Watching football, raking leaves, carving pumpkins and planting bulbs are activities generally associated with fall.
Spring is when those bulbs - daffodils and tulips - are supposed to reward that autumn investment with brilliant flowers.
Lost in our pent-up urge to plant perennials and annuals in the spring are the summer flowering bulbs that should go into the ground in May, too - dahlias, cannas, gladiolus, tuberoses and more.
Now is the time to order these bulbs so that they can reward you with flowers throughout the summer, until a killing frost.
"When everything else is winding down, the dahlias keep cranking up," said Scott Kunst, owner of Old House Gardens in Ann Arbor, Mich., which specializes in heirloom varieties of these bulbs.
"In the fall garden, when everything is slipping away, they relieve that melancholy feeling."
Dahlias are the showiest of the summer flowering bulbs, so much so that serious gardeners have long snubbed them because of their ostentation.
Some are head high, with blooms the size of dinner plates, and they long have been considered too big to be grown in a "normal" garden.
But it is their proliferation that makes them impossible to ignore.
"Spend $5 for a bulb and you will get 200 flowers," said Kunst. "They don't quit."
"Dahlias, dahlias, dahlias," said Deborah van Bourgondien, "The Bulb Lady" of dutchbulbs.com and the van Bourgondien catalog. "I don't think you can have too many dahlias in your garden."
You would just have to find room. Cultivated by the Aztecs, they found their way to Spain, Western Europe and the Netherlands, where they were bred for the Dutch cut-flower industry. There are now more than 20,000 varieties.
Many of them are dwarf varieties that grow more to scale for the typical perennial garden. There are also cannas and glads that come in smaller, even pot-sized, varieties. Asiatic pixie lilies, caladiums, begonias and tuberoses are summer-flowering bulbs that are just the right size for border gardens.
"Historically, people avoided summer flowering bulbs because they were considered tender tropical plants," said Brent Heath of Brent and Becky's Bulbs in Virginia.
But these bulbs do just fine in the tropical temperatures on the Eastern seaboard from May to October, said Heath, who added that they represent the fastest growing segment of his bulb sales.
"It's not nearly as big as the fall bulbs, but it is increasing drastically each year.
"People are discovering that they can have fun layering them, kind of lasagna style, in annuals and ground covers.
"And they extend your bloom season dramatically."
Despite the fact that summer-flowering bulbs can so easily relieve the doldrums of the late-summer garden, they are not in extraordinary demand in this area, said Carrie Engle of Valley View Farms in Cockeysville in an e-mail.
Local gardeners appear to be more interested in varieties for shade, like caladiums, and large-leaved tropicals, like banana trees and elephant ears, she said.
Likewise, Gene Sumi of Homestead Gardens in Davidsonville said the demand has been for the dramatic tropicals.
Often, he wrote in an e-mail, customers will choose potted varieties instead of planting the inexpensive bare bulbs, which might cost as little as $1 each, and that reduces the selection markedly.
Heath of Brent and Becky's Bulbs said it is likely that gardeners simply associate bulb planting with the fall - not with the spring.
"We didn't even offer spring bulbs at first," said Kunst of Old House Gardens. "But we had such a strong response from our customers that now they are a third of our sales."
The appeal of summer-flowering bulbs is that, unlike spring bulbs, they are repeat bloomers and will flower for weeks and even months.
The more dahlias you harvest, said Kunst, the more you have.
The drawback? It is usually necessary to dig them up in the fall and store them in peat in a garage or other cool indoor space for the winter.
"A lot of gardeners think that is too much trouble," said Heath.
"Some folks will take the chance leaving dahlias and cannas in the ground," said Engle. "But they will lose them about half the time."
Van Bourgondien and Kunst think of summer-flowering bulbs as hearty annuals.
"If they come back, it is a bonus," said van Bourgondien.
"Your grandmother dug them up because she was so frugal," said Kunst.
"I tell people that for $5, you can get 200 flowers. If you don't feel like digging [them] up, you have gotten your money's worth."
Besides, both agreed, if your bulbs fail to winter over, it is an excuse to try a new variety: the begonias or the heavily fragrant tuberoses. The easy and abundant Asiatic pixie lilies or a huge black elephant ears. Or cannas or calla lilies.
Just about any garden center will have at least a modest collection of cheaper spring-flowering bulbs. It is an inexpensive way to introduce them to your garden.
It is on the Internet and in catalogs, however, that the range of color, variety and size is dizzying.