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How to Grow Better Bulbs


Snacking after the bulbs have sprouted is another matter. In a garden where herbivorous animals — including deer, rabbits, squirrels, gophers, chipmunks, mice and voles — are active, Ms. Elms said, “There is definitely the do-not-plant list, like tulips and lilies, and also the nobody-ever-touches-these list, headed by daffodils.”

Snowflakes (Leucojum), like Narcissus, usually go untouched. The “rarely eaten” list includes hyacinths, she said, and winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis), snowdrops (Galanthus), alliums and glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa). Add to those possibilities Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica), grape hyacinths (Muscari), Siberian squill (Scilla siberica), autumn crocus (Colchicum), Camassia, Fritillaria, foxtail lily (Eremurus), trout lily (Erythronium), Ornithogalum, spring-planted iris and Crinum.

Crocus tend to be animal targets, but gardeners may have better luck with the tommies, or Crocus tommasinianus.

Some gardeners try to further dissuade nibbling by sprinkling blood meal around emerging bulbs or spraying the shoots with a nontoxic repellent like Repels-All, a blend of dried blood, egg solids and garlic oil.

Some experimentation may be required to find a bulb palette that can withstand your garden’s animal pressure, Ms. Elms said.


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