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

By Jonas Reif, Christian Kress, and Jürgen Becker

Foreword by Noel Kingsbury

A rousing call to arms on behalf of a naturalistic style of gardening.

Gardens Illustrated

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.

Media reviews

"A lively and encouraging guide to creating self-seeding landscape."

Landscape Architecture

"An unusual, thought-provoking approach to horticulture."


"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."

Daily Mail

"Finely illustrated and inspirational, it 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

"A great resource for gardeners willing to think outside the plot."

Publishers Weekly

"Informative and inspirational ... this book deserves a place by the bed and in the potting shed."

English Garden

About the authors

Jonas Reif

Jonas Reif is an experimental landscape designer who designs vibrant, varied plantings for both private gardens and city parks.

Read more about Jonas Reif

Christian Kress

Christian Kress is the owner of Sarastro Perennials nursery in Austria, one of the most respected nurseries in central Europe.

Read more about Christian Kress

Jürgen Becker

Jürgen Becker is a successful international garden photographer. He trained at the Academy of Art in Düsseldorf and has won Garden Media Guild awards for his work.

Read more about Jürgen Becker

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