Pest-resistant Flower Bulbs

    • Plant pansies, snapdragons, stock, calendulas and primroses now to replace summer annuals.
    • Garlic sets can be planted now for an easy crop that you can harvest next spring. Choose from hard-neck, soft-neck or Elephant garlic varieties now available.
    • Compost your leaves as they fall, don’t burn them! Leaves make wonderful compost that breaks down into rich humus by next summer.
    • Chrysanthemums can be planted in pots or flower beds for bright and cheerful flowers to enjoy this fall.
    • Look for rich, bright colors in the foliage of deciduous trees and shrubs. Burning bush, Liquidambar, snowball bush and maple trees are beautiful right now.

Pest-resistant Flower Bulbs
What to plant this fall where deer & squirrels are voracious

Garden pests such as deer and squirrels are a real problem, especially in the fall. Despite centuries of land development, the deer population in the U.S. is far greater now than when the Pilgrims landed. For gardeners in rural areas where such creatures are voracious, the big question is: what won’t those animals eat?

In fall, gardeners gear up to plant spring-blooming bulbs. Some of the most popular bulbs, such as tulips and crocuses, are considered treats by animal pests. While others, such as daffodils and hyacinths, are generally shunned because of their bitter taste.

Of course, if deer are truly starving, they’ll eat just about anything, including the bark off trees! But planting bulbs they don’t like will greatly improve a garden’s overall survivability in problem areas.

Daffodils and Hyacinths are poisonous to squirrels and rodents, and when interplanted with edible bulbs, will protect them from burrowing animals. All kinds of Daffodils are shunned by deer. You can plant the large King Alfreds or the small, fragrant Narcissus and they will bloom for you year after year without fail. The bulbs spread and multiply each season, so you’ll have more to enjoy every year.

Hyacinths come in beautiful bright colors: red, pink, blue and white. Their strong fragrance is a sweet breath of spring, so plant some where you can enjoy their rich perfume.

Chionodoxa or glory of the snow is one of the first flowers of spring. Its elegant, sky blue flowers with white centers have 4 to 12 florets per stem. The delicate six-inch tall flowers bloom in February-March. They prefer full sun, but tolerate partial shade, and adapt beautifully to the rock garden, the flower border, or under trees and shrubs, and naturalize easily.

Grape hyacinth, Muscari armeniacum, is an all-star performer. Its long lasting flowers and long blooming season make this brilliant blue flower a champ in endless garden applications. Mass plantings are spectacular, especially when combined with other bulbs like yellow daffodils or tulips of any color. Four to eight-inches tall, muscari performs best in well-drained locations. Try planting these little bulbs close together in mass plantings in the lawn or garden to create a blue “river of Muscari” effect made famous at Holland’s Keukenhof Garden. Muscari also naturalizes easily.

Snowflakes, Leucojum aestivum, are among the easiest bulbs to grow. The nodding, white bell flowers tipped in green on 12-inch stems have as many as nine flowers to a stem. They flower in full sun or part shade and bloom more profusely if left undisturbed for several years.

Enjoy creating a beautiful spring garden with bulbs that are ranked high on beauty and low on pest-appeal.

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