Debra Prinzing

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.

On the road with JAB

James Baggett, showing off the many titles he creates with coworker Nick Crow, his art director. It’s simply mind-boggling to grasp their huge productivity – and it’s an honor to be one of their writer-producers.

Wherever I can discover locally-grown flowers, that's where you'll find me!~

Wherever I can discover locally-grown flowers, that’s where you’ll find me!~

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.

team

The TEAM, from left: Mark King, me, Laurie Black & James Baggett. If we look a little wilted, it’s because we were working in the 98-degree sun all day!

Outdoo Scenery

The sign for Outdoor Scenery, Gavin Younie’s landscape design firm in Portland.

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!

"Next Generation," a story James Baggett wrote about Gavin Younie 13 years ago! They have come full circle to a story that will run in 2014~

“Next Generation,” a story James Baggett wrote about Gavin Younie 13 years ago! They have come full circle to a story that will run in 2014~ (apologies for the blurry iPhone photo!)

Gavin-Jim

Gavin Younie (left) with Jim Anderson (right) on their front deck – with “Winnie,” the charming dog. Notice how lush and green the environment is – and how cool the dark gray house stain and black trim looks against that verdant backdrop.

JamesGavinMarkLaurie

James (left), with Mark & Laurie. Gavin has his back to the camera. They’re standing in Gavin’s driveway discussing the next shot.

Echeveria

Something special in Gavin’s garden. A dew-dropped Echeveria.

Japanese maple

Love this delicate coral Japanese maple against the finely-textured Hebe mckeanii.

purple poppy

One of Gavin’s amazing purple poppies. Cultivar to come (it’s buried in my notes).

James & WInnie

James is like a magnet for animals. He and Winnie forged a special bond in minutes!

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.

Dan Heims & James Baggett, at dinner, the night before we started photographing the Portland garden Dan owns with his wife, Lynn.

Dan Heims & James Baggett, at dinner, the night before we started photographing the Portland garden Dan owns with his wife, Lynn.

I sure loved spotting this butterfly in motion at Terra Nova, hovering above the kniphofia!

I sure loved spotting this butterfly in motion at Terra Nova, hovering above the kniphofia!

purple and lime

Here’s one of the many delicious combos I spotted at Terra Nova’s display garden. Actaea ‘Black Negligee’ (formerly Cimicifuga) with Japanese Hako grass.

Laurie on the ladder

Laurie had to ascend a ladder, just to get the perfect heuchera shot at Terra Nova!

James, with Laurie & Mark, and Dan Heims, studying a perfect groundcover specimen.

James, with Laurie & Mark, and Dan Heims, studying a perfect groundcover specimen.

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.

James, with flower farmers Suzy Fry (left) and Joan Thorndike (right)

James, with flower farmers Suzy Fry (left) and Joan Thorndike (right)

LOCAL is important here in the Rogue Valley, be it food, flowers or wine~

LOCAL is important here in the Rogue Valley, be it food, flowers or wine~

Joan's Le Mera Gardens was certified organic LONG before it was hip and fashionable. She's been growing beautiful, healthy flowers for 21 years!

Joan’s Le Mera Gardens was certified organic LONG before it was hip and fashionable. She’s been growing beautiful, healthy flowers for 21 years!

Joan's Dahlias

Inside the hoop house at Le Mera Gardens, the dahlias are thriving.

James & Joan

James, left, and Joan, right, touring the flower fields where ‘Black Knight’ scabiosa are in bloom. PS – take note of James’s new, neon green Nikes!

Rows and rows of beautiful perennials and annuals at Le Mera Gardens & Fry Family Farms' shared flower fields in Ashland.

Rows and rows of beautiful perennials and annuals at Le Mera Gardens & Fry Family Farms’ shared flower fields in Ashland.

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:

Pargliders hovered above the Cowhorn Vineyards all day long adding a touch of the surreal.

Paragliders hovered above the Cowhorn Vineyards all day long, adding a touch of the surreal.

Joan and Dan Thorndike sit on either side of their talented and adorable daughter Camila. They were my gracious hosts in Ashland and my dining companions.

Joan and Dan Thorndike sit on either side of their talented and adorable daughter Camila. They were my gracious hosts in Ashland and my dining companions.

A sign you can't help but agree with, spotted on the side of a tractor.

A sign you can’t help but agree with, spotted on the side of a tractor.

The culinary team from Paulee Restaurant in Dundee, Oregon, led by chef Sean Temple, prepared our delicious meal.

The culinary team from Paulee Restaurant in Dundee, Oregon, led by chef Sean Temple, prepared our delicious meal.

Welcome to the Farm Dinner, aka "field to fork"

Welcome to the Farm Dinner, aka “field to fork”

Joan's flowers, from Le Mera Gardens, graced the tables tonight

Joan’s flowers, from Le Mera Gardens, graced the tables tonight

A final shot: Me with Joan Thorndike of Le Mera Gardens, Tracy Harding of Rogue Valley Farm 2 School and Suzy Fry of Fry Family Farm.

A final shot: Me with Joan Thorndike of Le Mera Gardens, Tracy Harding of Rogue Valley Farm 2 School and Suzy Fry of Fry Family Farm.

Locally-grown flowers spotted at the Farmer's Market.

Locally-grown flowers spotted at the Farmer’s Market.

 

5 Responses to “Travels with Debra & James (and friends)”

  1. Karen Chapman Says:

    A beautiful story of flowers, food and friends. Especially like the photo of the ‘team’.

  2. Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening Says:

    Over a thousand miles! You sure get around!
    Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening´s last blog post ..Yellow Leaves: Why?

  3. Debra Lee Baldwin Says:

    Hi, Deb — I really enjoyed spending the afternoon with James when I was in Des Moines in May. I can only imagine how much fun he’d be as a traveling companion, not to mention watching him in action “in the field.” Thank you for a delightful post!

  4. Lydia Plunk Says:

    Your joy is showing.

  5. Debra Prinzing » Post » SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Hear new findings on consumer attitudes about LOCAL and meet an organic flower farmer (Episode 100) Says:

    [...] . . and guess what showed up on the tables?! Beautiful, seasonal flowers grown by Joan, of course! You can read more about that event here and keep an eye out for the full story with Laurie Black’s photography in a 2014 issue of the [...]

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