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Gardening tips for May long

Summer has virtually arrived with the May long weekend and that means many gardeners will be busy in the backyard.

For those wondering what can be planted and what can’t because of the chillier temperatures at night, Rick Van Duyvendyk of Dutch Growers and host of Garden Talk on 980 CJME and 650 CKOM has some answers.

“You can get all your seeds in the ground, that’s important,” he explained. “Get your potatoes in the ground, your onions, your garlic, you can get a lot of your pea seeds in the ground, your beans. You can plant a lot of those kind of things.”

However, Van Duyvendyk added gardeners have to be careful about bedding plants this early into the warmer months.

“Like your tomatoes and peppers and some of the cabbage, cucumbers because [of] the late night temperatures.”

He said it’s a good idea to harden these plants off, which means keeping them out during the day and bringing them in at night for a few days so they become acclimatized.

Don’t have a backyard or garden? No problem.

“Container gardening is becoming huge,” he said.

Van Duyvendyk recommended buying a potting soil that’s sufficient at holding moisture

Garden Talk airs on 980 CJME and 650 CKOM Sundays at 9 a.m.

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Carol Klein’s Top Gardening Tips!

As Carol Klein prepares to co-host coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show, she offers her top tips for spring gardening

Carol Klein

Ahead of next week’s extensive Chelsea Flower Show coverage on BBC1, Gardeners’ World’s Carol Klein, who will co-present the show, shares her tips with TV Times for what you should be doing in your own gardens at this time of year…


1 Do the ‘Chelsea Chop
“If you have perennials like phlox take the plant down to about eight inches with a sharp pair of secateurs. You could do the whole plant or alternate stems and then they will branch out and you will get the flowers a bit later than usual and you will get more of them.”


2 Deadhead your daffodils and tulips
“It has been a great year for these but take the heads off now if you haven’t already. Don’t chop the foliage down though, even though it might look messy. It will soon go and the bulbs need those nutrients from the old foliage and you get better flowering next year.”


3 Put out your tender plants
“We should be frost-free now so it is worth taking a chance to put out your tender plants from cosmos to squashes. You can use newspaper to insulate if you need to – it is just as good as fleece – but weight it down if it is windy.”


4 It’s not too late to start some things from seed
“If you’ve forgotten about seeds, hardy annuals like poppies and love-in-a-mist are great to be sown directly now. Just clear a patch of ground and sow it through a border and they will grow later this year.”


5 Earth up your potatoes
“You should be putting extra compost in and take it right up the shoot to give you a bigger crop. If you haven’t got your potatoes in yet or if you haven’t got a garden you can plant them in special fold-up bags and use compost. Push them in and pot them up when they start coming through.”

The Chelsea Flower Show airs on BBC1 and BBC2 from Sunday


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Growing strong: Tips and tricks for beginner gardeners in Regina

Some seasoned gardeners already have seeds in the ground, but the general rule of (green) thumb is to get plants in after the May long weekend, according to a local longtime Saskatchewan grower.

Grow Regina’s Ian Monteith shared his tips and tricks about what beginner planters need to know as they move into the growing season. 

Why should you plant? 

Gardening isn’t a chore — rather, it’s the greatest activity in the world, in Monteith’s eyes. 

“You’re never going to find a stressed gardener,” he said. “It’s a relaxing hobby.”

Gardening is a chance to try something new, and Monteith said it brings people together, especially if it’s done in a community garden, like Grow Regina’s at 3500 Queen St.

“It’s kind of like cooking, because you can try out different things all the time,” he said. “It’s always a discovery and you get to meet people, too.”

Grow Regina Ian Monteith  community gardens

Ian Monteith urges new planters to get in touch with their local plant nursery or garden centre if they have questions. (Kendall Latimer/CBC)

He said there are gardeners from all over the world, including Somalia, China, Afghanistan, India and Bangladesh, who have plots in Grow Regina’s community garden.

“Everybody here is contented and happy working in their plots.” 

Gardening can also be turned into a family affair. Kids don’t have to be left out of the garden, Monteith said, noting it’s a healthy activity. 


