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Gardener shares pictures of thriving late-May garden featuring ground cover: 'I've worked to intentionally bridge the gap'

"It's nice to see so much lush native vegetation!"

"It’s nice to see so much lush native vegetation!"

Photo Credit: iStock

April showers may bring May flowers, but only if you're careful to plant the right seeds, as one gardener on Reddit did.

"Middle to late May is a bit of a down time for many gardens, but I've worked to intentionally bridge the gap from spring (ephemerals, etc.) to summer (coneflowers, etc.)," said the experienced gardener in a post on r/NativePlantGardening. They then shared half a dozen photos of their garden in May, when it's full of pink, purple, white, and red blossoms.

"It's nice to see so much lush native vegetation!"
Photo Credit: Reddit
"It's nice to see so much lush native vegetation!"
Photo Credit: Reddit

"Shade spots have a combination of downy wood mint, lyreleaf sage, and wood poppy that's still blooming sporadically," the original poster explained.

They then went on to name the other flowers visible, including smooth phlox, Eastern bluestar, bowman's root, Alleghany serviceberry, foxglove, long-sepaled beardtongue, Eastern beebalm, wild Columbine, and coral honeysuckle.

"Fourth image shows the [wild] strawberry carpet with milkweeds and bee balm happily growing through it," they added, referring to their ground cover.

Growing a diverse mix of native species instead of a traditional grass lawn has many benefits. Just as this gardener illustrated, there's always something blooming, even in months that are traditionally slow in other gardens. All those flowers feed pollinators like bees and butterflies, and some plants — like the strawberries, of course — can feed people.

Meanwhile, native plants need less water than grass, and you won't have to mow them to keep them in check. Even converting part of your lawn can save you time and money.

Commenters were enthusiastic about this gardener's results. 

"I love this!" said one user. "I only got into shade garden plants this year because my eco region is mostly full-on sun, so it's nice to see so much lush native vegetation!" They followed up by asking for more details on the original poster's mint plants, since that's a plant that can sometimes take over garden spaces.

"The mint was started from seed two years ago," the original poster replied. "Back then, I was looking for aggressive options to fill in a tough spot at the base of my pin oak. So far it's mingling with everyone without outcompeting, but it's early."

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