One of these days, when I have nothing else more horribly pressing to do, and when we have unbounded funds at our disposal, our back yard will be transformed into an oasis for native plants, with occasional sections devoted to European roses and lavender and vegetables. But until then, I content myself with getting terrifically excited when something unexpected appears, like this Californian poppy (I threw down a large number of seeds last year, optimistically, and a few have actually managed to flourish). The trouble with the Yard Renovation Project is that to be done properly, it requires a good deal of rebuilding and reinforcing and removal of concrete and and and - not a happy prospect when there's only a long steep narrow flight of steps leading to it, and no access for machinery of any size. "But what do people DO?" I asked our realtor, when we were buying the place - "I mean, if we WANTED to put in a pool" (which we don't - nasty things, in my experience, that fill up with leaves when you're not looking) - "however would we go about it?" "Oh!" she said brightly. "People would use a helicopter to drop everything in!" Just like in a construction site on a Swiss mountainside.