Monteith says radishes are a great crop for new gardeners, especially kids, to start with. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

“I had my first garden when I was five years old,” he said. His father built a radish patch for him out back, and he’s been hooked ever since.

“Anybody can grow radishes, so if you have children that’s a wonderful thing to start them off with.” 

What should you plant?

Monteith said you can grow virtually anything found in a supermarket, but some vegetables will fare better than others. 

“There’s no shortage of things that you can grow,” he said, listing potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce and beans as popular choices.

He cautioned against growing watermelons and cantaloupes, because he’s seen several people try without success. 

“Tomatoes are probably one of the most popular crops and there’s lots of different varieties and lots of different favourite ways gardeners have of growing them.” 

Garden tool garden pitch fork community Ian Monteith

Asparagus is a perennial that can produce vegetables for years. However, it is a commitment because it can take two or three years to start producing, Ian Monteith said. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

Don’t be afraid to ask somebody at your local nursery or garden centre ​about what’s likely to produce. At the very least, Monteith said, the internet and books are full of great tips. 

What tools do you need? 

A garden fork, a good rake and a hand trowel are the basic necessities when it comes to tools. 

“Beyond that, you don’t need a lot,” Monteith said, adding a handy water source on site is also helpful. 

The amount a gardener will need to water the plants depends of the weather, but Monteith said plants generally need at least one to two inches of water per week.

Grow Regina Community Gardens YARA

Monteith said it’s not too late for those who haven’t planted yet. ‘The rule of thumb is after the long weekend in May,’ he said. (Kendall Latimer/CBC)

He said gardeners should also be mindful of how much sun their plants will get. 

Monteith has his garden in a 10-by-30-foot plot, and said the best thing for a beginner to do would be to start out small. 

Don’t try to take on too much. Grow things that are appropriate for this hardiness zone,” he said. 

What about the soil? 

“Condition the soil, because in Regina, most of our soil is clay gumbo so you’re kind of starting off with bad soil or difficult soil to work.” 

That means mixing in compost, sheep or steer manure, or peat moss, and working it to build it up.

‘You put some seeds in the ground and you give it water and some things are going to come up.’
– Ian Monteith, Grow Regina 

As for fertilizer, Monteith said its use is debated amongst gardeners.

“Gardeners all have different ways of doing things,” he said.

“You’ll find what works for you.” 

Some gardeners refuse to fertilize, some stick with manure, and some are diligent about putting a balanced fertilizer down in the trench. 

Garden tools Regina community garden

Ian Monteith picks off the bottom leaves of the tomato plant seedling, scrapes one side of the stem with a knife and plants it on its side, so it grows roots out of the stem and strengthens the system. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

“You can get by with a lot of different sorts of feeding regimens, and don’t worry about it too much, ’cause you put some seeds in the ground and you give it water and some things are going to come up.” 

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A roundup of gardening tips

Today’s column will address three completely separate issues, so apologies ahead of time if things seem to be a little disjointed.

First, let’s take a quick look at an interesting muscadine grape insect problem. As long as they’re pruned properly on an annual basis, muscadine grapes are about as reliable and trouble-free as any home fruit crop we can grow in eastern North Carolina. However, unusual problems will show up from time to time, including abnormal growths caused by the grape tumid gallmaker.

Among woody plants such as trees, shrubs and woody vines, most galls are formed by gall wasps, gall midges or gall mites. Damage to the host plant is usually minor, so relatively little research has been carried out on biology and control.

According to an NC State information note on the subject (Galls on Oaks, ENT/ort-05), the galls are caused by powerful enzymes given off by the immature gall-forming insects as they grow and develop. Plant tissue can be altered even to the point of replication of chromosomes, without cell division. The visual result is a fascinating array of different forms, shapes and colors, depending on the insect species involved.

There is no need to spray insecticides for the grape tumid gallmaker, but you should definitely remove with pruners or by hand any galls that you locate on your vine. Galls can occur on the leaves, stems, tendrils and blossom buds, and can result in injury if the population is allowed to grow unchecked.

