Debra Prinzing

Get the Email Newsletter!

Enriched and Exhausted

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

One of Treephoria's lovely flowering dogwoods, aka 'Heart Throb'.

Dear friends and readers, I’m sure you’ve just about given up on ever seeing an fresh, new blog post, since I nearly allowed the month of July to come and go without writing anything.

July was definitely enriching – my over-filled calendar says so! And yet, I am also exhausted (see my prior post, referencing moving to a new home, garden, and pond). Possessing countless experiences in need of personal review and reflection, I had planned to share the more colorful events here in a single post – a diary of sorts from the past month. Yet, since my just-crashed computer is in hospital, complete with most of my stored photos (my external hard-drive has to be replaced, too!), I don’t have much to show you.

The beautiful landscape of tree farms, across the field from Nancy Buley's Treephoria.

So the July recap will occur in stages. Phase One covers July 5th-6th when I visited a few rural towns outside of Portland, Oregon.

I rode the train from Seattle to Portland on July 4th of all things, and my 4-hour journey was lovely, relaxing, and quiet. What a nice way to skip out on the potential holiday craziness on the freeway. Upon arrival, I rented a car and drove to the hamlet of Boring, Oregon.

Here I am with Nancy Buley (right), on a tour of J. Frank Schmidt & Son's expansive tree farm in Boring, Oregon.

My friend Nancy Buley lives there and she let me stay under the eaves of her farmhouse, in a room she calls the “garret,” the window of which overlooks Treephoria, her boutique tree farm.

Nancy is a tree ambassador who works closely with landscape architects and designers to educate and excite them about awesome ornamental varieties grown by J. Frank Schmidt & Son.

As director of communications, she frequently writes and speaks about new tree introductions, landscape design and tree selection/care. I first met Nancy years ago through Garden Writers Association, but our friendship was actually forged during a fun evening in Oklahoma City in 2007, when Sally Ferguson included us both in her small dinner party. That’s often how things go: We may only see one another a few times a year, but the kinship is cemented and immediately recalled whenever we meet.

Weeping giant sequoias, stately-looking against the Oregon sky.

Nancy treated me to a fabulous visit, including a walk at dusk around her grounds. At Treephoria, she and her son Neil Buley grow specialty trees in small batches. Nancy possesses a keen eye for the uncommon, but she also evaluates trees for their performance in the residential landscape. She defines Treephoria as, “the rapturous feeling or state of being experienced when surrounded by remarkable trees.”

Nancy, showing off a gorgeous 'June Snow' dogwood tree at J. Frank Schmidt & Son's display garden in Boring, Oregon.

That is indeed how I felt. I didn’t want to leave! In fact, when given the choice of going out to a restaurant for dinner of staying in the garden surrounded by trees with a picnic of leftovers you can guess what I chose to do!

A highlight of our tour-at-dusk was Nancy’s flashlight-led visit to the stone barn behind the rows of trees. This two-story structure was once the headquarters for Compton’s Dahlias, a commercial dahlia bulb farm owned by Nancy’s aunt and uncle. Wooden trays, retro-style packing boxes and other vestiges of the flower farm made me almost wish she could trade trees for dahlias.

The next morning, I set out to meet photographer Laurie Black and her husband Mark King to shoot profiles of two garden artisans for a feature that will run in Country Gardens magazine next year. I’ll give you a peek about those locations in my next July recap post.