Hello and welcome to Chaotic Gardening! The purpose of this website is to provide inspiration and ideas for connecting people to nature. As an ethnobotanist, I am particularly concerned about the loss of knowledge of our natural surroundings. In my own life, I make these connections in myriad ways, reflected partly in the writings of these pages. Some of these examples were chosen specifically for their cultural connection to the state in which I formerly resided (South Carolina). I enjoy thinking about how people figured out the often complex processes necessary for creating things (food, fiber, dye, etc.) with plants. To help this generation of people connect, I use contemporary knowledge of science to explain these processes and the cultural context in which they occurred.
Strict horticulturists might be disappointed in the lack of ‘gardening’ information. For the purposes of this site, I define gardening as the act of cultivating connections to nature with the idea that this relationship often begins with plant material. The most robust connections are found utilizing native plants. Natives have long evolved adaptations and relationships with pollinators, herbivores and many more for a life connected to the whole of the natural world. However, you’ll notice that I am a proponent of using non-native plants, too-but, the overwhelming majority in my home landscape are natives. And though I’ve just mentioned organisms and relationships as though they were separate from humans, you’ll find plenty of the Nature:Human connections in these pages. After all, we need our nested, non-linear complex systems for resilience!!
Be sure to visit my other webpages and blogs as listed above under “Other thoughts”. Connect with my professional efforts on outreach education about gardening and becoming a naturalist under “Professional places”. For a little fun, connect with some of my favorite people, under "Friends".
The phrase, “Chaotic Gardening” emerged as the theme for a conference on native plants in the home landscape (in 2002), given by the SC Foothills Chapter of the “Wild Ones”. See ‘Chaos’ for more information.
Lotus spp. with unidentified beetle, Karen C. Hall © 2008.