do, but as you said, “but we know what we like” and that is the important part! To find ‘like’ and joy in the moments of life. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Genie in NC says:

    How was your meeting at the Bunch of Grapes book shop where you “had your first book signing all those years ago”? Maybe next visit you can bring your camera and share some visuals with us. Sending smiles, and looking forward to your next blog…

    • sbranch says:

      It was wonderful, more of a long girlfriend visit than a meeting! I showed her the book, we went through it together and then we planned a book signing. I should have taken the camera!

  8. Valerie Mathews says:

    Oh Susan, I just love that bead!!! I would buy it in a heartbeat. Please let me know when she is up and running. I never had one before but now I want to start.
    What a great dustbuster idea!!! I have some work to do in the yard now.
    Have a beautiful day!!

  9. Janis says:

    The charm bracelet

    Susan, I have one, which my mother gave to me this year. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the charm bracelet. My mother was born on Martha’s Vineyard and I would like to get it for her. Will the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore be selling it or will the owner of the bookstore have the website where I can get?Thank you so much.

    My mother and I are talking about going to Martha’s Vineyard this fall. Thanks for showing off your island.

    Happy Memorial Day weekend, Janis

    • sbranch says:

      I will give you a link for where to get them as soon as I can Janis. Perfect gift for your mom!

  10. Jack says:

    Here’s the thing – What about Potato Salad, tiny macaroni salad and coleslaw ?

  11. Sharrieboberry says:

    If only the dustbuster worked on all weeds! Wouldn’t that be fabulous?

    The blue bead is darling, but I do not have slide-bead bracelet. I prefer a charm bracelet.

    I have a slide charm bracelet, based on a Victorian charm bracelet. But when the price of gold went up, the charm collecting ended. I keep looking for actual old watch fobs or charms to see if I can find another one. 🙂 shows the style. But mine is new charms, not antiques.

    • sbranch says:

      How gorgeous that bracelet is! And yes, it would be wonderful if the dustbuster sucked up the entire plant! A little Superman Dustbuster.

  12. Tami from CA says:

    Brilliant gardening tip!! 🙂 I love it!! Beads are very pretty! Like them too. If people do not want to wear just the colored beads, they would be marvelous colored accents on their Pandora (or similar) bracelets. MV looks gorgeous right now! Wish I could be there. Fortunately you generously share pix with us, so I can take a vacation in my head almost anytime I want to. 🙂 Thanks Susan! <3

  13. Hi Susan..I didn’t read all the comments so I am not sure if anyone else told you: Dandelions are perennials. They do not regrow from the seeds but from their root system that lives through each winter.

    Looks like they need a dose of crabgrasskiller?

    altho dustbusting them may help!


    • sbranch says:

      It’s a little bit confusing … yes, they are definitely perennials, which means they come back every year. But perennials start with seeds too. You can even start a rosebush from a seed. The seeds from a dandelion puff spread and grow more plants, you can read “Seed Dispersal” in this Wikipedia article. I read recently that they are finding chemical weed killers in our food supply.

      • Diane Harris says:


        It is very troubling that Monsanto has developed crop seed with insecticide in it! So whether we want to or not, we’re ingesting it. Congress has given them a pass to do so!

        On to cheery things! When I thought (and pictured) you dustbusting your dandelions, my thought was what the neighbors were thinking, “what’s that crazy Susan Branch up to now? Vacuuming her lawn?”! LOL!

        Girlfriend, we need to get you shopping more often! Yes, you are the last one to know of these beads! And yes I want one or twenty!

        Sorry I’m late to this party, been distracted by other things, but you always never disappoint!


        Diane Marie

        • sbranch says:

          They did that with corn years ago too. Terrible. Happy to se you back Diane, the beads are in production even as we speak!

  14. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    Several girlfriends have mentioned the vinegar/salt weed killer. Here’s a recipe I found on Pinterest.
    1 gallon apple cider vinegar
    1/2 cup salt
    1 teaspoon dawn dish liquid (it would not have to be Dawn)
    Mix and put in a spray bottle, I plan to use it in a pump up sprayer. I have not tried it yet, but I plan to. It’s cheap enough! Also, I’m not sure why white vinegar wouldn’t work either.
    Armed with this recipe and a dust buster……..we could take over the world…..well maybe not the world……but maybe our yards! 🙂

  15. Genan from Indiana says:

    I have not see those little beads here in Indiana. I have seen somthe that are all glass but not with the words on them. I think they are adoreable. It would be cute to make earrings, too. Love your post and the Mother’s Day one. I am missing my mom. Thanks you for sharing your world. It is fun to get lost in the story of “YOU”.

  16. Lizbee says:

    Back in the day my grandfather used to take his vacuum outside to get rid of the dandelions — I loved imagining this picture, growing up. But I think the dustbuster’s a significant improvement!!

