ISSUE 93  |  Bulbs Exposed

Squirrel-Proof Crocus

October 09, 2013 3:00 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

Ha ha, the squirrels laugh, isn’t she pathetic.

Every year when I plant spring bulbs, they chitter jeeringly as they watch me sprinkle cayenne on the crocuses. They roll their eyes as I pour strange concoctions–vats of diluted pepper sauce, mostly–over the flower beds. They practically fall out of the trees, hysterical, as I lower baskets of bulbs into the ground inside elaborate chicken wire cages.

Delicious bulbs you have here, lady, the squirrels say. We like them spicy.

Every fall I say this year will be different. This year I mean it, thanks to my new anti-squirrel artillery: Tommies.

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Above: Unlike most crocuses, crocus tommasinianus, aka Tommies, contain a bitter-tasting alkaloid that repels squirrels (pardon me for a moment while I step away from the computer to shake my fist at them). Image by Greenwalks, via Flickr.

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Above: A bag of 50 bulbs of Crocus Tommasinianus is $7.95 from White Flower Farm. It’s an early bloomer that naturalizes easily. image by NY Botanical Garden, via Flickr.

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Above: Other types of squirrel-resistant Crocus Tommasinianus also are available from White Flower Farm, at prices ranging from $7.95 for 50 to $22.95 for 12 bulbs, depending on the cultivar. Image by Alec, via Flickr.

N.B. This is an update of a post that was originally published on August 28, 2012.

Wondering how else to intimidate the squirrels with your competence as you prepare the spring garden? See 10 Easy Pieces: Bulb Planters and Brown Bulb Foliage: Let it Be