Welcome to my world

My name is Claus Dalby, and I am probably best known for my garden in Risskov in the suburbs of Aarhus. The garden, which has been the central point in a number of tv-shows, has also been portrayed in magazines and media across the world.

Besides being a gardener, I am also a publisher, photographer and author. To date I have written more than thirty books about flowers and gardens. And in March 2022 my first English book, Containers in the Garden, was published.

To design and decorate has always been a great interest of mine, and I really like to create cosy and personal environments both indoors and outside. I am not easy to categorise. On the one hand I have a maximalist approach and surround myself with a lot of things, but I also enjoy the more simple style. I do not actually think that one excludes the other.
All the items available at Claus Dalby Home & Garden reflect my own style, and I enjoy combining items across genres. I am fond of many different styles, and I am particularly passionate about working with colour.

My aim is to inspire, and I add new products from both home and abroad all the time.

COSINESS (DANISH HYGGE)

It is deeply embedded in me to create cosy and personal environments …

… and I see myself as a connoisseur of beauty. Ever since I was a child, I have always been fascinated by beautiful things. Already at a young age, my parents allowed me to take the bus to the centre of Copenhagen, where I visited shops such as Den Permanente, Illums Bolighus and Panduro Hobby.

Ever since I was a child, I have always been fascinated by beautiful things. Already at a young age, my parents allowed me to take the bus to the centre of Copenhagen, where I visited shops such as Den Permanente, Illums Bolighus and Panduro Hobby.

The last shop mentioned I particularly liked to visit, because it has always appealed to me to make things with my hands. As a result, I have written several books on how to decorate for Easter and Christmas, just I am the author behind a number of books on flower arranging and flower decorations. All published by my own publishing company Klematis, where design and hobby books have been a strong niche since the mid 80s.
I love to share, and I am incredibly happy and proud that people all over the world follow my creative world on medias such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Here I talk about not only my garden, but also about how to make bouquets, how to set creative tables and decorate for Christmas.

Old English

I am no designer, and yet I have a good graphic eye. I even do the layout on my own books. And if I am put together with an experienced designer, I have a very clear opinion on what a product should look like.

A very good example of this was when, in 2014, I collaborated with Holmegaard’s chief designer Magnus Jørgensen and created a series of vases and bowls called Old English. With their spacious bowls, slender necks and wide rims, the vases are made for bouquets that are given space to unfold.
Furthermore, the foot adds a certain character, recognisable from old English flower vases. Hence the name… The bowls work really well filled with bulbs or with flower heads floating on a little bit of water.

Flowers and bouquets

One of the fantastic things about my garden is that it enables me to pick flowers for bouquets and decorations. It is a huge joy, as nothing really compares to a garden bouquet, and I love the ‘less than perfect’ look that many garden flowers have. This could be in the form of tiny insect bites, slightly crooked stems or other natural occurrences that are not found on industrially grown plants.

Sustainability is also important. We become more and more aware that flowers that come from the other side of the world should be avoided. Therefore, there is every possible reason to create your own cutting garden, where you can pick the flowers that are in season.

Changing seasons

I am so grateful to live in a country, where the seasons change and to be able to feel the variation both in the garden and in the kitchen. When winter draws to a close and I see the budding snowdrops, I am filled with joy; and I feel the same happiness, when for example I serve the first potatoes at the beginning of summer. Cooking is another of my great passions. To gather guests around a beautiful and well set table with courses prepared from seasonal produce is pure cosiness and quality of life.

My style

To me, my house and my garden form one unit, and the two worlds reflect each other.

When I make bouquets and decorations, I do it to bring a little bit of the garden into the house. And on the other hand, I have created several extensions to my home in the shape of an outdoor kitchen and a greenhouse studio, decorated with many of my treasured possessions.

Craft has always had a big place in my heart, and I am particularly fond of decorating with glass and ceramics.

But it is very important for me to stress that I do not only surround myself with expensive, unique pieces. Flea market finds, heirlooms and gifts are also important parts of the story.

As long as I can remember, I have loved to create tableaus – still lifes. Indoors it can be for instance candlesticks, vases and other decorative objects, put together on a tray. Outdoors it is especially through my work with my container displays and the designing of my borders that I have an outlet for my creativity.
THE HOUSE

Here are no white walls …

Our house – a manor house from 1908 – is a stately house built from materials remaining from the building of Marselisborg Palace (the summer and Christmas residence of the Danish royal family), which was completed in 1902. Our house is right next to the forest with a view across Aarhus Bay.

