Lavender border at Joy Creek Nursery, Scappoose, Oregon

With just over a week until I leave for New York to launch my new book, combined with shooting a new book on lavender, it’s shaping up to be a busy summer.

If you’ve never published a book, it’s hard to imagine how much work goes into a project. Once the photos and manuscript are completed, there is the edit and design phase, followed by printing. Some authors refer to the process as akin to birthing a baby.

Right now, the biggest anxiety for me lies with getting books in hand for the preview party, which is followed by a nursery book signing and back-to-back talks. Books are due in the warehouse on Monday, and will not be in the general pipeline yet.

Cover for my new book, Saratoga in Bloom

Timing a book launch is tricky. You have to plan everything out–reserving venues, setting up media–months in advance, while hoping that the books will actually arrive from the printer exactly when you need them. Since most books are printed and shipped from Asia, that process is even trickier. If events are planned too early, books won’t be available. Too late, and the initial buzz will have worn off. I am hoping and crossing my fingers for “just right.”

I have been posting regular entries about my book on my new Facebook page at this address: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Saratoga-in-Bloom/125086587505147


Despite my best intentions, my blog has been sorely neglected these past few months. I hope to make up for it in the coming days and weeks as I launch my new book, “Saratoga in Bloom” and begin shooting for a new book on lavender. It will be a busy summer, but I look forward to many new and exciting photo ops.

Columbine from my garden

Calla lily in my garden

I’ve been busy learning all the ins and outs of social media and internet marketing, and created a new website from scratch. Because I knew nothing about website design, I had to learn from the ground up. I just posted my new site at www.loughreyphoto.com. It has lots of new features and I will now be able to update it regularly. My next step is to build an online webstore that will be linked to my site where people can buy prints, calendars and other versions of my work.

The Winter In Bloom

The mansion at the Bishop's Close

After our record-breaking cold in December, January has shaped up to be the second-warmest on record in Portland. The temperatures have been above average every day this month, so there are many plants already in bloom.

I spent some time this week at my favorite local winter garden, the Elk Rock Gardens of the Bishop’s Close (http://www.diocese-oregon.org/theclose/), located in the Dunthorpe neighborhood of southwest Portland. The thirteen-acre estate, originally owned by Peter Kerr, was given to the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon in 1959. Designed by noted American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the six acres of gardens consist of a diverse mix of mature trees, shrubs and flowers, many imported from Kerr’s native Scotland. Unusual and modern cultivars have been added in recent years. The estate was a featured garden at the 2008 national Garden Writer’s conference.

The gardens are best in winter and spring. The bloom season begins in January with the witch hazels (Hamamellis), viburnums (V. bodnantense, V. farreri) and sweet box (Sarcococca). Providing a much-welcomed burst of color, many of these winter-blooming shrubs are also intensely fragrant.

Witch hazel (H. 'Jalena') enclosed by formal hedging.

A viburnum (V. bodnantense 'Dawn') frames the cheerful blooms of winter aconite.

Other plants I found in bloom this week include snowdrops (Galanthus), Corsican hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius), winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis), naturalized crocus, dwarf iris (I. reticulata) and bergenia (B. cordifolia). Paper bush (Edgeworthia chrysantha) and later hellebores (H. orientalis hybrids) are just starting to flower. Golden ‘Chief Joseph’ pine (Pinus contorta ‘Chief Joseph’) and the blue berries and red stems of David’s Viburnum (V. davidii) offer additional color. I’ll include more images in my next post.

A witch hazel is draped with elegant green moss.

Snowdrops (Galanthus) are among the earliest bulbs to bloom.

Welcome to my new blog!

Greetings to all of you, as I launch my first blog. For those who don’t know me, I am a freelance garden photographer and writer (http://www.loughreyphoto.com) located in Portland, Oregon, in the heart of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. My work has been published in many magazines, books, catalogs and paper products across North America and Europe.

I have stayed busy the past couple of years transitioning from film to digital photography, while simultaneously working on my new book, “Saratoga In Bloom” (published by Down East Books, May 2010). Meanwhile, social media has exploded. All of a sudden, I find myself standing amidst a complex cyber world filled with blogging, linking, networking, friending, texting, Facebook, and Twittering, and I’m trying to figure it all out. So this blog is a place to start.

The first signs of spring are already beginning to show here in Oregon. My hellebores are starting to bloom, and my daphne has developed fat buds just waiting to burst.  While I’m putting the finishing touches on my new book, I am also trying to learn all I can about social networking and reaching out to new audiences. This is an exciting time for artists, as we have the potential for our creative efforts to literally be seen by a worldwide audience. It is a prospect I find at once daunting and exhilarating.

I hope you will stay tuned as I embark on this new journey.

Hellebores, Portland, Oregon, January 22.

The hellebores are starting to bloom in Portland, so Spring can't be far away.