After we moved from Miami to Michigan, I assumed that I would be giving up one of my loves: big, sexy tropical flowers. I planted a little hibiscus tree that grew tall and continuously bloomed outside my kitchen window in Florida, and it was one of my favorite things in the garden. My plan for after the move was to console myself with armfuls of fragrant lilacs and visions of bushes full of hydrangeas.
However, each spring, a strange looking plant snakes out of the ground and slowly winds its way upward, growing taller the entire summer. Then, in late August, I am greeted by the sight of eight gigantic, crimson hibiscus flowers, peeking at me from behind the other, traditionally Midwestern plants and flowers. This is one of my favorite things about living in an old house - the continuous surprises, like gifts from a person who lived here before me.