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Archive for July, 2012

There were three north end gardens on the July 21st, 2012 Music in the Gardens tour.  Because our own garden was on the tour, we did not see the other gardens on tour day.   On June 28th I went with tour organizer Nancy Allen to the Windy Meadows Pottery home and garden in Surfside. I visited there again with the happy bunch of tour hosts on the day after the garden tour, when we got together to enjoy each others’ gardens.

Windy Meadows

Windy Meadows

Tom and Judy and I agree that this new house has the wonderful look of the old historic homes of the Peninsula.   Judy described it as a “warm and loving garden and home”.

around the east side of the house

around the east side of the house

From the tour programme: “A berm of scented lavender welcomes visitors to this artist, potter and gardener’s home, aptly named Windy Meadows. Here is a one person garden on a scale to which most of us can relate. A tiled and mirrored retaining wall creatively camouflages the raised septic system.”  The modern raised field is a real problem for people landscaping on the north end of the Peninsula, and potter and gardener Jan Richardson solved it with the help of her mosaic artist daughter.

mosaic detail

mosaic detail

a mosaic wall

a mosaic wall

the centerpiece

the centerpiece

On the same side of the house is a greenhouse window, which I covet, and a sweep of daylilies.

greenhouse window and flower bed

greenhouse window and flower bed

cat

cat

As we walk around to the north side of the house, we see more clever solutions to the eternal septic field landscaping problem (one of the reasons I chose to live at the south end of Peninsula in the land of sewer hook ups!).  This big Japanese lantern area is a handsome way to disguise one of those big green plastic covers.

lantern and grasses

lantern and grasses

trellis

trellis

Just to the west of the lantern, Jan made a boggy area, I think with some plastic under the mulch, so that she could grow a giant gunnera.

On the north side of the house Jan used an old orchard ladder as a trellis.  In this pre-tour photo you can see that, like me, she used old newspaper and magazines to keep the weeds down.  Later, she and some friends would cover the whole area with shredded bark; she had eliminated all need for mowing a lawn.

In a large flat area behind her clay studio, she displayed some of her sculptural pieces.  On our post-tour day, she let us come into her home and view what are my favourite of her artworks: the cottages!  Judy loved ’em.

garden art

garden art

From the Windy Meadows website, a sample of her fantasy cottages.  Oh how I love them!

cottages

cottages

But back to reality!  As we come around the west side of the house, the studio end, we walk through a path with her long inviting porch on one side and a river rock landscape on the other.

dry creek bed

dry creek bed

Windy Meadows porch

Windy Meadows porch

If I were to design a house, a comfortable long porch like that would be essential.

And below, the garden tour hosts gathering in Jan’s garden on our post tour day.

tour hosts

tour hosts

(left hand photo) In yellow jacket, Jan of Windy Meadows.  In the foreground, Judy Hornbuckle, then Allan (blue shirt).  In the white shirt, Ann Skordahl, and Gary Skordahl, and a friend of Ann’s.  Tom Hornbuckle was with us, too.  We had all had a whirlwind of preparation and then the joy of opening our gardens to so many appreciative guests.  Now we would get back to every day life…except that Allan and I had plans to go on another garden tour, this time in Gearhart, Oregon, the following week.

 

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On June 16th, a month before the Music in the Gardens tour, I went to pre-tour Ann and Gary Skordahl’s garden with tour organizer Nancy Allen, to help write up the tour programme.   I had met Ann on many another garden tour; each year she brings a tour group of friends from Vancouver, Washington, about a month after tour day to see her favourite gardens of the year’s selection, so she had been twice to both my old garden and my mother’s garden.

nurse log in driveway garden, 16 June

nurse log in driveway garden, 16 June

“A gold leafed heron announces the South Bay gated community where Gary and Ann Skordahl have created a home and richly textured gardens fronting Willapa Bay. First be greeted by a circular shady entry garden of hostas….”

