Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > October 2015 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--Bulb Gardening in Deer Country

BONNIE'S GARDEN--Bulb Gardening in Deer Country

You are very “Virginia” if you have red clay soil or granite gravel in your yard (or, in my case, BOTH) or deer in your yard... 

One of my favorite hats to wear at the greenhouse is that of “The Bulb Lady.”  How much of a “Bulb Lady” can I be with all my bulbs eaten down to the ground?  Oh wait—there are some deer-resistant bulbs.  Correction—there are a LOT of deer resistant bulbs!

So here are some of the best of the best:

Narcissus/Daffodils/Jonquils—just to set the record straight, by the way, Narcissus is the botanical name, daffodil is the correct common name, jonquil refers to a specific kind of daffodil.  Whatever you choose to call them, deer don’t eat them, squirrels don’t eat them, voles don’t eat them.  YAY!

Alliums--Alliums are members of the onion family.  There are little 10 inch tall ones perfect for borders and dramatic four foot tall giants with eight inch flower heads and sizes in-between.  They need only two things to perform well—full sun and well-drained soil.

Muscari—These are the cute little grape hyacinths you remember growing around the stump in grandma’s yard.  They naturalize well, and come in white and shades of blue from navy to silver-blue.

Hyacinths—As if they fact that they come in a rainbow of colors AND are incredibly fragrant, weren’t enough, these are also deer-resistant.

Snowdrops—One of the earliest blooming bulbs, snowdrops often bloom in February—mine bloomed last February—under the snow.  They’re dainty, sweet, and tough as nails!

Hyacinthoides, also known as Wood Hyacinths or Spanish Bluebells—One of my favorite bulbs, Wood Hyacinths are shade tolerant and bloom in May with pretty spires of blue (or pink or white).

Ipheion or Spring Starflower—another favorite.  It blooms for an incredibly long time in the spring with fragrant starry flowers in blue.  It naturalizes readily and even tolerates that red clay/granite gravel combo in my backyard.

Fritillaria aka Crown Imperials—Not only do critters not eat this one, but this bulb is said to help repel voles.  The beautiful red or yellow bells of flowers don’t let on that the bulb underground actually smells a bit like a skunk. 

Leucojum or Spring Snowflake.  Leucojum looks like a lily-of-the-valley on steroids.  It’s a daffodil relative so is touch and naturalizes well.

Iris—From the 6 to 8” tall early blooming minis to the 2 foot tall May-blooming Dutch iris to the large-flowered bearded iris, all of these are hardy and very pest-resistant.

Peonies—Gorgeous, strong and fragrant and deer won’t eat it either?  Wow.

Gee, I’m running out of space and I still have mentioned Chionodoxa (Glory of the Snow), Puschkinia (Lebanon Squill), Scilla Siberica or anemones.  Deer problems or vole problems, you can still have beautiful spring color in your yards and—here’s a tip for you.  You can even enjoy tulips—just plant daffodils around the outside!
Posted: 10/5/2015 by Bonnie Pega | with 2 comment(s)
Filed under: Bonnie's, bulbs, Deer, Garden
Well, while a number of plants are deer-resistant, almost none are deer-proof these days! They have not eaten mine--yet. (They might be too busy munching on my Gumpo azaleas.) But, if a deer is hungry enough, they'll eat almost anything.
10/14/2015 12:40:04 PM

Clair Cosby
I love iris and have them in several places in my yard. For the past 2 years deer have eaten them down to the ground after they get a few inches tall..
10/8/2015 11:12:21 AM

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