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June 2012

At Annmarie Garden, nature and art live in harmony

Among art from the Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art at the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center in Solomons stand seven houses occupied by bluebirds.     Bluebirds are masterpieces in the world of gardening, both for their beauty and for their appetite for garden bugs. So Annmarie is more than happy to host them. To encourage the birds to add life to art in the garden, staff artists have hand-painted the houses. Baby bluebirds are now growing feathers amid the woven grasses and pine needles that make up bluebird nests.

Rather than gimicks, test your soil for a ­productive garden

On a Saturday morning garden show, a caller was advised to plant long-stemmed tomato plants deep. Supposedly, burying the stems deep in the garden soil forces the plant to produce new roots along the stem, resulting in a stronger plant. I strongly disagree.

Here’s how to catch your share chumming

My reel began clicking out an alert, slowly at first but quickly turning into a metallic shriek as the fish that had grabbed my bait shifted into high gear. I plucked the outfit from the rod holder and switched off the line-out alarm, thumbing the reel spool lightly and letting the striper run with my bait.

You won’t have another chance

This is the final countdown to one of the rarest sights in the heavens, a transit of Venus. Venus crosses the face of the sun in eight-year pairings, each cycle separated by 115 years. The last transit of Venus was in 2004. The next is Tuesday, June 5. After that, there won’t be another until December of 2117!

Third time’s the charm for this space spoof

Men in Black agents J (Will Smith: Seven Pounds) and K (Tommy Lee Jones: Captain America) have worked together for over a decade managing Earth’s alien population. This hasn’t made them close, as K won’t share his life story with his more effusive partner.

Nice guys get a pass

In the small town of Carthage, Texas, the most popular guy in town is the man who puts you to rest. Mortician’s assistant Bernie Tiede (Jack Black: Kung Fu Panda 2) sings in the church choir, gives care packages to new widows and delivers inspirational speeches to Little League teams. So it’s understandable that the town forgives Bernie his one, itty-bitty transgression: shooting a rich widow in the back and keeping her body in a freezer for nine months.