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Connecticut Garden Journal
Connecticut Garden Journal is a weekly program hosted by horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi. Each week, Charlie focuses on a topic relevant to both new and experienced gardeners, including pruning lilac bushes, growing blight-free tomatoes, groundcovers, sunflowers, bulbs, pests, and more.

Connecticut Garden Journal: Keeping Critters Out

Don DeBold (Flickr)
Creative Commons
Keep the deer where you want them -- away from your garden.

It's been a slow spring, but our flowering bulbs are finally are putting on a show. But it's a shame to do all the hard work of growing tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and crocus only to have critters eat them. To avoid frustration, and excessive cursing, here's what to do.

For squirrels and chipmunks spray repellent sprays -- more on that later -- or lay plastic deer fencing over the bed before the bulbs emerge in spring. I saw this technique at the New York Botanic Garden and it prevented these diggers from digging up the bulbs.

Fencing is a must for deer. However, if you can't erect a tall fence around your garden, try laying the plastic fence on the ground around the beds. Lay a wide swath of deer fencing on the ground and leave it loose, but anchored, so it doesn't blow away. Deer don't like stepping on something that might get caught in their hooves and avoid the bed. Pull up the fencing after flowering.

For all bulbs, spray repellents, such as Plant Skydd, on plants before flowering and every few days afterward. Plant daffodils and fritillaria, which deer avoid, but watch out. Fritillaria attracts the lily leaf beetle to your garden. There's always something.

To simply enjoy the bulb show and get inspired, visit some public display gardens loaded with spring flowering bulbs. Colorblends House in Bridgeport has over 40,000 bulbs and you can tour the grounds free daily. White Flower Farm in Litchfield features daffodils growing in their fields and gardens. Elizabeth Park in West Hartford has an amazing tulip flower show blooming in a few weeks.

Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about asparagus. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.

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