Text by Bethany Adams
As the frost sets in, gardeners all over the globe are cutting back, bringing inside, and settling in for a season of what Danish garden expert Claus Dalby calls “armchair gardening.” Winter is the perfect time to dive into research and plan a garden space that will provide stunning views all the way through next fall. To help with that, Claus’s latest book, Containers in the Garden, provides 176 pages of expert insight and inspiring photography designed to help you look ahead and plan for the year to come.
In his fourth book on potted gardens, Claus highlights the virtues of container gardening and the unique advantages it can lend to your outdoor space. Whether you’re a veteran or new to the craft, cultivating your blooms in planters and pots allows for quicker, easier arranging, meaning you can create and recreate your dream garden without the typical challenges of traditional landscaping. And while potted gardens present their own challenges, Claus is here to help.
The book outlines step-by-step instructions on caring for terra-cotta planters, selecting quality soil, and growing from seeds and bulbs—including watering, fertilizing, and protecting from pests—before diving into varied displays that show the fruits of Claus’s labor. Rather than dividing the content into larger categories, Claus leads readers on a guided tour through the rambling paths and curated sections of his own garden, sharing insight and examples as he goes.
You’ll soon find that color is a major player no matter the season, and he shares plenty of his favorite floral varieties in every shade—from the dramatic ‘Queen of the Night’ tulip to the ‘Cirrus White’ Texas sage, and every rust orange, blushing pink, dusty blue, and lively green in between. And it isn’t just beautiful blooms, as you’ll also find both classic and unexpected foliage choices to support your floral selections.
Find guidance on the nuances of combining colors, suggestions for which flowers make good companions for the ever-popular dahlia, and side-by-side comparisons of displays at different stages throughout the year. With enough planning and careful consideration of plant varieties, Claus shows how your garden can be an ever-developing spectacle that shines in different ways as the season progresses. While the snow covers the ground outside, there’s no better time to cozy up with a new read and plan for the days ahead.