Cultivating Chaos

How to Enrich Landscapes with Self-Seeding Plants

By Jonas Reif Christian Kress Jurgen Becker

Self-seeding plants can create naturalistic gardens of great charm, but left to their own devices quickly spiral out of control. Maintaining the balance of plants so that a small number of robust species do not evict the others and developing the structure of the garden are important techniques to acquire. Taking inspiration from the gardens of Christopher Lloyd, Derek Jarman and Henk Gerritsen, Cultivating Chaos teaches how to prepare your soil for improved germination, guide your planting as it evolves, and create different ecological niches from which will emerge beautiful, species-rich gardens. 

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Christian Kress

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Jurgen Becker

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Review quotes
“An unusual, thought-provoking approach to horticulture.” —Booklist

“This book is a great resource for gardeners willing to think outside the plot.” —Publishers Weekly

“This thought-provoking and lavishly illustrated book shows you how you can use prolific self-seeding plants to create an attractive, naturalistic and free-flowing style of gardening.” —The Daily Mail

“Finely illustrated and inspirational and encourages gardeners to embrace the anarchic ways of self-sowing plants. . . . a rousing call to arms on behalf of a naturalistic style of gardening.” —Gardens Illustrated

“Informative and inspirational. . . . this book deserves a place by the bed and in the potting shed.” —The English Garden

“A lively and encouraging guide to creating self-seeding landscape.” —Landscape Architecture Magazine

“A great deal of practical advice for the home gardener. . . . For those who are curious about starting a self-seeding garden, Chaos offers detailed instructions about planning, implementation, and maintenance. As a bonus, if you’re craving a holiday to European gardens and want to leave today, Cultivating Chaos is your ticket to beautiful plantings and inspiring plant combinations.” —NYBG's Plant Talk

“A handsome and informative guide” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Through case studies of gardens across Europe and North America, Jonas Reif and Christian Kress make a compelling argument for gardens with autonomy. Their in-depth practical advice and lists of ideal plants may inspire even the most skeptical readers to include a few chaotic specimens in their planting plans.” —The American Gardener

“Self-seeding plants offer quick color and a low long-term investment. . . . Authors Jonas Reif, Christian Kress, and Jürgen Becker provide readers with 200 inspirational design photos, tips to improve the soil and a guide to the best self-seeding plants, sites and conditions for maintaining this type of species-rich garden.” —Garden Gate
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Publication date
August 12, 2015