I recently had the opportunity to spend the afternoon in the garden of JJ De Sousa, designer and owner of Digs Inside & Out here in Portland. Wow…wow. So much fun, so much color, so much spiky goodness all packed into one small urban garden. Heaven. These pictures are all of her back garden… JJ carves up space like I’ve never seen anyone do before. Her back garden feels so much bigger than it is because of all the individual spaces she has created. Plus I think she has even more containers in her garden than I do! (a friend started counting the ones on and around my patio one evening, she stopped at 60, and she wasn't even finished). I wish I had been able to suspend myself 20 ft in the air, or climb up on her roof to capture a great overall shot. Luckily I hear her garden has been the subject of several recent photo shoots (Sunset Magainze and the Oregonian Newspaper just to name a couple) so you will be able to see better photos soon I’m sure. One of JJ’s secrets (yikes…I’m giving away her secrets!) is to always have a place in the garden to lay down. You’ve got to be able to enjoy your space, leisurely! (I just barely made the grade on this one since I’ve got two vintage metal loungers…rarely seen in my photos, but ready to roll out of the garage when the weather is right). I complemented her on this gorgeous Mangave 'Macho Mocha' and guess what, it came home with me! Turns out she had fallen out of love with it and didn’t feel like having to buy it a container (it was still in the plastic pot it came in). Her generosity came back around because guess where I went to buy a container! Yep, her store, Digs. I got myself a nice bright orange one! Back out in the front garden the light had changed and there were too many harsh shadows to do the space justice. Luckily I was able to capture this project she was working on when I arrived, transforming these ultra rad vintage chairs from orange to turquoise. That woman knows how to work a spray can let me tell you! The paint job is professional quality. When I asked if these were for her garden, or the shop, she answered “the shop” fairly convincingly. You’d better hurry in and grab them before she has second thoughts and takes them back home! Finally as I was leaving I made sure to take note of her new custom entry gate just beyond the fence… Exactly what you would expect to great visitors to the garden of a woman so creative and colorful right? Thanks JJ for a very memorable afternoon!