The sun is getting warmer and the snow will melt. Think positive!
     Spring is only 22 days away - Our Grandson was born on the first day of spring!
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Growing tropical Cannas in your yard



I can remember the first time I saw the canna plant. I was on a family vacation in Florida and we were driving to Disney from the hotel. Because of the amount of traffic leading to the parks, the road was divided with a grass barrier to separate the traffic. In the style of Disney's Magic, this barrier was well planted with tropical trees, shrubs and flowers. I remember seeing large planting of cannas with bright orange, yellow and red flowers for height and surrounded for lower growing annuals like petunias, marigolds and geraniums.


The plantinga were beautiful but the canna looked like tobacco plants I had seen many time growing all over central Mass. while at college at the University of Mass. Central Massachusetts was once an area of the country where the tobacco plants were grown for their large leaves. These large leaves of tobacco were produced is such towns as Hadley, Northampton, Hatfield and south to Connecticut were, I was told, they were used as wrappers for cigars. So you thought that tobacco only grew in the Carolinas, and so did I--until college. To the untrained eye those cannas looked like tobacco with nice flowers on them--not very exciting, just a big flowering plant.


But today I have exciting news for you because the canna has been transformed into the "SPLASH "of color you always wanted for your summer garden, for your large containers--and even for your fish pond. Some people think cannas are lilies but that's not true, as they belong to the family of plants that has such members as bananas, gingers and heliconias. This is truly a tropical plant; it originated from the East Indies. They were brought to India and Africa by explorers and grown there for many years before they were introduced into European gardens during the mid-1800s.


The plant has a rhizomatous type rootstock (like the iris) in your perennial garden, but the plant produces large seedpods with seeds that are very hard and have a durable seed covering. That makes it possible to move the plant around the world easily without the plant dying during the move. If this rhizomatous type root system was not treated properly, it would dry up quickly and the plant would not survive the move--but the seed could.


The new varieties I want to tell you about are called "Tropicanna Canna" and were hybridized by the Anthony Tesselaar Plant Co. from Australia. Anthony himself found the first of the three new hybrids that his company has developed growing in Africa while visiting friends during a plant seeking tour. The early beginning was growing in a garden of a friend as a sport or sucker from the common canna. His team of hybridizers worked for several years to improve the plant to what it is today and they called the plant "Tropicanna." When you see it, you will know why!!

Before I tell you about the three new plants let me tell you about the original canna plant. First of all, as I told you earlier, the plant grows from a rhizome or swollen root, like the common iris that grows in your perennial garden. The plant could be divided every few years to make new clumps of plants. The original canna plant grew 3 to 5 individual tall-growing stems with big leaves that were broad, flat, oval, grew alternately on the stem. The noticeable veins that were raised on the leaf gave it most of its character. It had to be planted in mass to make a statement, but it was unique and if you lived in South Carolina and south, it was a perennial plant and it came back every spring in your garden.


The flowers were nice; they came in red, orange, yellow and some spotted varieties. The plant did flower most of the summer until the frost came in the fall, killing the plant back to the ground for the winter. The plants did stretch, and by the end of the season they looked tired and the flowers lost their excitement.

Now, about the new "Tropicana Cannas"


ONE: Tropicanna, the original, will grow 4 to 6 feet tall and wide, forms a clump of multi-headed stems--and new shoots continue to develop during the year, unlike the common canna. The stems of the plants are bright crimson-red. As the large leaves begin to unfurl, the drama will begin. These leaves are not green: they are several shades of crimson red, cream and green striped on the leaf; as the leaf matures, the colors continue to change, no two leaves look alike on the plant at the same time. The intensity of the color of the leaves is determined by the amount of sunshine the plant receives and the amount of water you provide the plant during the summer.


If that is not enough color for you, strong crimson stems begin to form on the top of the plant and long pointed red flower bud clusters form. The plant begins to flower in early July and the large blooms--4 to 6 inches in diameter--are brilliant tangerine-orange. They stay clean and the plant will continue to flower until a good hard frost. Try to place the plant in your garden or container where the sun is behind it, so you can enjoy the electrifying stained glass appearance to the entire plant on a sunny day, WOW! If the plant begins to get too tall for you, cut back the tall stems and new shoots will quickly develop at the base of the plant to replace the ones you removed.


