SUMMER, NOT FALL, is the best time to order flower bulbs for fall planting (and garlic bulbs, too) to get the best selection, often at an early buyer’s discount price. I focus on animal-proof (or at least resistant) varieties here, like the “rodent-proof” Crocus tommasinianus, above, that as you can see really lived up to their promise of fending off predators. What a gorgeous display! All kidding aside, some bulbs I recommend:
Daffodils, or Narcissus, above, seem to have all-round resistance to nibbling or digging by animals (they are poisonous, and apparently animals know that). The ornamental onions (genus Allium, such as Allium caeruleum, below) have a built-in repellent as well, with that onion-y smell. Camassia and most Fritillaria interest nobody most of the time, in my experience. Hyacinths and foxtail lilies (Eremurus) are also rated for deer-resistance.
Do not even think of growing tulips or lilies (Lilium) without protection. I’d add crocus to that list, as mentioned–even the so-called “tommies,” or at least here on Animal Planet or Wild Kingdom or wherever it is I now live–and frankly I don’t know how I’d protect them from what happened to every single one of several hundred I planted, as in that photo up top. Among the minor bulbs, better animal-resistant choices include snowdrops (Galanthus); snowflake (Leucojum); winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis); glory of the snow (Chionodoxa); Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica); Ornithogalum, Scilla, and Muscari (grape hyacinth). The so-called autumn crocus (Colchicum), with its late flowers, are also apparently not tasty.
Links to some favorite bulb catalogs are listed under Sources on my Resource page, and on that same page a bit higher up, you’ll find some links to bulb societies if you want to dig deeper on a particular genus.
Slideshow of Some Favorites
SOME BULBS THAT I GROW, captured in photos–instead of by a rodent!–are in the images below. (Click the first thumbnail to start the slides, then toggle between shots with your keyboard arrows or the ones beside each caption.)
Bulb Profiles and More