Cultivating Chaos: How to Enrich Landscapes with Self-Seeding Plants (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

I love the happy accidents that occur in the garden like flowers growing through cracks, big healthy poppies that show up unexpectedly. This book embraces the power of self-sowers and shows gardeners how to encourage and promote self-seeding beauties. — Carrie Chalmers


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. 

About the Author

Jonas Reif is the editor-in-chief of the German gardening magazine Gartenpraxis and lives in Zeuthen near Berlin. An adventurous landscape architect and passionate hobby gardener, Reif is constantly creating new approaches to lively, diverse plantings in municipal parks as well as in his own garden.

Christian Kress is the proprietor of the plant nursery Sarastro-Stauden, located in Ort im Innkreis, Austria, one of today’s most important nurseries for gardening aficionados in central Europe. Kress trained as an ornamental gardener, studied to be a horticultural technician and has completed internships in several different countries. In addition to his plant-breeding work, where he has developed many of his own varieties, Kress is well known for the numerous articles he has authored and his highly respected newsletter.

Jurgen Becker lives in Hilden, Germany and is one of the most successful garden photographers in the world. His photographs have been published in a multitude of calendars, books and renowned magazines. Becker began his career as a freelance photographer after studying at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. He has received several international awards for his work, including “Photographer of the Year” (2010 and 2012) from the Garden Media Guild in London.

Praise For…

“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

Product Details
ISBN: 9781604696523
ISBN-10: 1604696524
Publisher: Timber Press
Publication Date: August 12th, 2015
Pages: 192
Language: English
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