TWO: Tropicana Gold, a sport/hybrid from Tropicanna that will also grow 4 to 6 feet tall and wide, forms a clump of new shoots and grows the same way as the original Tropicanna. The stems of this hybrid canna are bright kelly green, and the large leaves that form give you the appearance that they were painted on the plant. Each leaf has hundreds of alternating green and cream stripes on them that cover the leaf in such a pleasing fashion you will not be able to take your eyes off them. The lines of color run horizontal from the center of the leaf but curl up to the sides of the leaf.


Strong kelly-green stems begin to form long green flower bud clusters that open up to delight you with startling orange/yellow flowers with a speckled orange throat. As the flower matures, the flower will develop a ring of yellow on its edge, giving it additional color and texture. Like the other Tropicannas, make sure the sun is behind the plant so you can enjoy the stained glass appearance as the sun penetrates the foliage.


THREE: Tropicanna Black, the newest hybrid created by Tesselaar Plants, has something very unusual for you--magnificent foliage that has shades of purple blended with black on it. The foliage looks to be soft, smooth, and has a shimmering gloss to it, making the perfect contrasting plant for your garden or container. The color is similar to the dark-leaf sweet potato vine we all enjoy in our window boxes instead of vinca--but much richer looking. The stems are the same magnificent dark color. The leaves of this plant are a bit more narrow but still large and showy. The flower buds that form in clusters are vibrant scarlet, and when they open the large 4 to 6 inch flower just seems to explode above the plant. To enjoy this plant to the fullest you must plant regular green leaf plants at its base for the wonderful contrast it will produce.


All three types can be also set in a fish pond or tub of water if you can completely submerge the pot under water. The roots will keep the water clean, and when added to a water feature these new cannas plants will be just as exciting as the fish in the water. I added 2 pots of these cannas to my fish pond last year--and everyone who saw them loved them.


When you plant these Tropicanna cannas in your garden or container, add Espoma Plant-tone fertilizer directly in the hole and a handful around the plant on top of the soil. No additional fertilizer will be needed for the rest of the year. If growing in a container, the pot should be 24 inches or larger; the plant will need room to grow. Even a whiskey barrel with vines planted at its base will look incredible.


These plants love a moist to wet soil, so water often--especially during the hot days of summer. Try to keep plant out of the wind as the leaves are large and strong winds will tear them. In the fall, let the frost kill back the plant back to the ground, cut back the plant to the ground and then move the pot into a cool basement for the winter and keep it moist. If growing in a garden, cut back the plant the same way and dig the plant from the garden. Place the clump of rhizomes in a bushel basket or wooden box, cover with soil or peat moss for the winter, and keep moist. You can replant directly into the garden in early May, once the ground has warmed up, or can start them indoors in large container 4 weeks before planting into the garden for a head start on growth. Enjoy!!!



Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles Tribute
Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles Tribute

Purple leaf sweet potato vine

  Welcome to the dark side of your garden!


With the return of the new "Star Wars" movie this summer it may be time to create some changes to your flower gardens with plants with dark red to purple foliage, "The Dark Side". If you have never been a fan of dark foliage in your garden, I would love for you to try some of the following plants. Dark foliage will maximize your character in your flower beds, planters, window boxes and around water features and garden structures. If you're looking for elegance, combine dark foliage with grays, blue, and deep greens foliage plants. This spring let's create a garden or containers that will give you sultry richness of velvety purple combined with deep crimson. Be daring and combine near black leaves with magenta to pink flowers and foliage or deep burgundy and coppery browns. Dark foliage in all forms deserves a place in your gardens everywhere this spring and summer.


1} Purple Majesty millet: is a plant that resembles a miniature corn plant with purple foliage and with a purple 12 inch spike flower that slowly produces yellow flowers starting at the top and working its way down. The plant will grow 2 feet tall and 12 to 18 inches wide and is a wonderful annual. Looks great in gardens and planted in large containers in place of the common dracaena spike. The plant is free of disease and insect problems. The flower spike flower will produce many round bee bee shaped seed pods that are also purple. The flowers come on long and strong stems making them perfect to dry for the winter once the seed pods form. If you're looking for something different this plant is for you with great shape, foliage, and flowers.