Below, the same area on our post-tour day, July 22, when most of us who had opened our gardens toured each others’.

driveway garden, 22 July

driveway garden, 22 July

Beside the driveway: a 60 foot flower border within curving basalt stone walls from the family owned rock quarry, set into place by the Skordahl men.

along the driveway

along the driveway

There are two stairways to the house, one a sturdy, widely spaced concrete staircase…

16th June

16th June

22 July

22 July

stone stairs, 16 June

stone stairs, 16 June

….and the other nearby picturesque stairway of stone softened by creeping thyme.  “Climbing up their stone steps, softened by fragrant creeping thyme, you will pass rhododendrons, escallonia, hydrangeas and ceanothus which anchor the wonderful home.”

stone stairs, 22 July

stone stairs, 22 July

After ascending either stairway, we see the shrub border at the front of the house…

shrub border at the front of the house

shrub border at the front of the house

and the lawn that leads back to the bay.

big pots hiding evidence of the septic field

big pots hiding evidence of the septic field

At the north side of the large lawn, a square of flowers made a tidy contrast to a wilder field of native shrubs and wild roses.

Sweet Williams

Sweet Williams

hydrangeas in a northeast facing nook

hydrangeas in a southeast facing nook

planted chimney

planted chimney

A sweep of blue hydrangeas nestled in a southeast facing nook of the house thrives and is not preyed on by the deer that create a big planting challenge for Ann.  The hydrangeas draw our eye around the corner of the house to a massive stone chimney, also made with rock from the Skordahl quarry, that flares out to a planted rockery base.

The windows on either side of the chimney are those of a gorgeous sun room with a view of the bay.  Ann had it open on tour day for the musicians who accompany the Music in the Gardens tour and served white wine and elegant refreshments on the side deck; tour guests were still speaking happily of this when they arrived at our garden down in Ilwaco, and frankly, I am surprised they could tear themselves away!  Ann told us that she served…I think…18 bottles of wine.  (Remember, there were over 500 tour guests!)

deck view and planters

deck view and planters

Gary loves to mow and has created the vast lawn and paths to the bay out of wild meadows.

To the north of the house, a fire pit is sheltered from the north summer wind by a belt of shrubs and trees.

fire patio

fire patio

On June 16th, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ flamed in the flower border, mixed with metal art,  that curved around the lawn beyond the fire patio.

fire garden

fire garden

Around the north side of the house, we find more garden art in a bed with the steely blue foliage of Rosa glauca (which, amazingly, the deer are not eating).

Rosa glauca and sculpture

Rosa glauca and sculpture

Before we walk down the lawn past that 60 foot long basalt rock edged garden and back to the driveway, we stop to admire Ann and Gary’s tall pole of birdhouses.

bird house pole

bird house pole

We would be seeing Ann again in a couple of weeks when she brought her Vancouver garden club to visit our garden and the Hornbuckle garden.

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July 22nd, 2012

lower garden, by where we parked

lower garden, by where we parked

Because of having opened our own garden on tour day,we had been unable to go around and be tour guests.  The day after tour day, most of the gardeners who had opened their gardens got together to around and admire each others.  High on the hill in Ilwaco’s  Sahalee neighbourhood, I was pleased to finally get to tour Donna and Truman Rew’s garden.  I had only seen it from above when I used to work on another Sahalee garden that is a bit higher up, but it had always fascinated me, especially since I could hear the sound of running

to the right of entrance to garden

to the right of entrance to garden

water.  On tour day, docents had helped with the rather tight parking area and had guided guests throughout the garden.  After admiring the bridges (above left), we walked back up the driveway to enter the garden near the front door of the house.

From the programme guide:  “With a home perched on a dramatic hillside overlooking Baker Bay, the Columbia Bar, and sometimes Tillamook Point, it is hard to imagine a competing view. Yet this multilevel garden does just that, with three Japanese style bridged spanning still ponds and man-made streams connected by five waterfalls, all sheltered by a forest with 30 year old specimen trees.” Natural springs begin their flow throughout the garden on the upper hillside (left) and also enter the garden down the hill and through pipes under the driveway.  Upon first buying the house, before the water was captured, mushrooms grew indoors; channeling the water not only beautified the landscape but solved many problems.

We walked through an opening between two wings of the house and around to a narrow deck with a wonderful view of the bridged ponds.   Truman Rew had built the bridges, and the landscaping was done by a local company called Shrub and Grub…or a son of that company….not the most mellifluous name, but what a glorious vista they had created.

looking down from the deck

looking straight down from the deck

view from deck, southwest

view from deck, southeast

The water is all natural ground water from springs which has been managed and routed into ponds and waterfalls.

