Thursday, October 23, 2014

Garden Blogger's Fling, Portland: JJ De Sousa's Garden

The garden of JJ De Sousa is something special. JJ is not only a fab gardener but also the owner of Portland's Digs Inside and Out, a boutique for garden and home. As her home garden was a stop on this year's Garden Blogger's Fling, we should definitely take a look around. 

As when I also cheated a bit with my Joy Creek Nursery post in relation to the Fling, I was not actually at JJ's garden for the tour. The day the Fling descended upon her garden, they were also descending on Chickadee Gardens. Luckily, JJ opens her gardens from time to time for the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon's open gardens, so I took advantage of that opportunity and visited on a hot summer's day with only a few other people around. 


The front garden is shady and hides surprises beyond in the sunny garden.
The front gate at the curb gives a hint of what's to come, a vibrant garden with orange accents everywhere. It's no surprise she chose orange. After all JJ is Dutch and well, they are the Orange People in that orange is their national color. We have a strong affection for the Dutch. Go Netherlands!!


Shady hostas, ferns, Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' grass and begonias all make for a lush shade garden. The front of the house faces west, but is blocked by very large evergreen trees, so it likely doesn't see a lot of sun.


This is when I fell in love with a rhododendron, right here. I ended up purchasing a Rhododendron pachysanthum from Gossler Farms. I am not sure what this species is so feel free to chime in - I bought what I thought was a close match and I'm very happy with my R. pachysanthum.


JJ has seating everywhere, which is intentional. She told me that her garden can comfortably seat 66 people, that's a great party garden on a slightly larger than normal Portland lot at 77 x 127 feet (most are 50 x 100, as is ours at Chickadee Gardens).


The steps to the front door are flanked on either side with colorful orange accents, begonias, ferns and fuchsias.








The path on the south side leads to sunshine in the back.


Like an explosion of fireworks, bursts of color in plant material, pots, cushions and garden art dominate in this hot setting. Orange may be the predominant color, but there are hints of reds, greens and blues.


  Deluxe seating area. The material on these sofas is made for the outdoors so is durable and I'm sure expensive, but if you entertain a lot it's worth it. JJ encourages others buy the best quality as you get what you pay for when it comes to outdoor furnishings. It lasts longer so doesn't end up getting thrown out, one less thing tossed into the landfill pile.


Looking up from the seating area (pictured above) is this upper level deck with a table, seating for many and these two red illuminated pots. Yes, that's right, what I wouldn't give to see them at night. In fact, garden writer Janet Loughrey has an article in this quarter's Garden Design magazine with her photos of JJ's garden illuminated at night, see the article here





The hardscaping is contemporary and horizontally oriented, so there is a feeling of cohesiveness to the space. Along the gravel path are a series of olive trees and hydrangeas, not what I would think to put together but they work. In my next garden I will have olive trees, JJ has inspired.


Agaves, sedums and nasturtiums, an eclectic mix.


The corrugated metal fence continues around to the east side of the garden with more olive trees to line the perimeter.


More horizontal accents and corrugated metal siding. The garden room has not been forgotten when it comes to design and details carried across to every aspect of the garden.


Here you can see the blue accents on her home. This is a very European-style home in its brick construction and color accents for the windows. In fact, JJ told me she was drawn to this home in part because of its European feel. The blue window frames play off of the orange of the bricks - complimentary colors that subtly activate the space. This is true of terra cotta colors mixed with turquoise - two complimentary colors in tints and shades.





These chicken nesting boxes are now filled with hens and chicks. Clever.


With a multitude of influences it feels fun, exuberant and welcoming.






Now facing north, the metal fencing continues. Agaves and orange repeated throughout also helps to tie it all together. Behind the wooden fence to the right is a lovely greenhouse. 


She has a mix of garden art from all over the world, no one single theme and that allows her a broad range of possibilities to personalize her garden. 


Repeat patterns add rhythm, a constant beat which cuts through confusion and unifies the garden.


JJ told me that when she found the house, it was slated for demolition. She loved it, saw its potential and bought it. The size is small, just right for her to allow the garden and its outdoor rooms to take center stage.




Even ordinary street signs become points of interest when seen out of context.


The pocket wall garden is a nice touch, an easy way to have an instant vertical garden.
I imagine she sells them at Digs Inside and Out.


View from the upper garden looking south and east.


Now facing south and west. 


Our Lady of Guadalupe.






There is a good amount of metal art---I believe this is by a Portland artist. JJ carries a lot of interesting treasures at her store like this. If you are in the Portland area and have a chance to go, it's a really fun store.


Facing east we see the garden shed, and just visible on the right, the upper deck with a good-sized dining table.



When grasses get this large, they become architecture. Stunning.


Facing west, the sweet little house.







 Around every corner is another welcoming seating area.


 I believe this is a former chimney turned into a planter. 


More metal garden art. I spy some holiday lights behind this fishy, I imagine he sparkles when the sun goes down.


