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Plant Flowering Bulbs That Deer And Rabbits Won't Consider A Salad Bar

A deer eats the tops of flowering plants.
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A young deer munches the leaves from flowers in a garden. You can avoid this in your own garden and lawn with some preventative measures!

It seems you wait all winter for some colorful flowers to bloom and then the deer and rabbits eat them all first! When it comes to flowering bulbs, there are preventive measures to avoid this.First, step outside and note if the deer and rabbits bypass some of your flowering bulbs like daffodils, alliums, fritallaria and scillas.

Deer and rabbits don't like the taste of these flowers, so you can plant plenty of those! Unfortunately, it's the tulips and crocuses which animals tend to prefer.

Another method to keep animals away and protect your flowering bulbs is to put small metal cages over the cluster of bulbs. 

And certain plant sprays work well. One in particular, called Plant Skydd, is a horticultural product made from blood meal with a very strong odor that discourages deer and rabbits from munching your flowers and bulbs.

As for the critters who dig underneath and eat your flowering bulbs, here's another technique: dig a hole to plant your bulbs and drop in a handful of crushed seashells. The small rodents who burrow up and under to snack on them do not like the shells' sharp edges and will avoid the bulbs.

You can also try creating a small wire cage, placing the flowering bulbs inside it and then burying the whole thing in your garden.

Q: We are going to try Hugelkultur this year. We have lots of invasive buckthorn trees that we are cutting down and I am hoping they are acceptable. Can we use these logs? — Andrea, in Cornwall

You can use invasive buckthorn but make sure it is really dead. If you're planning to use buckthorn logs, cut the branches off before the root system to ensure it can't sprout again. Also, make sure there are no berries on any of the branches.

Q: I have daffodil and tulip bulbs that I forgot to plant in fall. They have been in a cool dark place all winter. Can I plant them now? — Marlene, in Frelighsburg, Quebec, CA

Because you can’t really save them any longer, plant them outside now. Hopefully, they will send up some foliage this year. They may not flower but if they send up some foliage, that might suffice to rejuvenate the bulbs and they should be able to flower for you next year!

Q: I recently had the most beautiful display of indoor crocus! I'm now wondering what to do with the bulbs now that the flowers are starting to wilt? — Ella, in South Burlington

If the crocuses are planted in potting soil indoors, move them outdoors and into your garden once they are done blooming. Hopefully next year, they will rejuvenate and flower again for you next spring!

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All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes. You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling VPR at (802) 655-9451.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

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