2} Purple Knight Alternanthera: is a wonderful foliage plant that looks like Basil with larger foliage. The new growth is a greenish purple that quickly turns dark purple. The plant grows 12 inches plus tall and just as wide. The foliage is shiny with deep indented veins in it and elongated oval in shape to a point. No problems with disease or insects and I grew it in large planters with several other multi colored foliage plants. Colorful foliage is more attractive to me than a container of flowers, especially if you mix foliage textures and colors. In the fall dig up plants or take cuttings so you can enjoy indoors during the winter months. Return to the garden or containers in the spring.


3}Moses in the Bulrushes: is a wonderful vine like plant that resembles the Wondering Jew plant foliage. Plant in window boxes or planters in place of Vinca vine for great color all season long and watch the long branches of foliage reach to the ground. It will also produce 1 inch oval shaped flower bud cluster that produce lavender flowers. It is striking when mixed with everything from petunias to geraniums and even dusty miller with its silvery foliage. In the fall dig up the plant and plant in a hanging basket or take cuttings for 4 inch pots for the window sill. Enjoy indoors all winter long and then move the plants back out to your summer gardens.


4}The purple leaf Castor bean plant: A great tall growing plant with unique foliage that resembles the Chestnut tree leaves, like a hand with many fingers, leaf cluster is 12 to 15 inches in diameter. This plant will grow 2 to 4 feet tall and wide with bright purple foliage, shiny and sunken veins on it. The plant will produce flower cluster of tiny yellow flowers and when fertilized by the bees and wind. The 1 inch pods are covered with soft thorns will form on the plant and purple in color. The pods resemble the American chestnut and it does contain seeds in the pods. Let the pod dry and then pick pods and place in a paper bag until they break open. Save the seeds and store in a cool basement to plant again next year during late March indoors to transplant when the threat of frost is over. The plant is poisonous so keep out of garden where small children frequent. Insect and disease free makes this plant more enjoyable.


5} Persian Shield: is one of my favorites for containers or in a garden with oval leaves and to a point. The leaves are metallic purple in color with deep sunken veins that give the foliage much character. The foliage a royal velvet appearance and when planted with silvery or gray foliage plants it is truly striking. The plant will grow 12 to 15 inches tall and just as wide. No disease or insect problems so mix this plant with fine texture foliage like dusty miller for striking appearance. Plants can be dug in the fall and potted or take cuttings to root in pots to enjoy all winter long.

Persian shield

6} Begonia Linda Dawn: This is a wonderful Angel leaf type of begonia with purple foliage and pink and white flowers giving this plant much contrast and much character. The new leaves develop with a burgundy red color that in time will turn deep purple and in the shape of an Angel's wing. Leaves have sunken veins on top of leaf and raised veins on the underside of the leaf and they are shiny. The plant will grow 12 to 18 inches tall and just as wide. No disease problems as well as insect's problems on this plant. Mix with other colored foliage plants or flowering plants in containers or window boxes. In the fall dig plants and pot for great winter color in your home for the winter or take cuttings.


7} Atriplex or Mountain Spinach: This wonderful annual looks wonderful in your garden as it will grow 3 to 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Put in the same garden as The Purple leaf Caster Bean plant for great contrast. The foliage is deep purple with pink sunken veins and the new growth begins all pink and as it ages the foliage will change to deep purple. You will find the seeds in the same area of catalogs as vegetables rather than ornamental plants. This plant is fast growing and when the heat of summer arrives and your spinach goes to seed you can eat the foliage fresh out of the garden raw or cooked. When young pinch the tip of the plant to make the plant develop side shoots and remove any green leaves that form on the plant. Remove most of the seed heads as they form to keep plant producing new purple foliage. If you allow a few seed heads to remain on the plant, seeds will form and fall to the ground starting new pants for the fall season. Dig young plants in the fall and bring indoors before the freezing weather begins for great color and tasty foliage.


