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. Here I also run my webshop clausdalby.dk
The garden, which has been the central point in a number of tv-programs, 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.
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 …
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.
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.
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.
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.
To me, my house and my garden form one unit, and the two worlds reflect each other.
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.
Here are no white walls …
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.
When we moved here, I was no gardener at all.
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?
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.
To have created a garden like mine makes me incredible happy and proud …
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.
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.
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.
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.
My latest room in the garden is the Container Kitchen Garden which saw the light of day in 2020 behind the Victorian green house…
When we moved here, there was a swimming pool close to the forest. It must have been a nice spot, when the pool was built…
Even though this is not an actual garden room, it is still a room in the garden. The outdoor kitchen lies behind the house…