Secondly for today, Extension entomologist Steven Frank has been fielding a lot of questions lately regarding the use of neonicotinoids on milkweed, and the potential risk to monarch butterflies. His recently posted article “Will Neonicotinoids on Milkweed Hurt Monarchs?” is important reading, as there is a great deal of commentary on the internet and elsewhere that is not rooted in science. For example, one interesting point I’ve heard from NC State entomology staff recently, and which definitely goes against the prevailing tide of internet discussion, is that neonicotinoids are generally not active against caterpillars.

However, if you do have concerns about this situation, please review Frank’s article at

Finally, in a recent N.C. Urban Forest Council newsletter, N.C. State extension horticulture specialist Barb Fair tells us that we are in the midst of a serious shortage of landscape plants that is likely to continue for years.

The problem originates in the market crash of 2008 and 2009. During those years and afterward, demand for landscape plants diminished to the point that everyone from liner producers to field growers was forced to make difficult decisions about excess inventory. Large amounts of nursery stock were simply destroyed, because there’s still a cost to getting plants out of the field even to just give them away.

With the rebounding of the housing and financial markets, demand for new trees and shrubs has increased, but supply is falling far short of current and projected demand.

I’m uncertain as to what extent this has already become noticeable at the local garden center level, but there’s no question that the shortage will become more and more evident this year and next. Landscape contractors and homeowners will often find themselves settling for smaller trees at higher cost; or paying a premium for extra-large stock that had been sitting in the fields or container nurseries waiting for the economic dust to settle.

Either way, please don’t blame the garden centers, as they’ll just be playing the cards they’re dealt.


Tom Glasgow is the Craven County Extension director. Contact him at





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When Pinterest fails: real gardening tips that actually work in West Jordan

By Natalie Conforto |

Sarah Oler, a
stay-at-home-mother of four in West Jordan, cultivates her garden as a hobby, a
true food source and a way to teach her boys some table manners. She has found methods
to make her backyard blossom as the rose, even in this tough, rocky West Jordan
soil that has foiled many a hopeful local gardener. Her secret is letting nature’s
recycling program do the work, with a little help from manure, eggshells and

How many
5-year-olds voluntarily eat asparagus? Oler has found that when her boys watch
something grow in the garden, or better yet, harvest it themselves, they are
more likely to eat it when it appears on their plates for dinner.

“I love that
they can just pick some asparagus to eat when they want a snack,” Oler said. “I
don’t think we’ve ever brought raspberries into the house—they all get eaten in
the backyard,”

The Olers have
15 raspberry canes, which they keep productive all summer by mulching often
with the pruned clippings of their own fruit trees. This sustainable cycle
keeps expenses low and yield high.

A “food forest”
spans the south end of the Olers’ backyard, where perennial plants grow
basically maintenance-free, supporting each other in their own ecosystem. Unlike
annual garden plants, which stifle each other when grown too closely together,
the plants in the food forest thrive in close proximity, mimicking a real
forest. It contains a larger canopy of apple and cherry trees, a sub-canopy of
larger shrubs and bushes such as goji berries, gooseberries, valerian and roses,
medicinal herbs including comfrey, oregano, and thyme, groundcovers of
strawberries, caledula and mallow, and root crops of onions, carrots and beets.

“Mother nature
likes to keep herself covered,” Oler said, citing that groundcovers help retain
water and suppress unwanted weeds.

Four garden
boxes line the Olers’ north backyard, where they grow typical annual garden
plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce and kale. In the winter, they
let everything naturally erode rather than yanking out all the dead plants. Leaving
the plants intact helps to preserve the soil structure, while pulling them out
would collapse the networks created by the roots and stems. Dried husks of last
year’s tomato plants are still evident in March. When planting time arrives
after Mother’s Day, Oler will prepare her beds by going through with a shovel
and breaking up the soil and dried stems, which will just add to the soil
makeup for this year.

“Don’t till your
soil,” Oler said. “Just gently fold in soil additives so that your soil
structure remains intact and microorganisms can thrive. The microorganisms are
what give you healthy soil.”  

The Olers don’t
have to shell out the cash for fancy compost. Instead, they make their own.

