A Few Garden Updates and A Plant I Wish I Had Never Placed In My Yard!

Welcome to the 431st Metamorphosis Monday!

Happy New Week! Hope you had a great weekend! I spent part of mine working in the yard and I still have so much more to do out there. For the last couple of years I’ve known that I should trim-reshape the Green Mountain Boxwoods I placed in planters on either side of the front porch a few years back, but I’ve been worried I would totally mess them up.

Here’s a photo of how they looked right after I placed them in the planters in September 2013. (See that previous post here: Boxwood Topiaries for a Traditional Landscape)

 

Another view at Christmastime…they were quite small back then. Not anymore!

 

I’m not sure why I was so worried, it’s not like they are in  some complicated topiary shape like a giraffe or something. Ha! But I was still skeered!

I don’t know what got into me yesterday, I was out front trimming some of the other boxwood shrubs and the next thing I knew I started working on one of the Green Mountain boxwoods. Since I just dove into trimming the one on the right side of the house without taking a “before” picture, here’s a photo of the one on the left to give you an idea of how big they had grown. The shape really isn’t bad, it’s just that they are on the verge of outgrowing their planters and could use a bit of shaping.

 

Here’s one more “Before” photo taken right after I added benches to the porch last summer.

 

Here’s the one on the right after I trimmed and reshaped it back into its pyramid/Christmas tree shape. I didn’t make that gap on the left side, it was already there. It think it’s from when a big chunk of ice slid off the porch roof after a horrendous ice storm hit the Atlanta area a few years ago. Both Green Mountain Boxwoods got an unwanted shearing that year as the ice began to melt. I was not happy!

I kinda like letting them grow naturally, but it is nice to reshape them every once in a while. I’m guessing in another couple of years, I’ll have to take them out of the planters and place them somewhere in the yard and buy new boxwoods for the planters. Sooner or later they are going to outgrow these planters. I sure do love having them here. They’ve done very well these last 4 years in this spot.

 

Spiderwort Hell

Never, EVER plant spiderwort in your yard. I’ve been battling this stuff for a couple of years now and still have more of it to dig out. It behaved itself in the beginning but now it’s constantly appearing in random areas of my yard. It’s so invasive! Argggg!

 

Acorn Update

Remember last fall when I shop-vac’ed up a HUGE bumper crop of acorns in my front yard? (Read that previous post here: Erma Bombeck Would Have Loved This.

Several folks were very worried about how the squirrels would survive winter without all the acorns. There were still plenty in the wooded area of my back yard, plus I dumped out a bag into an area of the back yard so they would have even more. I also left all the ones I saw in the islands in the front yard, just vacuuming them off the grass.

 

Big mistake! This is how the island around one of my Savannah Hollies looks now–it’s Oak Tree City out there! Next time the acorns fall in the front yard, I’m sucking ’em all up! Not looking forward to digging out all these trees. I think I’ll have to use Round up, there are just too many of them, plus they put out a big tap root that goes quite deep and is hard to get out.

Update: Please do not leave a comment asking me to not use Round-up. There are already several in the comment section, so I would appreciate if you would comment on something you enjoyed in this post instead of another comment about Round-up. Thanks!

 

A Purple Iris

A pretty, purple iris I have growing near my walkway always blooms this time of year, but the stems are so skinny, they don’t support the flowers. Any suggestions? I don’t want to have to stake it every year and actually the flowers are kinda pretty sprawled out across the walkway, but I’m wondering if I need to feed the plant something each spring to make the stems stronger.

See that big white blossom in back.

 

The magnolia tree is blooming and I love its big, dinner-plate-size blooms. They smell heavenly! One day they are going to invent a computer monitor with scratch and sniff technology. One day!

 

Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday is a party that’s all about Before and Afters. If you are participating in Met Monday, please link up using the “permalink” to your MM post and not your general blog address.

To get your permalink, click on your post name, then just copy and paste the address that shows up in the address bar at the top of your blog, into the “url” box for InLinkz.

In order to link up, you’ll need to include a link in your MM post back to the party so the other participants will have an opportunity to receive visits from your wonderful blog readers.

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Please link up Before and After posts that are home, gardening, decorating, crafting, painting, sewing, cooking, fashion or DIY related.

