Dear John, In my experience, Eranthis hyemalis is dead hardy, self seeds into great clumps, and is not bothered by any critters - it may be poisonous. I think E. cilicica is not so strong. Also, any Crocus tommasinianus is excellent with the same qualities as E. hyemalis. 'Ruby Giant' is so large that it almost looks like a C. vernus hyb. I like the typical one better; it is daintier. You might also consider galanthus for really early bloom and hardiness. G. nivalis is the easiest. Happy growing, Dell -- Dell Sherk, SE PA US Zone 6. Amaryllids, South Americans, Cyrtanthus, Hardy bulbs, succulents and cactus, gesneriads.