    I agree with your father about the comments. 🙂

  17. Kathy Fletcher says:

    Hi Susan,,,,,,
    Love your blog as usual, wanted to comment on the charm braclet.
    i had one- completely full of charms! Most of them i got
    on my 50th birthday trip
    to Holland. Was my favorite piece of jewelry until some
    not so nice man broke in my house and took all
    my jewelry. I guess he needed it so bad that he had to
    Steal it all to sell for drugs. But- he is now cooling his heels
    In a jail cell for a few years and someone else is wearing my bracelet.
    My point is for you all to have a special jewelry policy added
    to your homeowners. Susan you will love your charm bracelet
    and i will have to order your charm should you do one to
    start my new bracelet.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I am so sorry Kathy. What a personal assault. Amazing they caught him, but sad he didn’t have your bracelet on him at the time. xoxo Onward and upward.

  18. Sheila Weakley says:

    Love the bead ideas! Yes, the bracelets are popular around here, too, but I have a necklace also, and, even better, it has a big ring on the bottom of it that I hang my reading glasses on when I’m out! So handy, and it only needs about 3-5 beads, so less expensive too! I also have a charm bracelet my mom started for me, just loaded with charms, love it. I prefer jewelry “with meaning”, myself. Anything that has memories attached, right?

  19. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! So excited to see your “Kid Stuff for big people ” half-page artwork in The Country Register Michigan May/June 2013 issue!!!!! I strolled into our (only) quilting store in Dearborn, Michigan, The Material Girls, and on my way out grabbed a copy to read with my afternoon tea……and there YOU were!!!! The entire inside publication was in black and white print, except yours!!! Susan Branch was bursting with brilliant cheerful colors……soooooooo nice!!! (I knew it had to be you pouring sunshine to all !!!) Just had to tell you…..have a great Friday!!!!! Take care!

  20. Bev Eckert says:

    I love the bracelet, I have charms on mine that my son bought for me 2 Christmases ago. I don’t have very many glass beads, but I have one that says Mom on it, one is a peace symbol, one a smiley face with my birthstone on it, a couple of music notes, (because my son is a music teacher, plus plays the bassoon in 2 orchestras.) I have a love knot charm, a heart, a butterfly, a ladybug, a cat, a little boy (represents my grandson), a cross, and one that says to celebrate life! Adding some glass beads would be wonderful. Love the vacuum idea on the dandelions……will tell hubby about it. Have a wonderful Memorial day weekend!!! <3

  21. Jane Heather says:

    I love the charm bracelet your friend made for you. I’d be very interested in finding out when her web site is up and running.

    I also can’t wait for my copy of your new book, A Fine Romance 🙂

    Take care,

  22. Nettie says:

    Tough to read the comments with the script going in the background. Jus sa’in cause I love you I muddled through them. The bracelets are beautiful but too expensive for most of us BUT I must say if you do a charm I will have to put it on my wish list. Have a wonderful Memorial Day

    • sbranch says:

      Not sure about what you mean about the “script in the background?” Are you seeing something on the blog? H M D Nettie!

  23. stephanie says:

    I just love your blog and everything you do! I can ‘t wait to get my book, my Mom ordered it early!! I have a Pandora bracelet that is close to being full but would absolutely love a bead from MV and especially if you were to make one! Say hello to Joe, girl Kitty and jack. Have a great Memorial Day weekend:)

  24. Sandi H says:

    What lovely beads, I have a collection of Trollbeads that I have bought individually to celebrate times and places special to me. I’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard once many years ago and it old be lovely to have one to recall that memory.

    Thanks for sharing these lovely beads with us.

  25. Mary says:

    Hi, Susan! Happy summer!
    Those bracelets are very popular. I think I have three and I love them. We just returned from an anniversary trip to Paris and I have a little Eiffel Tower dangling from mine and it’s so SWEET! Love the silver charms mixed in with the glass ones!
    Happy Memorial Day! I want to visit Martha’s Vineyard some day!

  26. Trish Corbett says:

    I have forgotten to stop be lately, but glad I did tonight (as I passed your books in my living room. I have started a bracelet of beads to represent my travels. My daughter has said I should write down what each one is for.
    I so wish I had a place like the your island for a morning walk. I do plan to see a few places this summer with some great hiking (Glacier Nat’l Park & Yellowstone). And I will be taking the TRAIN (excited) across the north and west for a great summer venture. Thanks for sharing! Trish

  27. audrey Bell, LaBarque Creek, MO says:

    For Christmas this year, after many hints and a cataloge left in his chair, my sweetie gifted me with the most wonderful silver chain and a few meaningful charms. He then added to it for Valentines Day and again at Mother’s Day. It is exciting to see which charms he brings to me… the wished for and very much wanted silver pine cone… the unexpected silver thimble, I would never have asked for, but he figured symbolized my love for sewing and quilting.
    Perhaps I will have to hint about a visit to Susan Branch’s Shop for a Heart of the Home bead?

  28. Marianne says:

    This feels like catchup day for me – I just wanted to tell you I think your charm bracelet is special because it’s special to you and has wonderful memories – and I really like the watercolor you did of your special charm bracelet. These beads are so pretty , too, and the Martha’s Vineyard charm you show here on the blog would be a such a nice charm to get to remember a special vacation there on Martha’s Vineyard for anyone lucky enough to get there.

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