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July 2013

But don’t expect an easy job

Rhododendrons are one of the most difficult ornamental plants to grow in landscapes. This year the rhododendrons did exceptionally well due to the cool, moist spring. Many growers noted that the ornamental plants bloomed heavier than normal and that their flowers lasted longer.     In their native habitat, rhododendrons grow in regions where the climate is cool, in soils that are well-drained but with ample moisture.

Biltong is a South African ­alternative to freezing

Over the last few years, I have generally kept only those rockfish that my family and I could immediately eat, either giving away or releasing any extras landed. This season, however, the bite has been so good for so long and the fish so delicious that my policy has changed.     By trial and error, I’ve developed two favorite ways to preserve this great fish.

Gru lets his minions do the comedy work in this silly sequel

Retired super villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell: The Office) is a great dad to his three adopted daughters. But he isn’t very good at life on the side of right.     Plus he has to figure out what to do with his evil scientist partner and scores of odd yellow minions.     Gru’s best idea is to turn his evil laboratory into a jam-and-jelly factory. But the mad scientist is only able to make evil jelly, which apparently doesn’t taste very good.
1975 28' Bristol sailboat – Yanmar diesel. Running and standing rigging replaced. Slip conveys; In water South River. $4,900 obo. 443-603-6044, Sam.

These doses of summer fun, taken daily, will cure even the deepest shades of summertime blues

I’m gonna raise a fuss, I’m gonna raise a holler About a workin’ all summer just to try to earn a dollar … Every time I call my baby, and try to get a date My boss says, ‘No dice son, you gotta work late’ … Sometimes I wonder what I’m a gonna do But there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues. –Eddie Cochran  

Masters of acrobatic antics

Snapping a spine under their thorax helps Eastern eyed click beetles turn right side up. It also gives them part of their odd name, which describes the loud click made by their flipping maneuver.     The eye in the name comes from the two white eyespots on the tops of their upper bodies. These eyes make the beetle look a bit like the head of a snake, to scare away predators. If that fails, it has a couple of other tricks.

Join in to be a part of history

You’ve proudly hailed the Star Spangled Banner by many a light, including the twilight’s last gleaming.     This summer you can get closer, as the revered 30-by-42-foot flag commissioned for Fort McHenry in the summer of 1813 is restitched in replica.     Stitching begins on Independence Day at Fort McHenry National Monument and Shrine, where Francis Scott Key saw, through the rockets’ red glare, that our flag was still there.

Find him — and prizes — in Annapolis

The famous children’s book character in the striped shirt and black-rimmed specs is visiting Annapolis this month. He — and his look-alikes — are hiding in 25 local businesses. Spot him to win prizes.

There’s good science to my advice

My annual recommendation for lawns is cut it tall and let it fall. To understand why cutting height makes a difference, consider that each blade of grass is a factory.     A tall blade of grass contains more chlorophyll and is capable of manufacturing more sugars and other metabolites than a short blade of grass. When you set your lawnmower to cut your grass no less than four inches, each blade remains a bigger factory, capable of manufacturing more of what it needs for good growth.