The water is all natural ground water from springs which has been managed and routed into ponds and waterfalls.

 east, from the deck

east, from the deck

detail of above scene

detail of above scene

From the deck, we then descended to get a closer view of the ponds.  Around the base of the house lay a simple landscape of sand, rocks, and trees.

by the house

by the house

 closer view

closer view

a network of water

a network of water

On the south side of the house, with its view of the Columbia River bar, the decking included different levels and seating areas.

 fire circle
fire circle

From the south decks one could walk out onto a knoll overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River.  A path led over the hill to a sauna…but the sauna area had been taken over by a black bear so could no longer be used!

Beyond this point be monsters!

Beyond this point be monsters!

From here, our group of gardeners will head north on the Peninsula to tour more of the gardens that were opened to us on the day after tour day.

If you would like to read an article about the tour itself, a good one appeared in our local paper.  (We won’t be visiting the Leadbetter Farms garden in this blog…at least not yet…because it was made available the day of our post-garden tour..)

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I had been admiring Tom and Judy Hornbuckle’s garden since 2010, even before I had met them.

summer 2010

summer 2010

At first, I just walked by and took photos of the outer gardens…the front yard and (right) the garden by their driveway.  By the winter of 2010-11, I had moved to Lake Street and we had become acquainted.

February 2011

February 2011

By summer of 2011, I knew Judy well enough to get invited through the back gate to photograph the water feature in their private fenced courtyard.

tulips by the back gate

tulips by the back gate

courtyard water

courtyard water

October 2011

October 2011

So when Nancy, the garden tour organizer, asked Allan and I to put our garden on the 2012 tour, I suggested that the Hornbuckle garden would be the perfect accompaniment.  There is nothing on a tour that I like better than having two gardens on the same block.  The contrast between our large and tangled garden with the tiny, groomed perfection of Tom and Judy’s would be entertaining, and people with small city lots could get all kinds of ideas from theirs.


SW corner, June 2012

SW corner, June 2012

It was great fun to have neighbours down the block to plan the tour with.  We had many back and forth messages about what sort of refreshments we would serve,  how many people might come, how much more preparation we had to do….and in the course of those many conversations, we found that we had much more in common than gardening.

Tom spent every other week leading up to the garden tour having chemo.  (He’s fine now!)  I worried a lot that the tour would be too much, but in fact I think that gardening, and planning, proved to be a great distraction and healer.  He was even able to keep up with his exacting regimen of mowing the perfect lawn every THREE days.

During and after tour day, many positive comments filtered back to us, including one we particularly liked: “Lake Street ruled the tour!”   The four of us on Lake Street did feel pleased with ourselves that of all the tour gardens, ours were the only two that were pulled together with absolutely no help from paid staff or volunteer friends….even though Tom’s health and our full time work had made it a challenge.

So here we go, through Tom and Judy’s garden on tour day and the day after, when those of us who opened our gardens and thus could not go on the tour went around to enjoy each others’ gardens.

Into the front garden and around the side....

Into the front garden and around the side….

front garden detail

front garden detail

side garden

side garden

from the programme guide: “In this pocket sized Ilwaco city lot, Tom and Judy grow and sculpt perfectly pruned trees and shrubs including over 20 Japanese maples. Their tiny garden includes four distinct microclimates from drought to mossy shade and complements their house with its exterior restored to its appearance in 1890. A velvety curvaceous lawn leads to a private courtyard where each stone accent is thoughtfully placed. Spots of colour provided by perennials and annuals are the finishing touch to this exquisite garden, which will provide great inspiration to those who garden in small places.”

side garden detail with coleus

side garden detail with coleus

the back porch

the back porch

I particularly love the back porch, which Judy says is a wonderful place to sit on a rainy day.  Anyone who knows the meticulous way this garden is maintained will not take seriously the “lazy hog” sign.

