AT this time of the year gardens are full of colour and fragrance, mostly from spring flowering bulbs.

Although the daffodils are fading there are many different varieties of tulip and hyacinth to take over.

Early morning is the time of day when you get the best from the heavily-scented hyacinths.

Some people find the scent overpowering, but the fantastic colours are unbeatable.

Tulips are also giving fantastic displays just now with combinations of mono-colour, bi-colour and frilly edged flowers.

There are new varieties of bulbs released each year as growers vie for perfection, optimum flower colour, shape and size.

Once the flowers begin to fade a lot of people start to think about what to do with the bulbs, as they will be being replaced with summer-flowering plants.

The answer depends on where the bulbs have been planted and what type of storage space you have available.

If you want to keep them for next year it is important to allow the energy and goodness of this seasons growth to be absorbed back into the bulb, the flower's food store.

The methods of doing so is the same for most bulbs.

Most gardeners plant bulbs in flower beds, borders or containers for them to become part of the planting scheme along with spring flowering plants.

This means that when you are emptying the beds and containers to re-plant for the coming season you have the choice of keeping the bulbs for next year or putting them on the compost heap. To keep them for planting next year you have to dry them out in order to store them.

You need a fair bit of space in a frost free area, whether it's a shed, garage or potting shed.

If you have a vented shelving unit or rack you should lay the bulbs out with a bit of space between them which allows them to die back letting the goodness go back into the bulb without rotting.

If you don't have much space you could loosely tie the bulbs in bunches and hang them.

Be warned though, no matter how well you dry out and store this year's bulbs there is always the chance that next season you will not get the same amount of flowers - sometimes only foliage re-appears. It depends how strong the original bulb was and if it was from good stock.