Putting the ‘dig’ in shindig

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Putting the ‘dig’ in shindig

Annual plant and bulb sale has perfect timing for local gardens
Crocus don’t attract deer, but they are irresistible to butterflies, as this Western Painted Lady seeks nectar from a drift of Crocus chrysanthus “Cream Beauty” blooming last March in a north Durango garden.
Daffodils’ beauty belie their iron constitution as deer-proof stalwarts of spring. Here in an Animas City garden, the species Narcissus Brackenhurst toughs out a mid-April dusting of snow.
Glowing blue, gold and white of the Tricolor crocus (Crocus sieberi “tricolor”) provide a cheerful and deer-resistant highlight to the dullness of still-dormant gardens of early spring.
The buck stops here with bulbs deer won’t like

Here’s a common lament of local gardeners: “Spring bulbs? Yeah, right. The deer eat them, so what’s the point?”

But not all bulbs are candy for hungry herds.

There are at least 20 different types of hardy spring-blooming bulbs unpalatable to deer – so you can enjoy riotous waves of color from early March clear through June.

At 10 a.m. Monday at Durango Public Library, there will be a free presentation called “20 deer-proof bulbs for stunning spring color,” hosted by yours truly.

It’s a slideshow and lecture with the usual “Action Line” twist.

For instance, there’s winter aconite, which cheerfully blooms a buttercup yellow just as the snow melts. According to Greek myth, it comes from the dried slobber of a savage three-headed dog that guarded the gates of hell. Seriously.

Bulbs also have personalities. For instance, Monday’s show will include a daffodil that bears an uncanny resemblance to Queen Elizabeth wearing a frumpy hat.

Deer avoid bulbs that offend their keen sense of smell and bulbs that taste bad or are toxic.

For example, daffodils are poisonous, hyacinths overpower with their scent and alliums are pretty much just fancy onions.

If you can’t make Monday’s presentation, here is my selection of deer-repellant spring bulbs in the order of bloom from earliest to latest.



Very early spring: Eranthis (winter aconite), Galanthus (snowdrops), Chionodoxa (glory of the snow), dwarf or rock garden iris (Iris danfordiae and I. reticulata), and Crocus chrysanthus (snow crocus).

Early spring: Anemone blanda (Grecian windflower), Crocus vernus (Dutch crocus), Scilla siberica (wood sqiill), Puschkinia (striped squill), Hyacinths orientalis, and early daffodils (cyclamineus, short cup, triandrus and trumpet groups).



Mid spring: Muscari (grape hyacinth),Corydalis (fumeworts), Erythronium (trout lilies or dog-tooth lillies), Fritlilarias and the mid-spring daffodils (double, long-cup, split corona and tazetta groups).

Late spring: Dutch iris, Hyacinthoides (bluebells), Eremurus (foxtail lilies or desert candles) and Ipheion (spring star flower)

Very late spring: Allium (ornamental onion) and Nectaroscordum, as well as the poeticus division of daffodils.



Bulbs are available now at local nurseries and garden centers.

For specialty bulbs, visit www.bloomingbucks.com, find “Durango Botanical Society” in the drop-down list and then click “Go.” It’s a fundraiser and 25 percent of the sale price will go to the botanic society.

Putting the ‘dig’ in shindig

Crocus don’t attract deer, but they are irresistible to butterflies, as this Western Painted Lady seeks nectar from a drift of Crocus chrysanthus “Cream Beauty” blooming last March in a north Durango garden.
Daffodils’ beauty belie their iron constitution as deer-proof stalwarts of spring. Here in an Animas City garden, the species Narcissus Brackenhurst toughs out a mid-April dusting of snow.
Glowing blue, gold and white of the Tricolor crocus (Crocus sieberi “tricolor”) provide a cheerful and deer-resistant highlight to the dullness of still-dormant gardens of early spring.
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