To grasp the nature, worth, quality, or significance of; to value or admire highly

I appreciate jasmine, and I love the way the new jasmine on our back fence has taken to its assigned spot next to the ailanthus stump—little green shoots everywhere. It’ll cover the trellis and nicely block out a neighbor’s bright-all-night light, and I really appreciate that.

And the hostas came back! Hostas were extensively developed at the University of Minnesota, and having been a Minnesota gardener I have a certain knee-jerk regard for what seems like a home-team plant. I still convinced myself that hostas’ legendary hardiness and willingness to make the best of any condition were just hooey and the two healthy plants I’d thought were well-adjusted last fall and set for the winter had died just to disappoint me. Nonsense. I appreciate their coming back. Hostas rule.

Although I’m making progress at appreciating all weather, and my chakras have done well recently with rainy days, I’m still glad winter is over. I like long, bright days. I don’t know how I survived all those Midwestern winters, especially the 18 I spent in Minnesnowta, where the sky is often darker than the land. In some ways I didn’t survive, thus making way for this wild California rebirth. I appreciate the North Valley climate. I love the heat.

The new little oleander in our back yard has begun to bloom and must have made its peace with all the rocks. It’s at least near the spigot, an advantage in the summer. I appreciate oleander’s extravagance, like that of so much flora—and fauna, too, come to think of it, especially people—in California. Things and people go wild, and I appreciate that, even when they go wild on me.

The rosemary and the rose bushes under my conference-room window are testaments to California’s botanical hospitality, which I appreciate. Every rosemary plant I tried to grow in Saint Paul and Minneapolis promptly swooned and died. One seemed to grow despondent on the way home from the nursery. The rosemary we have now is a happy hedge—bigger than all my indoor efforts combined—and I appreciate and eat it.

The previous owner of our house in Minneapolis was known all over the neighborhood for his beautiful roses, of which there were many specimens when I showed up. I think Fred’s beautiful roses starting giving up the ghost as soon as they got wind of who had moved in, and soon there wasn’t a scrap of rose bush on the property. Our current roses are exuberant in spite of living in my back yard, a zone of deep neglect, and I deeply appreciate their ability to go it alone.

And I appreciate my family not killing me in my sleep, although few would blame them, least of all me. I’m grateful, too.