With the holiday rush over, many people begin to look forward to spring. But before the temperatures warm, there are some gardening tasks we can take care of so we'll be sure to have a picturesque spring landscape.

Now's the time to plant bulbs, like tulips and hyacinths, so they will flower in the spring.

Planting tulips and hyacinths bulbs is easy. Fill your pots with a high-quality potting mix. Then arrange bulbs close together but not touching. Finish filling the pots with potting mix while leaving the tips of the bulbs visible. Next, place the pot outside and water as needed. When the sprouts begin to the show, move to a sunny spot but protect from extreme cold. Feel free to bring the pots inside as they begin to bloom and show color. Having the flowers in cooler temperatures will make them last longer.

If you grew either of these bulbs last spring, you may know that they should be stored in the refrigerator after the growing season until the next January. The bulbs need a pre-chill period, six to eight weeks, to stimulate growth. The flower buds are already present inside the bulbs when planted in January. Unless they receive a pre-chill period, the flower buds will not develop properly.

Hyacinths and paperwhites or narcissus can be grown indoors in water using two methods. The first is to grow the bulbs in a special forcing vase, which is shaped like an hourglass. The bulbs can also be grown in a bowl with pebbles and water. Be sure the water line comes up only to the bottom quarter inch or so of the bulbs, and replenish water as necessary to keep the roots hydrated.

Amaryllis bulbs also can be planted within the next few weeks. Amaryllis and paperwhite are two bulbs that do not need to be pre-chilled.

Once these bulbs have finished flowering, you might want to save them for next year. In doing so, you will have a wonderful collection of spring flowering bulbs to plant year after year.

Got a question?

Email gardennews@agcenter.lsu.edu.