8} Dark leaf Dahlias: This a wonderful looking dahlia plant with dark purple leaves, Purple stems, and Purple flower buds. This dahlia will produce a yellow daisy like flower with an orange center. The plant will grow 18 to 24 inches tall and 12 to 15 inches wide and the flower stems are long and strong. A great plant to use in large containers or plant directly in your flower garden. Also wonderful for cutting and flower arrangements. No disease problems or insect problems. Dig the bulbs in the fall after the frost has killed back the foliage and store in your basement or crawl space under your home. This plant will catch the eye of even long time gardeners and bring a smile to their face.

Purple shamrocks

9} Purple Shamrocks, {Oxalis triangularis Atropurpurea}: this unique plant has a 3 segmented leaf that are triangular in shape. The leaf has deep purple edges, with a purple-pink center and smooth but not shiny. Grows in a clump and is a bulb, so grow in a pot so that when fall comes you can bring it into the house for the winter or place it in the basement and let it go dormant for a couple of months and then water for a fresh start. The plant does produce small white flowers but the foliage is the reason for this plant. This plant is great for a deck or patio, for summer color. Plant 3 to 5 bulbs in a 10 inch pot. I like to place several pots together in a grouping for a special effect. If you allow the plants to rest from fall September to January and then add water it come back to life for a fresh start and last for many years


10} Sweet potato Vine: is a wonderful   vigorous vine for containers or use it as an annual ground cover as each plant will spread up to 10 feet. Use several colors of sweet Potato vines for special effects. "Blackie" is one of the first dark leaf varieties but now look for" Sweet Carolina Purple" with deeply cut lobes and less aggressive for containers. You can also use "Ace of Spades", "Black Beauty" or "Black Heart" who have heart shaped leaves. Grown in full sun will give them the darkest colored foliage. In the fall take cuttings and grow indoors as a house plant or dig up the large tuberous roots and store them in a cool dry place packed in peat moss like you would do with Dahlias.


All these plants will do very well in your gardens and give you months of wonderful colorful foliage. When you plant be sure to add a pinch of soil Moist granules to help with water retention during the heat of summer. Fertilize with Dynamite times released fertilizer once a year at time of planting, or use an organic fertilizer like Neptune Harvest Fish and Seaweed fertilizer or Fertilome Blooming and Rooting plant food every couple of weeks. Enjoy!





Summer flowering beach roses.



The best known and most loved type of rose in the family of roses is the beach rose. The Rosa Rugosa has it all, including a "FRAGRANT" flower that is hard to find today in the rose garden. As the flower fades, a one inch diameter orange red tomato-like fruit develops at the base of the stem where the flower once was. The fruit will color up in late July to early August and last well into the fall. You can eat the fleshy part of the rose fruit, as it is rich in vitamin E.

The Rosa Rugosa is a shrub rose and, unlike the typical rose bush you plant in the garden, has its own root system. The typical rose bush is grafted to a different root system, to make it strong enough to survive the winter where you live. Because the beach rose has its own roots, it is able to spread with underground stems that form from those roots to start new plants away from the main plant.


The beach rose has rough-looking deep green leaves that are shiny, with rounded teeth on the edge of the leaf margin. Each leaf is thick and will have from 3 to 7 individual leaflets making up the leaf. Older leaves have higher leaflet count and the leaf just below the flower always has 3 leaflets. The veins on the leaf are sunken into the foliage and very noticeable. The plant develops into a rounded mound of stems, and each of those stems is covered with flowers in June. You can grow the plant as a single mound-type rose bush if you remove the suckering branches that develop continuously around the plant.


The flowers are 2 to 3.5" in diameter and mostly single blossoms. Single flowering types have a single row of petals that are flat and number 5 petals--like a rosette. Today you can find new hybrids that are double-flowering and often resemble a carnation bloom. The flower color will range through white, pink, red and mauve. The center of the flower is filled with many yellow stamens, giving it additional color. Each flower will bloom for 2 weeks or more on the plant. If you cut a fresh bloom just opening and place it in a bowl or brandy snifter filled with water, it will float easily and bring fragrance to your kitchen table. It will last several days.