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Comments

  1. I don’t think Spiderwort is invasive up here in the North… we’re close to Minneapolis. I had it in my garden and haven’t had an issues… but maybe I had a different variety, or maybe our harsh winters keep it at bay. Liz

    • It’s funny because the first few years it was fine, then it started coming up everywhere! And you can’t pull it up, you have to dig it out and it has some pretty deep roots. It’s hard to dig out.
      I think it is spreading via the seed from the flowers…wherever the wind takes it. Maybe it’s so cold there the seed gets frozen in the winter. I loved it until it decided to spread all over my yard and into all the islands. I had read somewhere that it was invasive, but had never had a problem until a couple of years ago. Glad you don’t have to deal with that up there, Liz!

  2. Funny, from here, how the acorns all sprouted. What about the ones you dumped in the back of your yard? I’ve seen gutters in the spring with tiny trees growing in them. Lucky for you that I am not a neighbor; you’d find me several times a day with my nose in the magnolia tree, lol. Gorgeous photo. Share more, please.

  3. Nancy Corson says:

    I have two more never, ever plant in your yard plants. Elephant ears and Cleome. A friend (I thought!) gave me starts of both plants and they are taking over my yard! Help!

  4. Mildred says:

    Don’t dig…use Roundup to get rid of unwanted plants!!!

  5. Dividing your iris might help. A hard rain always seems to beat them down regardless. I’m trying to plant/move mine among other plants.

  6. Those iris will never have sturdy stems.They are an old variety. Get the schreiners iris catalog online.Iris have been improved both in stem sturdiness and size of blossom.They are gorgeous!

    • Katherine says:

      I agree! I have Schreiner’s irises in my yard and they are not only humongous with super sturdy stems, but some of the varieties smell wonderful as well!

  7. You did a great job trimming the boxwoods. Thanks for the tip on spiderwort! And thank for the party! Have a great day, Susan!

  8. I think some plants should having warning labels on them. 🙂 Nurseries should have to disclose what it will look like in 5 years.

  9. Your boxwoods sure are coming in beautifully in their planters! The front yard of our new house has two oak trees and every week my husband, catches the grass and acorns when he mows. It’s definitely something we have to stay on top of. Thank you for hosting! Have a lovely week. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  10. SHERYL MEKEMSON says:

    Just FYI: I ordered my porch sign from the woodcrafters in WI. LOVE IT! Thank you for the info.

    Try coated metal stakes with a “curl” at the top to wrangle your Iris. I use deeper and larger wire stakes with a big “curl” to hold up my hydrangeas as well.

    I am fighting wild violets volunteering in my back yard. They stream from one to the next. Anyone with successful ideas to eradicate?

    After your Magnolia finishes it’s blooming schedule, you might wish to consider digging it broadly and placing it where you will have a forever spot to grow before it takes more rooting.

    • Sheryl, that’s awesome! So glad you were able to order it. I do love mine and have really enjoyed it.
      The magnolia has been here since before I moved in and I’ve been here 25 years now, so it’s huge! It should not have been planted so close to the house (it ate the first walkway) but I don’t have the heart to cut it down. The next person who lives here will probably limb it up, but I don’t want to do that either. I do love its huge flowers!

    • I love those wild violets. We can’t grow them in Florida.

  11. Joan Clanton says:

    WAY better than roundup and much better for the environment: buy a gallon of vinegar and dump some f it into a container to save. add to the jug: a cup of salt and a half cup of dish detergent (not dishwasher, just the liquid stuff). all can be cheap brands. add back the vinegar to fill the jug. shake to dissolve the salt and mix everything together. pour into a squirt bottle or sprayer and squirt your weeds early on a sunny day. by sundown, the weeds will be yellow and wilted. i’ve never had roundup work that fast and is way more expensive. good luck. oh, and i pull the dead stuff out (if needed) with an old pair of needle nosed pliers– you get a great grip and it saves your manicure.

    • Katherine says:

      I heard recently that Round-up causes cancer! I stopped using it years ago and having been using vinegar instead for the weeds that grow in the sidewalk by the road.