“I’m not a
vegetable farmer; I’m a soil farmer,” Oler said, adding that she couldn’t
emphasize enough how important compost is for her soil. The Olers keep an empty
5-quart size ice cream tub on their kitchen counter, where they deposit leavings
such as banana and orange peels, peach pits and overripe fruits and veggies.
Every couple of days, Oler will empty the waste into one of her “worm tubes” in
her garden boxes, or bury it in her garden compost trench, adding shredded
newspaper or dead leaves as a carbon to balance with the nitrogen of the food
waste. The food in the tubes attracts the worms that are already in her yard,
and their “castings,” (ahem, poop) further enhance the soil. Months later, the
waste will decompose into fine compost. For more information on worm tubes,

“Don’t throw
away any of your organic matter,” Oler said. She doesn’t even toss her weeds. Instead,
she lays plucked weeds back onto the soil and allows nature to devour them,
incorporating their substance into rich compost.

Eggshells are
another part of Oler’s soil nutrient regimen. Each week, one of her boys is
tasked with smashing the eggshells left after breakfast into a 5-gallon bucket
in the garage. By early April, the bucket is half full of fine eggshell bits,
and ready to be scattered into the garden beds. Oler said that the eggshells
“add calcium, and help prevent blossom-end rot in tomatoes.”

Oler explained
how she enriches her compost for free.

“In West Jordan,
there are plenty of horse properties, and many people are willing to give away
their manure,” she said. “Just make sure that it’s been sitting there for a
full year, and it will be superfine and light: the perfect top layer for
planting seeds or starter plants.” Oler knows the manure is ready for her
garden when it doesn’t give off that barnyard fragrance.

Oler’s methods
not only economize the available organic matter from her yard, but they also
conserve her family’s budget. She has found that her harvest-time grocery bills
are significantly lower, and her family of six feasts on fresh, nutritious
produce all summer long.  


Backyard gardener Sarah Oler
recommends these gardening holidays.

New Year’s Day

Order seeds

Plan your garden plots

Valentine’s Day

Prune your trees and save the

Start tomato and pepper seeds

St. Patrick’s Day

Start watermelon and cucumber
seeds indoors


Prepare garden beds:

Roughly chop dried stalks, organic matter with a shovel

Empty worm towers and replace in the ground

Add any soil amendments like crushed eggshells

Sprinkle on other organic matter such as fall leaves,
dried grass stalks and deciduous tree prunings (not pine) cut into short

Top dress with a few inches of manure compost

Plant cool climate crops: peas, carrots, garlic, onions,
lettuces, spinach, broccoli, kale (mid-April)

Mother’s Day

The week before planting, harden off seedlings grown

Water your seedlings well and plant into the garden. Make
sure the soil in the pot is level with the garden soil.

For tomatoes, remove bottom set of leaves and plant your
seedling 1–2 inches below the next set of leaves.

Plant zucchini, winter squash, green beans, cucumbers,
melons, indoor seedlings and any other vegetable seeds

Water well

When plants emerge, add mulch such as older grass
clippings, leaves, straw or untreated wood chips

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Spring Gardening Tips from Pro Landscape Designers

Nothing is better come spring than grass under your feet, gloves on your mitts, and a tinge of warmth in the air—well, those things and a handful of spring gardening tips from the best in the business. Even seasoned gardeners might feel paralyzed by all there is to do and what matters most when the world goes electric with new buds and leaves. (It’s not always easy being green, as they say.) So we consulted some top landscape and garden architects to get their best spring gardening tips. To make this whole “happy plants, happy life” thing go a little more smoothly.

Look ahead.

Spring is a time to enjoy fresh new growth, flowers, and extremely favorable natural lighting that illuminates our gardens—my advice is to both soak in this spring beauty but at the same time analyze what is missing so that next year is even better. Do not ever get static or bored in your garden. Gardens are a place to take risks and experiment with color, texture, and form. —Bernard Trainor, Bernard Trainor + Associates

The lush gardens at Joan and Sandy Weill’s Sonoma Valley residence include a section planted with roses, zinnias, delphiniums, phlox, coneflowers, and periwinkles.

