Cultivating chaos How to enrich landscapes with self-seeding plants

Jonas Reif

Book - 2015

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 i...t evolves, and create different ecological niches from which will emerge beautiful, species-rich gardens.

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Portland, Oregon : Timber Press 2015.
English language edition
Physical Description
189 pages : colour illustrations ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 178-179) and index.
Main Author
Jonas Reif (author)
Other Authors
Christian Kress (author), Jürgen Becker (photographer), Noël Kingsbury (writer of foreword)
Review by Booklist Review

Many are dismayed by chaos in their gardens, but Reif and Kress show that wildness can become an acquired taste. The advantages of self-seeding plants include quick results, vividly colored flowers, and low expense, though the more robust species of volunteers need some taming, or their encroachment makes garden maintenance too exhausting. From images of an enchanting English country garden in Sussex to hollyhocks on the walls of Denmark's roadside houses, the book's richly detailed color photographs show the exuberant varieties at their best and indicate that planning and intervention, with particular awareness of certain dangerous plants (e.g., such non-native invasives as Himalayan balsalm), are key. Sections on planting preparation, including soil improvement; site transformation, including soil pH; and design and maintenance strategies for a desired balance, including repositionings of container-grown plants for wider seed dispersal, complement the detailed discussion of specific plants' attributes, An appendix lists nurseries and further reading. An unusual, thought-provoking approach to horticulture.--Scott, Whitney Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Rational gardeners spy self-seeding flowers (spiderwort, loosestrife, Korean rock fern) and run for the hoe, but landscape designer Reif and Kress, owner of Sarastro Perennials nursery in Austria, persuade the panicky to rethink these so-called invaders. They reason that under careful policing, a garden with self-seeding plants can be made artful with rivers of repeated plantings. Becker's photos of bountiful, lush gardens with waves of colors easily substantiate this claim. The authors further convert readers to their experimental approach by discussing the advantages of gardening with self-seeders (quick results, inexpensive, suitable for beginners, etc.). They also address the life spans of a variety of annuals, biennials, and short- and long-lived perennials, and discuss preparation of lots and plots, including raising and lowering the pH of the soil as needed. Among instructions and strategies are profiles of gardeners and gardens, and an annotated list of self-seeders. This book is a great resource for gardeners willing to think outside the "plot". Photos. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved