Visit to Digs Inside & Out garden shop in Portland

When I heard that JJ De Sousa’s garden was on the itinerary for the Portland Garden Bloggers Fling, I excitedly planned a double-dose of her colorful, creative, offbeat style by arranging to visit her home-and-garden shop Digs Inside & Out.

Located on trendy Alberta Street (where my husband and I, pre-Fling, enjoyed a delicious lunch at Bollywood Theater PDX and dessert at Salt & Straw), Digs beckons with an eclectic and colorful assortment of tables, chairs, containers, and strangely beautiful accessories.

Take these light-bulb-head baby sconces, for example. Have you ever seen anything like them? Me neither. In fact, I was so fascinated by the store’s offerings that David had to seek refuge in a bar down the street while I poked around.

I could have brought home any number of chairs and pots — they were all wonderful. (I already own one of the vertically ridged pots, in red, which I picked up at Redenta’s in Dallas.)

Check out this wall display. Here’s what I lusted after at Digs: a tentacled squid planter!

How weirdly wonderful! Don’t they make you smile? I stared at them, wondering if I could bring myself to splurge on one and pondering how I could get it home. Update: These are made by Phoenix artist Diana Moulds (thanks, Jennifer, for the info).

While I thought it over, I kept browsing. JJ clearly loves orange! And doesn’t the wriggly snake picture remind you of the squid planters?

There was a definite goth element to the store, with its black-painted walls, writhing squids and snakes, skulls…

…baby heads…

…and ghostly ceramic hands outstretched on shelves throughout the store.

I liked this green-framed console with a natural, wood-plank shelf.

And the agave pillow and dusky purple chairs.

And the colorful metal hearts on the wall.

Well, everything, really.

Did I get myself a squid planter, you may be wondering? Yes, I did! I bought a tabletop version in blue that I could pack home in my bag, and it’s sitting in my living room in wriggly-legged splendor.

I can’t wait to show you JJ’s personal garden, in which you’ll recognize a number of items from her shop. She obviously buys what she loves.

Up next: A tour of the display gardens at bucolic Joy Creek Nursery and Cistus. For a look back at the Lan Su Chinese Garden, our first garden stop on the Fling, click here.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

35 Responses

  1. Rebecca says:

    SO looking forward to seeing JJ’s personal garden! And I agree–the squid planters ARE strangely irresistible.

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Gosh, I think you showed great restraint by not blowing your entire budget in this place. Wonderful items…

  3. Gina Harlow says:

    Love the squid planters!

  4. Alison says:

    I saw JJ’s garden last year on a trip to Portland, and it was really fabulous. I knew she had a store, but I didn’t realize how much it mirrored her personal style in the garden. Haven’t been to Digs yet, but…now I just gotta go. And I have a feeling it will be an expensive trip.

  5. I didn’t make to JJ’s store, and I’m very glad you did. Lots of cool stuff, even for a guy like me who typically isn’t into home and garden decor. I would have loved to buy some of those tall skinny planters JJ had aeniums in; they reminded me a termite mounds.

  6. I am SO happy you posted this! I didn’t get time to visit this amazing store and will make a point NOT to miss it when I go back in August. (She says clutching her credit card ;-)

  7. Cheryl says:

    I will be heading up to Portland in September…. This is #1 on my places I must visit! WANT a squid (or octopus?) planter!

  8. TexasDeb says:

    Me gusta mucho! Now THAT is a store that would be right home in Austin don’t you agree? Happy to hear the highly coveted squid planter traveled well. The only thing sadder than not getting one at all would have been having it break on the way home! I’m looking forward to you posting a photo of it in play.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Deb, why oh why don’t we have stores like this in Austin already? Or like Redenta’s in Dallas? Or Potted in L.A.? I love our garden shops but would love to see some higher-end, hip and funky options too. —Pam

      • TexasDeb says:

        Well, maybe some of us should start one! Any better excuse you can think of to make shopping trips near and far?

        • Pam/Digging says:

          Haha, oh no, I don’t want to be tied to a store. (My sister owned a home furnishings store for a while, so I know what’s involved.) But I’d love it if YOU did, Deb. ;-) —Pam

  9. Jean says:

    Oh you lucky dog, you! I wish I had gone there. So many things I would have liked. I could probably do without the light-bulb-headed baby doll sconces, though. :-)

  10. Kris P says:

    I can’t say the baby body parts hold much appeal for me but I loved many of the other items on sale – those squid/octopus pots, the agave pillow, the alligator bookends…

    • Pam/Digging says:

      No one likes the baby heads — haha. They’re a little creepy, aren’t they? But oh so fun, especially in concert with everything else. —Pam

  11. Denise says:

    I had a late flight Monday and was tempted to rent a car and head over to Digs — but since I already had to ship my clothes home by UPS I came to my senses and changed to an earlier flight. I tell you, Portland can instigate all kinds of crazy! Love that green-legged table too. Her shop would be at home in Venice Beach as well as Austin.

  12. I am sorry I missed this darling shoppe! I will have to put it on my list for my next trip to Portland!

  13. ricki says:

    I loved getting to spend some time with you at the Fling. This is a great taste of JJ’s aesthetic. The store has expanded since the last time I was there. Must get back there soon.

  14. Ragna says:

    I loved looking at the selection of weird and wonderful furniture and accessories. Thank you. Now somebody needs to plant a squid agave in the squid pot … ;-)

  15. Peter/Outlaw says:

    We visited JJ’s shop on Monday and I also lusted after one of the squid planters but didn’t get one. Those baby sconces also called my name. Instead I got a few other interesting things and something to give my gardening friend who had been watering my pots during my absence. What a great store! It’s a good thing that it’s not closer or I’d spend way too much money there!

  16. How lucky am I to live nearby and stop in anytime on a whim? Yes very. Glad you made it there Pam.

  17. […] all over? The stylishly mod yet playful garden of JJ De Sousa, that’s what. Owner of Digs Inside & Out home-and-garden shop, which I visited pre-Fling, JJ has an enviable talent for creating inviting, colorful garden rooms, […]