Daffodils and hellebores -- a pest-proof combination. Photo: Steve Bender

Faithful reader, Helen, asks, "How do I keep the squirrels from digging up and eating my newly planted bulbs? Those bulbs were expensive!" The simplest solution, replies Grumpy, is to plant bulbs that squirrels won't eat.

You have more choices than you might think. For example, daffodil bulbs are poisonous to squirrels, voles, mice, and other rodents. None will eat them. As an added bonus, deer won't eat them either. That's why I'm so proud of this daffodil-hellebore combination in my front garden, show above. Rodents and deer hate them. I hate rodents and deer, so we're even.

Here is a list of bulbs you can plant now that these fiends won't destroy.

  • Allium (Allium sp.)
  • Crinum (Crinum sp.)
  • Dutch iris (Iris sp.)
  • Foxtail lily (Eremerus sp.)
  • Fritillary (Fritillaria sp.)
  • Glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa sp.)
  • Grape hyacinth (Muscari sp.)
  • Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)
  • Snowdrop (Galanthus sp.)
  • Snowflake (Leucojum sp.)
  • Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica)
  • Spring star flower (Ipheion uniflora)
  • Squill (Scilla sp.)
  • Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogallum umbellatum)
  • Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

You'll notice several popular spring bulbs didn't make the cut. Tulips, lilies, and crocus are candy for rodents and deer. Plant them if you feel lucky. Alvin and Bambi will thank you.

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