Travels with Debra & James (and friends)
July 4th, 2013
I was on the road last week, working in Oregon for six days (counting 1,000-miles of travel). My companions were James Baggett, editor-in-chief of COUNTRY GARDENS magazine and photography team Laurie Black and Mark King of Laurie Black Photography.
We spent the week photographing awesome landscapes, inspiring new plants and a fabulous farm-to-fork dinner (complete with locally grown, organic wine, food and flowers). A busy schedule, but filled with great experiences. It will be my privilege to write the stories to accompany Laurie’s photos for publication in 2014.
I’ll keep this short. I mostly have photos to share.
DAY ONE: We spent it with Gavin Younie, an up-and-coming talent who owns Outdoor Scenery. In one of those “small world” scenaries, I met Gavin in Portland a few years ago on a garden tour. When I told James about meetin Gavin, he said, “it can’t be the same Gavin Younie who I wrote about when he was 15 years old!”
Well, yes, as a matter of fact, it was. James met Gavin when he profiled the young horticultural whiz for Rebecca’s Garden magazine’s July 2000 issue. The article was called “Generation Next,” and it foretold of the young Gavin Younie’s amazing future that involved graduating from University of Oregon in landscape architecture and launching his own practice.
Fast-forward 13 years and Gavin is all grown up. We just photographed his beautiful landscape for a story that will run next year!
DAY TWO: Time to turn our attention from LANDSCAPES to PLANTS. We met up with plantsman Dan Heims of Terra Nova Nurseries, the Oregon breeder whose company is responsible for a ton of exciting, cool perennials that have arrived on the horticulture scene. Heucheras, hostas, echinaceaes and oh, sooooo many more plants.
We started at Dan’s home in Southwest Portland, where his shade garden is a sight to behold, a gourmet buffet of botanical samplings, some too exquisite and rare to name. That was followed by a simply breathtaking visit to Terra Nova’s demonstration garden. Let’s just say I took something like 200 photos while the “real pro,” Laurie, concentrated on the magazine-worthy images.
DAY THREE: In Transit. We had to give James the true Oregon experience before leaving Portland. That included a stop at Powell’s Books. In Eugene, we stopped for lunch and sneaker shopping at the Nike Store.
Finally, 4-1/2 hours after leaving Portland, we arrived in Ashland, Oregon. It was 4 p.m. and 90-plus degrees on a Friday afternoon. But I was determined to visit my friend Joan Thorndike’s flower farm, Le Mera Gardens. Joan is featured in the pages of “The 50 Mile Bouquet,” and while I’d met her in person and interviewed her over the phone, I hadn’t yet been able to visit her flower farm. Here was my chance! I dragged James along, of course.
DAY FOUR: Our Farm-to-Fork Story at Cowhorn Vineyard & Gardens in Jacksonville, Oregon. My hat’s off to Laurie & Mark who had to work in ridiculous, 98-degree/full-sun conditions – basically the opposite of what most photographers would desire. They were tireless as they captured the story of food, wine & flowers, brought together in a beautiful setting where 130 people dined together and paid homage to the farmer, rancher and winemaker. Thank you to Bill & Barbara (and brother Mark) Steele of Cowhorn Vineyard; and to Farm-to-Fork Events founder Matthew Domingo and his wife Erin Daugherty for their enthusiasm, vision and enduring commitment to locally-grown food & flowers.
I don’t want to give away all the secrets of this story, which will appear next year in Country Gardens magazine. But here are a few memorable shots from our day on the farm: