Everyone loves big sweeps of spring color and if it’s in the form of Tulips, unfortunately, so do the deer. But fear not, there are many other Bulbs available that will add the same big punch to the landscape, as well as a tip for Tulip lovers.
Tops on the list are Narcissus (Daffodils). Being in the Amaryllis family they contain a bitter poisonous substance called lycorine which all animals instinctively stay away from. There’s a wide variety of color choices available including the traditional bright yellow Dutchmaster, the two-toned Ice Follies (white & lemon yellow), plus colorful Delnashaugh, Red Devon, Tahiti and more. If you want pure white then choose Mt. Hood or Thalia.
The Allium – being related to onions, leeks and shallots are another bulb group the deer shy away from. Though they’re not the earliest bulbs they do make a statement May through June – sturdy stems hold up large spheres in shades of lavender and white.
A new sought after bulb is Camassia leichtlinii (Indian Hyacinth) – a close relative of C. quamash, for it’s tolerance of moist soil and the later bloom time. One of our only native bulbs, it’s found out west in moist sunny meadows. Growing about 30″ with strap foliage and sturdy flower stems, they have pretty blue or white flower clusters along the tips n May-June.
Chionodoxa (Glory of the Snow) is a personal favorite for it’s beautiful blue color, extended flowering time (end of March into April), deer resistance and foliage that melts away a month or two later. It’s a good naturalizer too – always a happy site after a dreary winter.
Others that the deer don’t seem to like include the tried and true fragrant Hyacinths, Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides) and the small Grape Hyacinths (Muscari). Take time to stop in and see them all soon!
And for those of you who are die-hard Tulip fans, try using Repellex Systemic Granular Deer Repellent once they’re planted. A small amount sprinkled on top of the soil after planting will give it time to leach down to the developing roots and help protect them come bloom-time.