I’m very lucky to live in Portland, Oregon, where there are beautiful gardens everywhere. Really, everywhere! And there are great organizations here that allow you to tour lots of them, like the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, which issues a booklet to its members with dozens gardens open throughout most of the growing season. And anybody can become a member for just $35/year.
I’ve seen some truly wonderful, and exceptionally diverse gardens by participating in the HPSO tours (and other tours), and often walk away having been inspired and having connected with great gardeners in my area. And I plan to share what inspires me from these tours here.
As I gear up for the growing season ahead and start to think about what I want to change in our garden, I think back on the container plantings I did last season and what I want to repeat, and where I’d like to try something new. In looking for inspiration, I often look back at the photos I’ve taken on those garden tours, and one garden frequently stands out with inspiration for beautiful containers: the garden of JJ & José De Sousa.
I’ve visited this garden twice, and got to meet JJ & José the first time. They are incredibly gracious hosts and are happy to talk gardening with you. In addition to the great structure of their garden, where they have everything from full shade to baking sun, grade changes, multiple eating & lounging areas, garden buildings and a spectacular plant collection (all on a regulation-size city lot!), they also use color (especially orange) and containers to great effect. The garden has an other-worldly feeling, as if you’ve left your normal situation and entered somewhere that exists outside of space & time; partly tropical, partly desert, all fun.
They use containers in groups, as stand-alone focal points, and to decorate vertical surfaces. And each time it’s compelling:
JJ De Sousa is the owner of the great garden and lifestyle shop Digs Inside & Out here in Portland.