Get thee to a nursery.

Well in my line of work, start getting fit for spring in January! Never be far from your best bulb and plant nursery catalogues. I make notes on all the gardens constantly, as I’m always striving for yet more beauty and wonderful timings and combinations as things unfurl. —Miranda Brooks, Miranda Brooks Landscape Design

At this East Hampton, New York, home, a gate, surrounded by ‘Albéric Barbier’ roses and white Clematis terniflora, leads from the vegetable garden to a path mowed through the grass. Rhubarb and lilies grow at the base.

Edit, edit, edit. Think big. Be bold.

If you want to have an impact, large numbers of a single plant material can be very dramatic and unexpected. In general, I prefer to see no more than three plants together in a single area. My pet peeve is the use of “onesy” and “twosy” plants that ends up looking like a busy mess. —Andrea Cochran, Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture

Every tree in this northeastern Ohio topiary garden owned by Cil Draime is trimmed twice a year.


Plants are always happier under a thick, coarse layer of natural mulch. Don’t get the chunky wood bark nuggets from the hardware store, go to a landscape supply yard and get the rough, imperfect looking stuff. It’ll grey out in the sun and look beautiful, and keep the roots of your plants cool and healthy. Embrace your inner hippy and mulch mulch mulch. —David Godshall, Terremoto

For Oscar de la Renta’s Connecticut garden, color is key in the landscape. Blue agapanthus is in striking contrast to the distant green landscape.

Plant native plants.

Insects and birds will suddenly start hanging out in your garden with you. You’ll be greeted with birdsong and the buzz of bees, and there’s nothing better than a garden that ecologically vibrates. —David Godshall, Terremoto

In the distinctive hornbeam walk of a Sussex, England, garden, two parallel rows of eight brush-head hornbeams march on tall bare trunks toward a Lutyens-style bench flanked by tubs of silver Salix integra ‘Hakuro Nishiki.’

Fill your garden with objects of your life.

Maybe if you go to the desert one weekend, find a small beautiful rock that you come across and take it home, and place it somewhere in your garden. With time your garden will become a confluence of your life experiences, which is lovely. Do this sparingly, of course! —David Godshall, Terremoto

A rock garden of ferns and spring flowers is sited at the edge of the woods on a sprawling Westchester, New York, property.

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Gardening guru to share tips and tricks

Green thumbs rejoice – Sabrina Hahn will host a free gardening workshop in Bunbury in June.

Sabrina Hahn will host a free gardening workshop in Bunbury in June.

ABC’s gardening guru Sabrina Hahn is preparing to host a gardening workshop at the Leschenault Community Nursery in Bunbury.

Hahn is expected to share her knowledge on creating a waterwise garden which requires minimal fertiliser, without compromising on style and using resilient local native plants.

The aim is to encourage attendees to plant native species that require less water and fertiliser to reduce the run-off entering local waterways.

There will also be plenty of native plants for sale and nursery staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer additional gardening questions.

The free event will be held on Saturday, June 18 between 10am and 12pm at the Leschenault Community Nursery.

The workshop is made possible by the state government’s Royalties for Regions program funding of the Regional Estuaries Initiative.

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Gardening tips from Stone Cross Garden Centre

The experts at Stone Cross Garden Centre reveal why there is so much to love about these often overlooked bedding superstars.

May is a special and colourful time at the Garden Centre, everywhere you look there are plants coming to bud. Everything from the large blooms of Geraniums, the small delicate flowers of Alyssum, colourful shrubs, roses, acer trees and of course beautiful perennials. May is the month to transform your garden.

One plant that is often overlooked, but is a favourite, is the bedding plant Gazanias. The “Frosty Kiss Mix” have fabulous giant star shaped blooms. They are easy to grow, can be planted earlier than other bedding as they are half hardy, drought tolerant and even sturdy enough to stand up to summer rain. Growing upto ten inches in height with grey and green foliage they add interest to mixed bedding displays especially when planted with Lobelia, Begonias and Cineraria.