  12. Kathleen says:

    Be careful planting vinca MAJOR. It gets into everything! Very pretty shiny leaves and small purple flowers and great on a slope but takes over. Vinca MINOR is much easier to control. My magnolia is 40 years old and starting to bud…can’t wait for those gorgeous dinner plate sized blooms! I love boxwood. I have hedges and I also planted individual plants that I am keeping small to shape (not in planters). I bought the mini boxwood to edge a flowerbed and love how it looks. Seeds just seem to blow around wherever. Little mock orange, silver maple, red oak, olive and palm seedlings coming up everywhere. How do you keep your yard so beautiful all on your own? Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for that warning, Kathleen! I used to do all my yard work and lived out there on the weekends. Then my lawn mower broke. I took it to three different places and they all claimed it was fixed and every time when I got it back home, it would not run. So I finally hired a guy who comes every two weeks to cut the grass, edge and blow. The rest I try to do on my own. Unfortunately, I don’t get to do much of the fun part because I’m so busy doing to maintenance like spreading pine straw and dealing with weeds. When I move one day, I hope to find a home with a smaller yard, something I can keep up totally on my own. I miss cutting the grass, I used to enjoy that a lot. I missed working in the garden and planting flowers…the fun stuff. 🙂

      • Bernie says:

        Cutting the grass is the only yard work I enjoy (John Deere riding mower). It’s one of the few jobs I can do start to finish without being distracted and doing 5 things at once, and not finishing any of them!

        • lol Bernie, you sound like me, I’m easily distracted these days. I always found it so satisfying because as you cut the grass, you could literally see the improvement immediately. I love the instant results. That would be sooooo much fun to do it on a riding lawnmower, especially a John Deere!

      • Kathleen says:

        Hi Susan. Yes, I would miss mowing the lawn too. I like being outside and get satisfaction when the lawn is mowed and fresh. I will have to find someone eventually to help me…getting too old and tired. I am trimming hedges and it is taking me days to do; plus the cleanup after takes another day! But again, so much satisfaction. We are having 90 degree weather!!! Already things are burning up. Thankfully, the weekend is supposed to cool down. Have a wonderful week.

  13. Plants need food too, just as your body does.
    Go to local independent nursery and as for Garden Trust. Big box stores don’t carry it.
    If your independent garden nursery doesn’t have it, they can order it.

    • Apparently, this variety has weak stems from what folks are saying. I think I’ll just move it to a different location where it has something to prop on. lol I want to order some from the place two folks have recommended…their Iris do sound amazing. I’ll look for Garden Trust…thanks for the tip, Terri!

      • If you move it, put it somewhere that it gets more sun. I have iris all over my yard. The only ones that flop are in part sun. They grow taller trying to find the sun and end up flopping.

        • Thanks for that tip, that’s a great idea! I don’t think the others I have like this fall over and they do get more sun.

  14. Love your boxwoods on your porch, Susan. I saw rosemary plants planted the same way online and it looked just gorgeous. I know you wouldn’t have the height issue with that plant. I have been thinking I would love to have two in matching planters on my porch.

    • Thanks, Jan! The height is okay on these, but they are getting fat! lol I think eventually they will be quite pot bound and I’ll have to plant them in the yard. I’ll probably have to get someone to help me with that job! I do love them there, though. I love rosemary! I bought two of the Christmas tree-shaped rosemary plants from Home Depot one year, but unfortunately they died pretty quickly on me. I’m not sure what happened but they were pretty while they lasted.

  15. Please don’t use Roundup!! The active ingredient , glyphosate, is carcinogenic. It is thought to cause non Hodgkin lymphoma. As a mom of an NHL survivor, I ask everyone to stop buying/using it!

  16. Patricia says:

    Ugh, my neighbor’s landscape design included a huge spiderwort ‘focal point’ and now the birds and the wind have carried the seed into my front lawn. It’s an endless battle to keep my front yard from looking like it has cowlicks sticking up. Love my neighbors but hate their spidewort!

    • I know, I’m finding it everywhere! Wish I had never brought it into my yard. I’m going to try my best to get rid of it this year…wish me luck!

