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 links to bulb societies if you want to dig deeper on a particular genus.
slideshow of some favorites
SOME BULBS I GROW, captured in photos–instead of by a rodent!–are in the images below.
Bulb Profiles and More
Sprinkle hot pepper flakes in with bulbs and on top of the hole where bulbs are planted. This will keep squirrels and other critters from eating your bulbs. It also keeps squirrels out of container plantings.
Hi, Peter. Thank you! Works well on a group or two, but not a big mass. I might try it again someday because I do so like crocus!
I think it might be simpler just to present the crocus on a plate, with maybe a garnish of parsley. But I love them and plant them every year. Some always survive and some get moved around to unexpected places.
This year the deer totally grazed my crocus Thommasianus(?), my hyacinths, Scilla, Spanish bluebells and snowdrops.
The voles work on any alliums I’ve planted. Must be L I deer have different tastes. The daffodils still hold on.
I use milorganite,once the heat of summer begins, not only for the fertilizer, since the plants don’t burn, but the odor keeps many animals at bay.