Once I had a winter so sad I felt hopeless about the future. Even the spring was bad. I knew I had to do something. One day in April I got the idea to dig up a patch of garden below my front porch. Once it was dug up, I went to the store and bought dozens of dahlia roots in every imaginable color. By the beginning of August, the patch had grown into an explosion of color with dahlias so tall they peaked their enormous heads up onto the porch. I've never had a crop of dahlias since that was quite as good as that one. But I always think of those dahlias and they joy they brought me when July turns into the dog days of August and dahlias are everywhere.