The Rosa Rugosa will grow 4 to 6 feet tall but with pruning you can keep it at any height you want. When planted on 3 foot centers in a row, they will make a wonderful hedge planting. Make the planting bed 3 feed wide to allow room for the new shoots to develop and in just 2 to 3 years your individual plants will fill in the entire bed with new shoots, creating a solid hedge. Your only maintenance will be removing the shoots that develop in the lawn area from the hedge. Cover the bed with 2 to 3 inches of compost or bark mulch to keep the weeds out.


Rosa Rugosa, or beach rose, will grow "ANYWHERE," even at the beach in the sand. If you have a sunny, well drained place in your yard that where nothing seems to grow, think about planting a beach rose. When planting, use the same method as any other plant in your garden by conditioning the hole and surrounding soil with animal manure and compost to get the plant off to a good start. I always use a soil conditioner like Soil Moist in sandy soil to help hold moisture around the roots. Soil Moist will hold 200 times the moisture in the soil that peat will, and only a couple of tablespoons are needed per plant. Think about this, two tablespoons of Soil Moist will hold 400 tablespoons of water around the roots of a plant that is growing in a sandy soil. Less watering is necessary, and once it is established it can take care of itself. Fertilize in the spring and again in June with granular organic rose fertilizer and enjoy a garden of roses all summer long. One last thing about this rose is disease resistance, unlike most other roses. Enjoy!



Bobby Hebb - Sunny
Bobby Hebb - Sunny


Sunny day are coming and the snow is going to melt 

"Adapt the pace of nature; here secret is patience "
Ralph Waldo Emerson



Mississippi Mud Pie


If you love Chocolate and whip cream, then this is the pie for you or if your tied up with a busy day, use a pre-made Oreo cookie pie crust from the dairy case right near the gram cracker pie shell. I love the home made piecrust better

 but when you have a lot to do the pre made crust will do the job for you.





Pie dough:

8 ounces or 1 cup all-purpose flower, plus a little extra for dusting

2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa

6 ounces of unsalted butter or 1 and half sticks

2 tablespoons sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons of cold water



6 ounces of unsalted butter or 1 and half stick

12 ounces or 1 cup of packed brown sugar

4 jumbo eggs, lightly beaten

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, sifted

5 ounces of unsweetened chocolate morsels or chips

10 fluid ounces, 1 cup of light cream

1 teaspoon of chocolate extract

To decorate the pie:

15 ounces or 2 cups of heavy cream, whipped

Chocolate flakes and curls


Steps to make pie:


1} To make the pie dough, sift the flower and cocoa into a mixing bowl. Let the butter soften at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. Rub in the butter in cubes with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Stir in the sugar and enough cold water to mix to soft dough. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.


2} Roll out the dough on a lightly floured counter and use to fill a 9 inch ceramic or glass pie dish. Cover the pie crust with parchment paper and fill with a one pound package of dried beans. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and take out the parchment paper and beans. Bake the shell for an additional 10 minutes. If you short of time use a premade Oreo cookie pie crust and skip number 1 and 2


3} To make the filling, beat the softened butter and sugar together in a bowl and gradually beat in the eggs with the cocoa.

 Melt the chocolate chips and beat it into the mixture with the light cream and the chocolate extract.


4} Reduce the oven temperature to 325. Pour the mixture into the shell and bake for 45 minutes, or until the filling has set.


5} Let the Mud pie cool completely, and transfer to a serving plate, if you like or keep in the pie plate. Cover with

the big mound of whipped cream. Decorate the pie with chocolate flakes and curls and then chill until you're ready to serve. To make the flakes and curls I use a potato peeler and shave a medium to large chocolate bar over the pie.

 Make sure the chocolate bar is solid, so I place it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or more before shaving.


 If you like dark chocolate use dark chocolate chips and dark chocolate bar for flakes and curls. The pie will serves 8 normal people or 4 chocolate lovers. Loosen your belt and eat. Enjoy with a cup of fresh made coffee or hot chocolate.