in the back courtyard

in the back courtyard

Tom fretted that the pouring rain on Friday had made it impossible for him to mow the lawn the day before the tour; however, having the grass just a touch longer (i.e four days between mowing!) made it better able to stand up to the approximately 1000 feet (500 people) who came through.

courtyard maple, photo by Kathleen Sayce

courtyard maple, photo by Kathleen Sayce

I could not get away to take photos of Judy’s garden on tour day, so I lack photos of the happy times in the courtyard with their musician, Barbara Bate (for whom we had once created a garden!).  Judy told me that people danced…laughed….I would have loved to have seen the dancing in the tiny courtyard.  I think I can somewhat recreate the feeling with a few photos taken on the 9th of August when a garden club from Vancouver came to see Tom and Judy’s sanctuary.

garden club day

garden club

garden club

Judy and me

Judy and me

As the tour season came to a close it became clear that I had finally been given something that had long been a dream of mine, a good gardening neighbour.  Ever since reading a chapter about gardening neighbours in a good book called People with Dirty Hands and a chapter on that subject in Gardening from the Heart: Why Gardeners Garden, I had longed for a gardening neighbour.  Whenever I would run across friendly neighbouring gardens on garden tours, I would feel envious.  At last, even though we did not have the ideal situation of being next door neighbours, I finally had a gardening neighbour and good friend just four doors down.

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Some of the flowers that were in bloom on Peninsula garden tour day, July 21st 2012, through further garden open days until August 10th:

Lily 'Landini'

Lily ‘Landini’

Nicotiana langsdorfiiCampanula 'Pink Octopus'

Nicotiana langsdorfii
Campanula ‘Pink Octopus’

lily

lily

I get lilies for several catalogs…and in bags at Costco…so am terrible at remembering the names.

Clematis 'Etoile de Violette'

Clematis ‘Etoile de Violette’

flower mix

flower mix

left to right:  Lychnis coronaria (rose campion), Valerian, some nasturtiums from where I threw fall clippings onto this bed, daisies in the background

flowers

flowers

California poppies, Astilbe, Agastache, Stipa gigantea, Joe Pye weed…just a nice haze of flowers

Artemisia 'Powis Castle' with Eryngium

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ with Eryngium

poppies

poppies

I got lots of poppies from the One Stop Poppy Shoppe., including the one above (with cosmos).

Papaver rhoeas

Papaver rhoeas

Papaver paeoniflorum

Papaver paeoniflorum

black peony poppy

black peony poppy

lily

lily

Melianthus major and lily

Melianthus major and lily

Cosmos

Cosmos with tree frog

Agastache and lily

Agastache and lily

I went crazy for Agastaches in 2012 and got wonderful local nursery The Basket Case Greenhouse to order many different cultivars from Blooming Nursery.

fuchsia container

fuchsia container

I can’t remember the name of the cute little annual, above…but I got it from Back Alley Gardens.

begonia and coleus

begonia and coleus from Basket Case Nursery

back garden

back garden

Above, Eryngium, Echinops (blue globe thistle) poppies, nasturtiums, Verbena bonariensis

poppy and lily

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’, annual corn poppy and lily

lily

lily

This yellow and white lily was from a Costco bag and filled the garden with extraordinary fragrance in early August evenings.

lily and sambucus

lily and Sambucus ‘Sutherland Gold’

I ran the bag of lilies all down the back garden in the big east side bed.

matching rose and hardy gladiolus...accidental!

matching rose and hardy gladiolus…accidental!

detail with the new rose

detail with the new rose

Now it is time to leave our own garden for awhile and get on with sharing the other wonderful gardens that were on the 2012 garden tour.

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Here is a mystery:  Why does this post get several hits a day?  Do comment and tell me why, if you know.  P.S.  I have figured it out; it’s traffic stemming from a fairy door pin on pinterest.

July 21, 2012

outside the south gate

outside the south gate

We’ve walked through the front garden and the back garden on Peninsula garden tour day  Now we have worked our way to the very back of our large double city lot: the bogsy woods that back up on to the Port of Ilwaco meander line and parking lots.  Here was the site of a cathartic clean up in September of 2011.  Much grooming and decorating had followed.

The southernmost fence had a couple of would-be tour guests outside on tour day morning.