May is and extremely busy month in the garden. The warmer weather means lawns need mowing weekly, weeds outstrip the speed of your plants growth and everything needs, more watering. It is best to do this early in the morning and in the evening as the water can penetrate the soil and get down to the plants roots where it is needed most. Watering in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest means lots of the water is evaporated, plus you risk getting water on the leaves which magnifies the sunlight and can then burn leaving you with unsightly brown and black spots.

Ceanothus often known as the Californian Lilac. There are different forms from the low growing “thyrsiflorus var. repens” that grows just three feet with a spread of unto eight feet, to the tree form “Trewithen Blue” that grows upwards of twenty feet with a spread of twenty-five feet.

They are evergreen and mainly have green foliage. The size of the leaves vary depending on the variety. There is also the “thyrsiflorus El Dorado” variety that has variegated foliage. All Ceanothus are hardy, love sun and can withstand all but full coastal winds. The real party piece of Ceanothus is that they are smothered in blue flowers in May and June! There is an exception. Ceanothus “Autumnal Blue” waits until August before bursting into bloom and these flowers last well into October.

Black Eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta, yellow flowers

Black Eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta, yellow flowers


May often has us all trying to predict the weather. There is a temptation to get planting but be careful of late frosts that can kill tender bedding and vegetable plants. It is a good idea to keep some fleece and cloches on standby in case frost is predicted.

As for plants not to miss out on herbaceous perennials are fantastic plants that can really give that cottage feel. They brighten evergreen shrub borders and can be grown in front of hedges to bring them to life. A few stand out perennials to consider and will make a difference in your garden are:

Astilbe “Fanal” – wine red fluffy plumes held on stems above serrated green foliage. They thrive in boggy moist soil.

Lamprocapnos, known as Bleeding Heart offers dainty heart shaped flowers with small tear drop bases. Keep well watered but also perfect full sun or part shade.

Erysimum “Bowles Mauve” known as an Everlasting Wallflower. It is a long flowering perennial with vivid deep mauve flowers that is great in full sun or partial shade.

Also why not plant perennials for autumn colour:

Agapanthus or African Lily – strap-like foliage with large globe trumpet blooms – July into September. It is best grown in a pot as if the roots are not confined it rarely flowers.

Japanese Anemone, great for adding autumn colour. Masses of cup shaped flowers flower into October. They spread quickly forming specimen sized clumps.

Rudbeckia is my favourite autumn perennial offering an abundance of daisy-like flowers with yellow petals and a black central heart. Planted in large clumps they breathe life into even the dullest of autumn days.

Stone Cross Garden Centre, Dittons Road, Stone Cross, Pevensey.

This first featured in the May edition of etc Magazine pick up your copy now.

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Gardening Tips: May 13, 2017

We are in the thick of planting season now! Tim Rundlett from Waukee’s Earl May has suggestions on plants that rabbits won’t eat, if there are any benefits to raised gardens when it comes to avoiding pests, when to split hostas and how to kill bull thistle. Get your answers in this video.

If you have a question please, click here and submit your question and hear Tim’s answer on a future Saturday on Today in Iowa.

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GARDENING TIPS: Planting root crops

? Yaqona cuttings are usually planted in the morning before the sun is very hot. A plot can consist of 3-5 cuttings if one is planting normal, and more than six if one is using the lovo style.

? The best soil for yaqona is land that is being planted for the first time (virgin soil) or for the second time. Land that has been left unplanted for more than five years can also be considered.

? A plot needs to be dug with the soil to be nicely prepared. Small rocks need to be thrown away because too much heat from the sun can heat up the rocks and burn the cuttings.

? After planting, the plot needs to be covered to protect the young plants from the heat as it begins to sprout.

? Because yaqona takes 3-5 years to mature, dalo is usually planted in between plots. This will act as another source of income and also provide food.

? Tavioka is not recommended to be planted within the plot because during uprooting it can damage the root of the yaqona plant, which is the most prized part of the plant.

? Weeding is usually done once a month.

? The Marines of Dravuwalu do not rely on any man-made manure because they believe their land is still very fertile.


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