                       Our cabins are sold out but the Ship has three cabin available  -

                  don't miss out on this wonderful trip call today if you are interested




Monday July 27 - Boston, MA -
Depart on your overnight trans-Atlantic flight to Prague, Czech Republic.

Tuesday, July 28- Prague, Czech Republic
Settle into you hotel, Hilton Praguea,for the next two evenings. Explore Prague at your leisure.

Wednesday-July 29 -
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, and a free day to explore the city at your own pace. Perhaps visit the Communist Musem: sample the local plum dumplings and Pilsner; stroll along the Vltava River(B)

Thursday- July 30
After breakfast at the hotel, you will have time to discover Prague's treasures. You will depart your hotel in the early afternoon to embark on the Avalon Visionary in Nuremberg (approx.. 3 hour drive) Welcome Reception and Dinner onboard (B, D)

Friday - July 31 - Nuremberg
Today, choose from an included guided sightseeing tour and marvel at this 1,000-year-old city's medieval fortifications. Extraordinary gothic churches, and Kaiserburg(Imperial Castle) or join a more specialized Nuremberg Rally Grounds Tour. Enjoy a tranquil afternoon of cruising. Take in an interesting onboard lecture about the engineering marvel that is the Main Danube Canal (B,L,D)

Saturday, August 1- Regensburg
Some of today's highlights during your guided wall will include Altes Rathaus (old Time Hall), Porta Pretoria and 12th-century Steinerne Brucke (Stone Bridge). Enjoy an included snack at historische Wurskuche, one of the oldest restaurants. Before Dinner, join us for a beer tasting of some of Germany's most famous beers.(B,L,D)

Sunday, August 2 - Passau-Linz, Austria
This morning, dock in Passau uniquely located where the INN, Ilz and the Danube Rivers converge. Passau is a maze of cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. St Stephen's Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian Baroque architecture, house one of the world's largest church organs with 17, 774 pipes. Take in the highlights on the included guided walk. Then sail to Linz, Austria's 3rd largest town, which lies on both banks of the Danube (B, L, D)

Monday, August 3 - Melk-Vienna
This morning enjoy a included guided visit of Melk's magnificent 11th century Benedictine Abbey, which houses an ornate library with over 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. During lunchtime, cruise through Wachau Valley a UNESCO world Heritage site. Arrive in Vienna this evening.(B, L, D)/p>

Tuesday, August 4 - Vienna

Your included city tour with your local guide includes sites such as the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace Complex, the Neo-Renaissance Vienna Opera House, and St Stephen's Cathedral. Spend some time in the delightful pedestrian Karntnerstrasse to enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel Depart for Budapest. (B, L, D)

Wednesday, August 5 - Budapest, Hungary
On your guided sightseeing tour, see Heroes' Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen's Bastion & 11th century Matthias Church, the coronation spot of several Hungarian menarches. Be sure to take note of the city's 8 bridges - many famous sites in and of themselves which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with pest on left bank. You may even want to walk across Chain Bridgebuilt in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. (B, L, D)

Thursday August 6 - Budapest (disembarkation)
After breakfast you will be transferred to your hotel. The day is free to explore Budapest at your leisure (b).

Friday, August 7 - Budapest to Boston
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before you prepare for your transfer to the airport and you flight home.

For more information :
Largay Travel Inc.
625 Wolcott Street
Waterbury, CT 06705



Garden Journal

        Garden Journal - A garden is a friend you can visit any time. Gardens require planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This book makes a great gift for gardeners, family, friends, birthdays, Christmas, new home or as a self purchase.

Cover holds a 5 x7 or 4x6 photo, Heavy-duty D-ring binder

1. 8 tabbed sections
2. 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags....
3. Weather records page
4. 6 three year journal pages
5. Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
6. 3 annual checklist pages
7. Plant wish list page
8. 2 large pocket pages
9. Sheet of garden labels
10. 5 garden detail sheets
11. 5 graph paper pages for layouts
12. 5 photo pages holds - 4- 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format

Journal, Planning, Inspirations. 

 To Order call 207-590-4887

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $31.95!  special!


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