I have deliberately left groves of salmonberry in the bogsy wood but cut paths through and between and cut some halfway down to make sightlines through, and in the center cleared a view corridor that lets us see out to the port year round.  The tour guests seemed to greatly enjoy walking through the paths and over the bridge to the area outside the fence where a big seasonal water ditch separates us from the parking lots.

Even though I have never been a lawn fan, I left a large lawn space between the flower beds and the woods with the idea that comfortable gathering spaces are necessary for a garden party.

our fire circle with bogsy wood behind

our fire circle with bogsy wood behind

signs

signs

On the east fence along the woods I had more quotations painted on old boards, an ephemeral and last minute idea.  “A massive dose of inspiration should result in drastic action.  Be bold and never question inspiration-driven ideas.  Timidity results in inactivity and a stagnant or non-existent garden.”  (Thomas Hobbs)

and “Some people spend their time dreaming of a paradise in heaven.  I would rather create it here on earth.” (Jenny Ferguson)

Next comes one of my favourite gardening quotations, by Helen Dillon:  ” are always told that the first thing we must do on getting a garden is to make a plan…But, in fact, the last thing I ever want to do is make a plan–I feel weak just thinking about it. My idea of heaven was (and still is) to indulge in a lavish buying spree. And the consequences? Too bad. Bugger plans!”  It is something I always want to tell a potential client who asks me to drawn a plan.  Because I just can’t.  (Or, er, won’t.  Or am really simply artistically incapable of it.)

dillonsign

At the end of the east side grass path one turns left to a path leading by the bogsy wood swale than in winter is full of water.  Past the bridge the swale jogs over a bit to the north and curves around to the west fence….all full of water in winter.

swales

swales

blue door (in spring)

blue door (in spring)

In the center we had a big plant table of moss and ferns, inspired by George Schenk, that Allan had built for me from an old door.  We had fairy doors that Allan had found at Home and Garden Art (that shop on 85th in Seattle) and embellished with stairs (although a friend of ours pointed out the fairies don’t need stairs because they can fly.  So we say the stairs are for their pet frogs.)

When garden writer Jolly Butler came through on tour day (exciting!) she told me I simply must watch this video of the song “There are Fairies at the Bottom of My Garden.”

fairy door with stairs

fairy door with stairs

paths in the bogsy wood

paths in the bogsy wood

A plant table inspired by George Schenk sits to the right of the center path to bridge.

plant table with moss and ferns

plant table with moss and ferns

Down the center clearing, the view corridor to the port, one comes to the bridge to the southern gate.

the bridge

the bridge

And then, if one turns and looks back to the garden, one might be drawn back to the three large sunny borders.

looking north from the bogsy wood

looking north from the bogsy wood

On your way back, look to the right of the fire circle, back against the salmonberry, for another of my favourite garden quotations (and my big excuse for the rather huge amount of money I have spent on this garden).

the cost of pure joy

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July 21, 2012 : on tour day

view of back garden from screened south window

view of back garden from screened south window

through the arbour

through the arbour

We’ve walked through the front garden on Peninsula garden tour day and now have come to the rebar arbour through which we will enter the back yard.  This arbour holds memories as it was built by my former partner, Robert Sullivan, who created much beautiful garden art during the couple of years that he focused on welding.

To our right: the patio where Randy Browns plays his guitar.  Through the arbour and left: the greenhouse.

The green house...with, later in the day, the books that I had had displayed around the garden

The green house…with, later in the day, the books that I had had displayed around the garden

cat door and ramp

cat door and ramp

Again, in the back garden we had painted gardening quotations right on the house because one cannot “puncture the seal” of an older manufactured home.  Tour guests particular liked the one by the cat door:  “A garden without cats can scarcely by called a garden at all”, by beloved garden writer Beverley Nichols.

The slanted window by the cat door solved the winter problem of fierce storm winds blowing the door open. It turned out that even in summer, a cat likes to sit in the sun behind the window shelter.  There is often a bit of a kerfuffle as they jockey for position, or a series of catcalls as an aggressive neighbour cat decides to lurk right outside the door.