  17. Round up is dangerous stuff. Carcinogenic because it gets into the ground water that we drink.

  18. Roundup is poison and terrible for the environment. I think if you just take the tops off those oak saplings they won’t regrow. I love peonies, but they also get top heavy and fall over so I started using a round support. It might work for your irises: https://www.amazon.com/Gardman-R755-Grow-Through-Hoops/dp/B001YUD8I6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1493658319&sr=8-2&keywords=peony+supports

  19. Oh, I have magnolia envy! Wish I had a big spot for one. I like boxwood but dont grow them simply because I am afraid of pruning, too, especially when one has to cut the insides to get more light and air inside. Your yard is lovely!

    • Yikes, I may leave that up to an expert…don’t even want to think about pruning the inside. It took me this long to get brave enough to prune the outside. lol

  20. I love your boxwood topiaries, and my how they’ve grown! I miss our Magnolia tree from a previous home. I love those things. Sorry about your invasive plant and your surprise Oak trees. The things that happen when we try to do some good – like not letting the squirrels go hungry. Thank you for hosting.

    • Ain’t it the truth! The squirrels in my yard all hang out in my back yard and eat the acorns (and birdseed!) there. lol Thanks, Laurie!

  21. Kathy Heath says:

    The front looks great! Where did you purchase your plantation shutters? They really look good!

    • Thanks, Kathy! I purchased those from a local company about 20+ years ago. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend them now. The company was sold and the new owners have made a lot of changes that were not good, so I would not feel comfortable recommending them now.

  22. Love your garden update Susan. You did well shaping the boxwood topiaries. When I get the random oak tree volunteers in my landscape, I find it easiest to pull out, acorn root attachment and all, right after a rain when the ground is soaking wet. Maybe hire a school kid to do that for you? Otherwise the RoundUp will prevent you from growing anything anytime soon. For me, it’s those crazy wild violets I hate. They’re taking over, and when I pull them or hire them pulled, a lot of the plants I WANT to keep are getting decimated (like my buttercups and anemones, which have fairly shallow roots). 🙁 Maybe for your irises, you could put one of those little push-in yard fence edgers as a brace, next to the sidewalk (where the irises lean). I have a couple of those in the back of irises (which is the direction mine lean). Or, and I do this for my bee balm that are flimsier….I put stakes in the ground in a 4 square position, then wrap garden twine or flexible stretch tie ribbon (from your garden center) around the poles to make a corral. It’s not visible if you position it low enough.

  23. franki says:

    Well…Roundup is what we use on “poison ivy”…that dratted scourge of the earth plant…the grandkiddos got it, I’ve got it…we are highly allergic…franki

  24. Debbie says:

    Spiderworts are useless! I can’t get rid of them, I think I have removed them all and the next year, here they come again!

  25. Great party Susan. I have a few plants that just won’t die or go away, so I know what you are going through.

    Have a wonderful week, Happy May.

    Mary

  26. Gloria says:

    Please, please, please! Do not use Roundup. It is pure poison! Hurts and kills bees and butterflies and other good pollinators. I read last year that some independent lab tests were done on it and they found it in women’s breast milk! Also, read that there may be a link to autism. I never used it in our yard or garden or any other type of chemical weed killer or fertilizer, but our neighbor next door and one across the street from us did and also had lawn service where the sprayed with chemicals and our daughter was diagnosed with Hodgkins when she was 20 yrs. old and had to go through all the chemo and radiation, thank God she is all right now and now she is 36 yrs. old and lives in Calif. My husband also had prostate cancer and had surgery back in 2009 and he is all okay now. Interesting too, that the neighbor across the street had esophageal cancer back in 2011, she is fine now also but went through some horrendous chemo and surgery and almost died! So I am completely against any chemical stuff used on lawns and gardens, they hurt good insects and the environment and they are hurting us too! Use hot water with lots of salt in it and pour all over the weeds you want to kill, might have to do it a few times. Good Luck!

  27. Patricia says:

    Please don’t use Roundup. I have sent you a link that describes how this product will now have to carry a cancer warning.
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/02/14/monsantos-roundup-cancer-warning-label
    Be a safe gardener.