We moved here in 1994, and fairly quickly I began decorating the many beautiful rooms with their high ceilings. From the very beginning I decided to use different colour themes. At that time, people primarily painted their walls white in the Scandinavian style, but as already mentioned I am very fond of colours and the emotions they evoke.

I brought colour swatches with me to London where I bought curtains and upholstery fabric in matching tones, but I also found textiles here in Denmark and in Sweden.
Several of the pieces of furniture, we already had, were reupholstered, but we also bought new pieces – both antique and modern – for I am fond of mixing different styles.
THE STORY OF MY GARDEN

When we moved here, I was no gardener at all.

We bought the house because we needed more space for our publishing company. At the time I did not give the garden much thought and the first year was mostly spent decorating the house.

In 1996 I visited artist Anne Just (1948-2009) in Hune in North Jutland just a few kilometres from the North Sea. I had heard about Anne’s garden and seen quite a few photos. It was clear to me that this was a unique place created by a person with extraordinary creative talents. Perhaps she could write a book?

I visited Anne Just on a warm day in early summer, and my meeting with her changed my life. I was deeply moved by the fact that a garden could be so lush, floriferous and artistic.

We soon agreed that Anne should write a book and that was to be the first of many. But besides having a publishing contract in my bag, I returned home with a newfound interest in gardening.

Anne and I became each other’s best friends, and I became more and more enchanted by gardens and flowers. Travels to England together with Anne further developed my garden style and I really absorbed as much as I could.

When we moved in, the four thousand square meters of land was primarily lawn. Here I had a blank canvas, and I began to establish the garden with great enthusiasm.

A couple of years went by, and I began to realise that the garden lacked shape and structure.


I realised that I needed a professional garden and landscape architect to define a direction. Jane Schul was recommended to me by several people, and I hired her to help me. I mentioned that I would like to get rid of the lawn and have garden rooms of varying sizes. Jane drew the overall lines, and I was very enthusiastic about her suggestions. Hence it is Jane Schuls’ key structural principles that I have continued to build upon over the years.

Later on, I found an indispensable sparring partner in garden and landscape architect Kjeld Slot, who took over where Jane Schul left, when she retired.

I 2002 my first gardening book was published and when Anne Just that same year was encouraged to host a series of gardening programmes for television, she invited me to join. Anne was the creative artist and I assisted as the hands-on gardener. All in all, we made thirty shows entitled ’Haven i Hune’ (The Garden in Hune), and later on I hosted my own programmes.

Anne passed away in 2009, but her garden still exists and is open to the public.

MY GARDEN TODAY

To have created a garden like mine makes me incredible happy and proud …

Today my partitioned garden has reached a level of maturity that I dared not dream of from the beginning. It is a great pleasure to work within a given framework. The hedges keep everything in place, and their height means that you experience the garden at stages and are continuously surprised when you enter into a new room.

The borders

My garden is not static, and the borders are continuously adjusted, particularly where colours are concerned. At the beginning of my gardening life, I worked mostly with monochrome colourways – using a tone-on-tone palette, but today I am not nearly as strict. I work solely from an intuitive sense, and I have never made a planting plan. If something does not turn out as I expected, the plants are moved to a new place in the autumn.

Here it seems appropriate to mention that I by no means manage everything myself. My two gardeners, Birthe and Preben, are totally indispensable. But I am still the head gardener!

The borders have a variety of flowers, with one type playing the main part: narcissi in April/May; tulips and alliums in May/June; peonies and roses in June/July; hydrangeas in July and dahlias in August. All these flowers have characteristic heads. But in every show there must be supporting actors and in the garden these roles are played by the smaller flowers, of which I am particularly fond.

Throughout the entire season I hold flowers and leaves up against each other to see what they look like together. Good combinations are written in a notebook that I always carry with me in the pocket on my apron. In the autumn these ideas are put into practise.

Shapes mean just as much as colours do. Where shape is concerned flowers vary greatly: balls; spires; flowers with flat heads; flowers that form a froth etc. etc. It is therefore important to utilise and combine the unique expressions that the different flowers have. Foliage plants in different hues play a big role in tying everything together.

Containers

A gardening genre that has my particular interest – and one that I have written several books about – is container gardening. And here everybody can participate. It is a style that I have perfected over the years, and I find new combinations and ways of letting the plants complement each other all the time. It is a bit like when I decorate and create still lifes indoors.

The garden rooms

Today there is no lawn left in the garden. And who really needs grass? I do not; and neither do the insects that benefit from all the flowers in the garden. The subsections here give an impression of how the garden rooms and the greenhouses look.