The mirror is attached, but to the metal door that provides access to the water heater.

looking south from the patio

looking south from the patio

To the left of the patio, above the gates, I had during the last day of preparation painted two more gardening quotations.

double gate

double gate

and….

quotation

sit spot by garden boat

sit spot by garden boat

Because “our” musician Randy Brown had the patio for his stage, we set up our usual patio sit spots on the lawn.

looking from the garden boat back toward the house

looking from the garden boat back toward the house

I named our garden boat for my favourite garden writer, Ann Lovejoy.  The mermaid stakes were original markers for vendors’ spots at the Ilwaco Saturday Market.  The bird bath is from Joy Creek Nursery.

Plant Vessel Ann Lovejoy

Plant Vessel Ann Lovejoy

The middle of the back garden is divided into three big beds, with lawn paths in between, and two narrow beds along the east and west side fences.

Here we stand behind the garden boat and look south.

Here we stand behind the garden boat and look south.

Here we look from the patio south, between the center and the west flower beds.

Here we look from the patio south, between the center and the west flower beds.

It truly was a pleasure watching the guests choose which path to wander.  I wish I had not been so overwhelmed and that I had followed some to see what they liked best.

west side path

west side path

wild rose quotationBy the west side path, a quotation written on a broken pot piece, next to a rambling rose:

Thriving on salt and sand and storms, the rosebushes behind the house climbed all over the paling fence and shot up long autumn sprays, disheveled and magnifecent.”

(Ursula Le Guin, The Sea Road

Halfway down the fence, another quotation on some old wood:  “Drinking the cold soup made from the chrysanthemums of dreams…”

mums

On the clothesline near the big east side flower bed, a sign showing how the garden looked in Nov. 2010.

On the clothesline near the big east side flower bed, a sign showing how the garden looked in Nov. 2010.
clotheline with Gram's pillow cases

clotheline with Gram’s pillow cases

All the beds in the backyard were made with the method shown above, by dumping soil on top of layered newspaper.

On the old clotheline I hung an embroidered workshirt and some pillow cases tatted and embroidered by my grandmother.  This proved to be a great hit and I saw many the tour guest photographing them.

Underneath: raspberries from my mom’s old garden.

By the east flower beds, another sit spot

By the east flower beds, another sit spot

My mother had died in 2010 just before we bought this land; one her best days ever had been when her own garden was on tour.  I put out a photo given to her by her neighbours of her standing with a shovel in her own garden.

Smokey by the east flower bed.

Smokey by the east flower bed.

Halfway down the center bed, Geranium 'Rozanne' river

Halfway down the center bed, Geranium ‘Rozanne’ river

I loved having achieved the river of Geranium ‘Rozanne’ running down the center bed (above, viewed from the side), blooming from June through October…inspired by a lecture by Adrian Bloom of Blooms of Bressingham.

halfway down the east bed, with Smokey

halfway down the east bed, with Smokey

purple camellia

purple camellia

After walking from the patio to the south on four choices of path, one ends up at the fire circle and shade gardens.  At the end of the west bed, guests took great pleasure in the purple painted remains of a sickly camellia bush.  I had told it two weeks before the tour that it had to shape up or say goodbye.  It continued to look sickly, so down came the foliage.  The painting was inspired by Ann Lovejoy; once upon a time I had toured her garden and found a dead shrub painted silver.

Ruth's Japanese lantern

Ruth’s Japanese lantern

Allan’s mother, Ruth, had a presence in the garden, too.  She had been a talented craftsperson and decorator and this lantern, made by her, had come out of her old garden in Seattle and now sits near the purple camellia trunk.

Between my grandmother and my mother and Allan’s mother we had a long tradition of gardening.

looking back up the west path

looking back up the west path

Looking back up the center bed

Looking back up the center bed

looking back up the east side

looking back up the east side

end of east flower bed

end of east flower bed

While the center beds are in full sun most of the time, I had had to make shade beds around the alder trees on either side of the fire circle.  Most of my plants brought from our old house liked shade.

The shade bed, below, was new the previous autumn and is just south of the purple camellia trunk.

shade bed

shade bed

Looking north over the shade bed...

Looking north over the shade bed…

Now we have come to the last flower bed before the bogsy woods, so I will stop here and give the woodsy alder grove an entry of their own.

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