Living in an area prone to wandering deer can be either a blessing or an irritation. Lovely to watch, deer can also pose quite a problem in the garden. There are plants and flowers that deer don't eat but, unfortunately, if they are hungry enough and their food supply is scarce, deer will eat almost anything. Spring and summer bulbs, such as tulips and daylilies, are among their favorites, but there are, fortunately, a few types that deer will think twice about eating. However, if you really want to grow tulips and daylilies in your garden, try planting them in a fenced-in area to keep out the deer.
Persian Onion, Drumstick Allium (Allium)
Members of the culinary onion, alliums are more of an ornamental flower in the garden. There are different varieties, from the 18-inch Lily Leek (Allium moly), to the 3-foot Drumstick Allium (Allium sphaerocephalum) and the 5-foot Persian Onion (Allium aflatunense). All have slender stalks with spherical flower heads composed of a multitude of tiny flowers. They are hardy in zones 3 to 9 and bloom in late spring to early summer. These make excellent cut flowers, if you don't mind the mild onion scent.
One of the first to bloom in the spring is the daffodil. These cheerful flowers bear white, yellow, peach or pink flowers on slender stalks. They are available in a multitude of varieties, ranging from 8 to 20 inches. Daffodils prefer full sun, but will tolerate light shade as well. Planted in groups, they make a colorful, deer resistant arrival to spring. They are hardy in zones 3 to 11, depending on the variety.
Dutch Hyacinth (Hyacinthus Orientalis)
Dutch hyacinths are very fragrant, colorful flowers that bloom in the spring, along with the daffodils. Clusters of small flowers in a variety of colors grow from stems 12 to 18 inches tall. Hyacinths prefer full sun to light shade and moist soil. They are hardy in zones 3 to 7, but will need mulch over the winter months in zones 3 and 4.
Crown Imperial (Fritallaria)
The crown imperial is another spring-blooming bulb that deer don't feel like nibbling on. This unusual flower has yellow, orange or red flowers growing in a circular fashion with a spiky grass-like top, very much resembling a crown. They can grow up to 4 feet high, are hardy in zones 5 to 8 and do well in both full sun or light shade.