    • Patricia, Thanks, I am a safe gardener. I only use products that are available in my local Home Depot and Lowes, nothing I mix up on my own or buy illegally on some underground market. I use what has been approved as safe to be used and nothing else.
      EVERYTHING causes cancer if used incorrectly. And everything these days has tons of warning labels on it because if companies don’t put those labels on there, someone who has used the product incorrectly is going to sue them.
      We live in a very litigious society, a society where a lot of folks are always looking for someone else to blame. The next time you go to the store to shop for something and the price is a lot higher than it was a few years ago, you can thank all those people who didn’t read the directions and used a product incorrectly and then sued the company.

  28. Thank you for hosting Susan!

  29. Thanks so much for the pay each week!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

  30. My landscaper always divides up the bulbs of irises, tulips and such and that way they grow better and add more colorful spots in the yard. I know what you mean about the acorns…I had the same problem in an older home I lived in which had an enormous holly tree. I enjoyed it but those berries would start so many more growths beneath it! Some lady used to come and take some away for me and make bonsai ones to sell. I killed what was left! A pain in the butt!

  31. Must be the difference in our zones, because Spiderwort never gave me a lick of trouble… it was beautiful in a couple small clumps every year that I purposely planted… I loved it and miss it! But I do have two NEVER EVER plants that I’ll contribute to the cause here 🙂 Trumpet Vine, and silver maple trees! Oh how I battled them constantly with all their up-shoots all over the yard, up through my blacktop patio surface, etc. etc. The boxwoods look great… up here (Iowa) we have what I always call “Magnolia Week” – the magnolia trees bloom beautifully, for about a week… but if it rains that week they wither immediately. We didn’t get a Magnolia Week this year due to weather, which was a shame… lots of folks have them, but the blooms are very fragile! Always love your home and garden posts, Susan, thank you!

    • Debby Lowry says:

      I second the trumpet vine comment! Very close to impossible to get rid of. In fact, we haven’t. YET. But we are making progress by using R***d** on the new growth every 2-3 weeks . It is taking YEARS to kill those nasty vines.

  32. Linda Page says:

    My Magnolia is in full bloom and beautiful which means that my yard is covered in Magnolia leaves! Can’t have beautiful blossoms without the shedding leaves everywhere!! Ugh! You did a very nice job on your boxwood. You are definitely multi-talented!! I need to send you a private email and update you on happenings! Are you about ready to send me some Africa pictures???????

    • Mine just went through a huge drop, too. Sooo many leaves! lol
      I know, I need to get back to work on those. I’ll try to do that this weekend. Sorry it’s taken so long to get them to you.
      Yes, an update please! 🙂

  33. Merri Jo says:

    I really enjoyed your garden/yard update. Your boxwoods are beautiful and you did a great job of pruning! Here in IL, Spiderwort is non-invasive, but we also are unable to grow your wonderful Magnolia grandiflora. I so envy your gorgeous tree and every single fragrant blossom. I know that I was meant to be a southern belle, but this northern girl will just have to live vicariously through your lovely posts, and continue to vacation down south!

  34. Susan, speaking of things that spread, I have a bumper crop of acorns and new oak trees too. When I bought this house, they had planted a rubber tree plant. It took three years to finally kill it. To make matters worse, I planted some white Bird of Paradise plants. Did not know you were suppose to buy the tamer orange ones. Finally killed two of them. One has to be 25 feet tall or more. A neighbor behind me has a camphor tree that has ruined my flower beds. They are everywhere. Things really grow in FL at top speed, especially invasive plants and weeds.
    Maybe the iris are trying to grow towards the sun ? One of my favorite flowers.

  35. Hi Susan, do you have any ideas on how to keep the squirrels out of your planters. Last year they uprooted every single annual I planted, including some hosta in containers. Do you know of a deterrent to put right on the plants or planters?

  36. Theresa says:

    It is so wet here no gardening for my yet. Many schools closed due to flooding. My son spent 2 days cutting Honeysuckle out of his yard. I could not believe how many truckloads we hauled away. They have become wild and invasive. When I was a child people planted them. Not any more.

  37. Jane Brailsford says:

    Susan,

    If you haven’t divided the iris in the last three or four years, try that. Iris are healthier and bloom more vigorously when divided and replanted every three years or so. The bloom scapes aren’t as strong and the plants take on a donut in the middle appearance as the plants age. There are numerous and very good You Tube videos on how to divide iris.

    Good luck!