Arctostaphylos trained as standards - I saw these at Xera Plants recently, but I think JJ may have done this herself.


When I saw this garden for the first time, I had no words for it I was so overwhelmed. It's true, JJ lives and breathes decoration, design and gardening and so has access to some fantastic furnishings, decor and plants. Beyond the sparkle, however, there are really strong bones to this garden as well as a definite focus on entertaining. She obviously considered what she wanted this garden to be, that is to say an entertaining wonderland full of her personality. She maintained certain aesthetics throughout, repeated color themes and plays with color and complimentary colors (blue and orange, red and green for example). Her plant choices are appropriate for each microclimate (with the help of a greenhouse, I suspect) and I'm sure this garden evolved over a long period of time. The lesson for me is to be true to my own vision and really work at having one. JJ's personality shines brightly here and I for one am inspired.

Thank you for reading and until next week, happy gardening!

26 comments :

  1. I loved all the color in that garden -- and in yours! What a great Fling. I was inspired by so many different elements in all the gardens. Your shed is adorable, with all your special touches.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a great Fling! Thank you for your kind words, and for reading and commenting. Her colors are great, and every garden was an inspiration indeed.

      Delete
  2. Ahh brings back so many lovely memories! And this garden is one of the most fun gardens we've ever been to :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good! I'm glad..that's the joy of having these photos to share when the days get a little darker and wetter. It is a fab garden, so glad you guys got a chance to see it.

      Delete
  3. I did not get to see JJ's garden this year, despite several attempts for us to get together. Thank you for the tour, it always changes year to year and I am happy to see this years incarnation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, darn! Well, there's next year...you're welcome for the tour!

      Delete
  4. I really enjoyed this extensive post about JJ's garden. I've seen it twice now, and each time it was subtly different. I love all her fun touches, and the way her personality comes through. Very appropriate to post about all that orange and black now, just before Halloween.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good, Alison, I am glad you enjoyed it! Her touches and personality totally make this space one of the most special I have seen, and glad you caught my subtle orange push just before Halloween....cheers!

      Delete
  5. I was so inspired by JJ's garden during the Fling. I loved the many garden rooms (yes, I used that phrase!), humor, color, and fantastic plants softened by billowing shrubs like common hydrangeas. What an experience to see it, but I'd love to see it after dark, all aglow. And after seeing all her seating areas I came straight home and added a couple more to my own garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, good! Humor, for sure and color? Vibrant. If I ever do get a chance to see it after dark I will certainly share those photos, Garden Design has a couple of good ones from the link I posted. She's an inspiration, as are you Pam!

      Delete
  6. I missed this garden on the Fling (yours too!) but this was such a great view of the details, I don't feel so badly about it now. I love some of that metal art -- it has inspired me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thank yo Alan :) Glad you got some enjoyment out of the photos and details. JJ's choices of art are very good, I do believe - glad you found some inspiration.

      Delete
  7. JJ is a party girl, so it felt appropriate and fun to see it with a mob of flingers. You had the advantage of sight lines we could never dream of. It's like seeing it as a high-end magazine spread. Delightful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Party on, party on! Yes, I did have a good opportunity to photograph without the mob that we all are. Yay! Thank you for your kind words, Rickii!

      Delete
  8. Especially nice to tour JJ's wonderful and vibrant garden on this rainy and gray Portland day. Thanks for the sun-break!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome Darcy, glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for commenting and reading...I will turn to all my sunny orange photos a lot more in the coming months, to be sure - I think we'll all be doing that :)

      Delete
  9. What a great garden, I loved it! thanks for this new tour through it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so welcome, Lisa! Thanks for reading and touring with me again!

      Delete
  10. What an absolutely stunning garden and collection of plants! Love the bright colours throughout, and I want that outdoor sofa.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, that sofa is incredible. If I could afford one, believe me. Bright colors rule!

      Delete
  11. It's great to see yet another collection of photos of this garden - and the details you chose to show. This is one garden I'm sorry I wasn't able to see by missing the Fling (among many)! When I was out there a couple months afterwards, I should at least done a drive-by! Now I'm off to see the photos of this garden at night...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are a lot of photos out there of her garden, Jim - to be sure, so thanks for your kind words about mine. If you are in town again during summer we can let you know when she'll have another open garden - perhaps you can join one of us! Cheers!

      Delete
  12. so glad you had it almost to yourself to point your camera everywhere. It really is a one-of-a-kind garden. JJ has the spatial sensitivity of a cat!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, I was quite spoiled...apparently a whole mob had been there the majority of the day before I arrived, so I tried to leave JJ in peace to eat her lunch. Good description of JJ's spacial sensitivity! The cats approve.

      Delete
  13. Pretty cool. The colors and overall space reminds me of your garden.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting JJ's garden here through your amazing photos. So interesting to see the garden through your lens, and the views you captured. Great shots of an incredible garden.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comments! I love hearing them, I will approve comments as soon as I can. Yay!