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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.
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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.
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It’s not enough to break the heat

If you’re up Friday or Saturday morning before dawn, look for the waning crescent moon low in the east-northeast. Friday look for the bright star Aldebaran, the heart of Taurus the bull, positioned just above the two points of the thin crescent, while farther to the north are Mars and Jupiter just reemerged from behind the glare of the sun. Saturday morning, the dwindling sliver of moon is just a few degrees above the two planets....

It’s the dawn bite that pays off this time of year

July is here, and with it the heat waves that inevitably mark summer on the Chesapeake. Ninety-plus degrees with a blazing-hot sun will slow the fish. Even if it ­doesn’t, that sun can make being on the water after high noon uncomfortable if not unhealthy.
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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.
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Not too much, not too little

Many home gardeners plant trees and shrubs only to lose them to improper watering. For instance, you do not need to water newly transplanted plants daily. By doing so, you are drowning the roots and killing the plants.
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Lyra the harp has star upon star hidden amid its strings

As the sun dips toward the horizon around 8:30, Venus burns through the haze of twilight low in the west. By 9pm this evening star dominates the heavens, shining at magnitude –3.8 about 10 degrees above the skyline. With a clear view below Venus and perhaps binoculars, you may be able to spot Mercury tight against the horizon within a half-hour of sunset.
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Extremely powerful for short distances, rockfish run out fast

We waited patiently for the tide to turn. It took longer than the current charts predicted, but our wait was worthwhile. The boat swung a bit more earnestly at anchor. Then a rod tip began to dance.
    The first slight tickle turned into more pronounced tugs as something below mouthed the chunk of menhaden. I gently retrieved my rod from its holder, slipped off the clicker to reduce line resistance and lightly thumbed the spool.

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Supermoon comes just days after summer solstice

Thursday, June 20, is Midsummer’s Night, the shortest night of the year, with barely nine hours of darkness. Then, at 1:04am Friday, the sun reaches its northernmost position above the earth, marking the astronomical beginning of summer for us in the Northern Hemisphere. It is our longest day, with more than 14 hours 54 minutes of sunlight.
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I hunted 14 species of game birds; a lion hunted me

When a herd of zebras loomed up in the sweep of our headlights, I began to believe I was in Africa.
    As we’d landed at Johannesburg Airport after dark and loaded up for the two-hour drive to our lodge at Kroonstad, those zebra were my first sight of the wild Africa I’d come for.
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