Rabbits in the garden

(Question)

We live in Markham, Ontario. As our tulips are just beginning to poke through the soil, they are being eaten by rabbits. Is there anything we can do to discourage the rabbits without hurting them?
We missed seeing the tulips last year because of the early spring and harsh frost. So we’re sending a photo of part of the garden in July.

(Answer)

What a lovely garden.  Rabbits are so cute until they eat our flowers!

For an immediate solution, a thick layer of blood meal around the plants will deter them and nourish the soil. However, it will soon be washed away by the rains so you may have to reapply.

For a long term solution, planting foods they dislike in the garden itself helps discourage the creatures from eating your other plants. Try inter-planting animal-repelling plants next to your treasured plants for best results.

Alliums fall into the same family as onions, garlic and chives, all of which repel rabbits and squirrels. The plants look beautiful when planted in drifts near ornamental grasses. Depending on the variety, allium grows up to 59 inches in height in hardiness zones 4 to 8. The foliage looks similar to an onion with long, narrow leaves. In early summer, the plant sports blooms consisting of small white, pink or purple flowers that form a large rounded cluster reaching up to 15 inches in diameter. Plant allium bulbs in full sun in well-drained soil in the fall.

For blooms with plenty of fragrance, plant hyacinths. Rabbits and squirrels stay away from the plant, making it ideal for early spring gardens. The perennial flower thrives in hardiness zones 3 to 8 where it grows up to 10 inches in height with tightly packed spikes of highly fragrant blossoms. Choose varieties such as Carnegie hyacinth for white blooms, pink pearl for pink blossoms or blue jacket for purplish-blue blooms. Plant the bulbs in the fall in full sun in well-drained soil, then water the soil thoroughly.

Hope this helps, good luck!