Self Portrait by Christine Mills

Frogtown resident and EVAC educator Christine Mills muses about the beautiful Matilija Poppies.

This is me and my Matilija, the first plant I ever truly fell in love with. It is a native poppy, a Romneya.

The first Matilija I ever saw was growing at Elysian Valley Gateway Park. I was new to Elysian Valley, and either pregnant or walking with an infant in a stroller. It made such an impression: Those soft petals, that bright yellow, the gentle foliage. I am so proud to have them growing in our own yard for neighbors and strangers to enjoy.

This plant is unstoppable and also yielding. Easy to cut back, it will regrow and bloom stronger than before. Pull out a shoot and it will simply send another. Its strength never feels domineering or invasive. When I pull a shoot from beside a smaller plant that needs space to grow, the Matilija seems to say, "Okay, thanks for the input, you don't want me here, I'll just grow over here instead..."

I love the tender privacy and protection this plant offers our home. I love its resilience. May we all be more like the Matilija, always growing stronger and greener when we are cut down, always finding a new path when the one before us is taken away.