I came into this whole gardening thing kicking and screaming. I moved from Hawaii, the land of flamboyant and wildly amazing tropical flowers.

We thought we had closed on a house in January and we moved in on March 8, 2017. By May it was obvious what we had purchased was a yard full of weeds with a house thrown in for free. We had inherited a back yard of weeds, a garage that had seen better days, and mud where a path would later become a walk way to the back porch.

When we looked for a house we never thought about what was outside. It was discouraging to see weeds and nothing remotely beautiful to my untrained eye.

That summer we pulled ditch lilies. every side of a building had those disgusting orange flowers that I hated on sight. And we pulled what I learned was burdock. We found out that what we thought were phlox were actually dames rocket, an invasive near-twin that blooms in the spring. True phlox are fall bloomers.

It’s been six years since we moved and we are looking forward to the fifth year of seeing the colors of our rain garden. Two years ago we pulled out six lilacs because they trigger migraines. We add added hydrangea, nine bark, and viburnum that, despite my hapless gardening technique, are thriving. I discovered sedum which are understated and special and beloved by the bees, black eye Susan that might not measure up to Bird of Paradise in terms of exotic but that are still beautiful in their own way.

I have a hydrangea that rivals flowers in Hawaii and I am slowing seeing the true beauty of native grasses. I will never take for granted the fat-bottom bees and colorful butterflies that are in my yard because of both the outrageous and the humble plants.

I’m working hard to find beauty in the white and grey of winter. I’ll be honest, some days it’s not easy.

Spring will come. Not the fake spring on the calendar when the weather is still cold and temperamental. In June true spring will come bursting forth, each day with another surprise. For now I find beauty in the house we have transformed into a home filled with color and curated pieces found at shops I now love.

Today is the anniversary of moving here. Of saying aloha to the life I lived and loved and the woman I was. In so many ways it’s been a hard transition. But one day, real spring will arrive.