Spring is here and everything is beginning to bloom around Morehouse Parish, from irises to azaleas, color is popping up everywhere.

Local gardener Melissa Smith said her favorite blooms are perennials because they come back every year.

"I like spring flowering bulbs," she said. "Bastrop is known for many beautiful blooms, like our dogwoods. The redbuds are in full bloom now. They have red blooms that blossom on a tree. The bridal wreaths are blooming now too, as are the irises and Lady Banksia."

"People are beginning to plant in containers," she said. "All the bedding plants are being planted now, like petunias and marigolds."

According to 'Gardening for Southern Seasons,' a reference book for this area, preparation is of utmost importance when it comes to gardening.

In order to prepare to plant, the soil must be perfect. Make sure it is not too wet or dry by rubbing soil in between your fingers to see if it is dry enough.

'Gardening for Southern Seasons' states "If soil is too wet or dry, a handful of dirt squeezed will not stay in a ball."

Not only is it time to plant, but it is also time to prune. According to 'Gardening for Southern Seasons' it is time to prune the winter-damaged shrubs after new growth shows dead or injured branches. And it is recommended to prune again immediately after blooming.

One tip offered is to go sight-seeing in order to observe other gardens, paying careful attention to details to give the gardener fresh ideas for spring.

Kathy Gilbert, owner of Nature's Hideaway in Bastrop, says she carries tons of blooms ready to be planted.

"I have some beautiful Lady Banksia roses blooming now," she said. "I also have the azalea 'encores' that bloom three times a year. Another big seller that I carry are the succulents and cactuses."

Gilbert said she has all the seasonal varieties that locals love, such as Wisterias, drift roses, Jane Magnolias and Indian hawthorns.