  38. And don’t ever plant any kind of mint directly in the ground either! I planted some lemon balm and it has taken over! Smells wonderful-but enough already! Have a wonderful week! Weathers great in Georgia!

  39. Enjoyed your tour of the yard. I had to pin that Christmas picture of the early trees with the ivy. Very, very lovely!

  40. Cynthia Raines says:

    All work and no garden-play, starts to feel like chores. Believe me I know the feeling. Three years ago I took out 3 large beds and I don’t regret it. I still have beds on either side of our front porch, the south garden, the front and side of the garage and along the back deck sidewalk – that’s enough! Have to have time for the beach! ha. My Iris fall over too and I think I need to divide them, but I love that they get several flowers on the stem. My purple smell like grape Kool-Aid, does yours? I use green poles with the curls on the top like mentioned above to help hold them up and it really works. Also prop up my peonies with these and a round circle prop. Reg. Trumpet Vine – can’t kill it, wish I’d never planted it, although I know Hummingbirds like it, but they get lots of other food from me. Good trim job on the boxwood. I have a Tulip Tree which is a cousin to your Magnolia. I LOVE it and it’s in full bloom, such pretty pink tulips on it. Your Magnolia is BEAUTIFUL!

  41. Up here the spiderwort plant stays in one place. It gets a bit wider each year but I’ve never seen it become a spreader like that. It’s interesting how different our areas are regarding plants. I don’t think you have to do anything except to pull the oak tree starts out and even if it breaks off I don’t think it will come back. We always have new starts from around our yard too since we live by the woods and that’s all we do (or mow them off). I have some iris that flop over easily. I believe it’s just the particular type- some tend to be taller and have thinner stalks. I actually did go out with some metal stakes that have a round ring at the top to stand up the ones I have problems with. I wish I could grow magnolias like you have there! The boxwoods are looking fabulous!

  42. Helen Rice says:

    You have oak and I have sweet gum. Oh, how I hate those trees. If you saw my yard especially the islands that I cannot afford to buy mulch for you would think that no one lived here. I’m so ashamed of it. When my husband was alive he kept it looking like a showplace. There’s thousands of sweet gum seedlings. I’ve pulled and pulled and still they are everywhere. Can’t afford the thousands of dollars it would cost to have the trees taken down. Yes, I to had Roundup put on the seedlings 3 years ago. They were thick on the back of the lot. Took care of that year’s crop but of course they are back. I also have 3 large pampus grass that look horrible. There’s a sweet gum about 5 foot tall has grown up in the middle of one of them. Sometimes I want to call the “We buy ugly houses” people and tell them to write a check for me.

  43. We all have gardening regrets! Smile. One time I planted a packet of wild seed and it all died, except the Queen Annes Lace. I continue to have it in my yard. It’s a pretty plant, but it takes over! Have a great day!

  44. Juanita in OH says:

    Susan, I LOVE your garden. I don’t have one. I have a front patio with two pots, I have a brown thumb, for real, I’m African American, lol. I’ve killed every house plant I ever owned. Last year I planted New Guinea Impatients (white) and they did well. It was easy enough to get someone to throw them out for me in the late fall. When I lived in NYC we had hedges in the back yard, they must have been at least eight feet tall. They were great at keeping the view to our neighbors yard obscure. We had to use a weed whacker and ladder to cut them. I am so sorry about your Spiderwort issue.
    Your yards are beautiful and I think you do a wonderful job of taking care of them. TFS.

  45. BOBBI DUNCAN says:

    Oh, I do so miss the magnolia trees we had at our Williamsburg home–that citrus smell was divine! Raking their leaves is not missed–those suckers always got caught in the rake. Your yard is so pretty. In some ways I miss our big yard, but now that I am allergic to two types of bees it scares me to work in the yard when hot weather brings them back. Hugs!

  46. debbie valentini says:

    Your home is lovely! Always keep a pair of garden scissors near by to trim plants that spread by seed. Topping of the seed heads after they bloom prevents unwanted volunteers. I have great luck at keeping Lemon Balm at bay, which use to invade my garden. Cutting the root lines of spreading plants works very well. The cuttings spice up a dish or decorate a platter. You must be on top of the chore, but it is easy and fast. Love your blog. Many blessings.

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