Genie in a bottle

30 04 2018

Some of the tulips yesterday had missing petals, so I was able to photograph an angle that I wouldn’t normally see with a flower. This tulip had one petal missing and the wind blew the other petals together, forming this “genie in a bottle” effect.

This image was shot with my iPhone 7+, and I used the Camera+ app in macro mode. The wind made captures hit or miss at the beginning of the session, so I’m happy I was able to get some shots like this one. I also got some shots with my new D850 and Nikkor 105mm micro lens.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB Tulip Window

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Smart Phone Nature Photography Workshop at Green Spring Gardens

4 03 2018

Here’s the info on my first smart phone nature photography workshop at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA (Saturday, May 5, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm). The class will cover smart phones in general (Android and iPhones welcome)!

Smart Phone Nature Photography
(Adults) Learn techniques to improve your smart phone nature photography with the help of professional photographer Cindy Dyer. Get a better understanding of composition, color and lighting and how to use your camera settings to capture what you intend. Practice what you learned with an in-class garden photography shoot, critique and lesson on editing. $52/person. Code 290 232 6001.

Register at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/parktakes or call 703-642-5173.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. iPhone photos / Snapseed app borders

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Trumpet Honeysuckle

13 07 2012

Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens ‘Leo’), photographed at Brookside Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Nope, that’s not a rubber snake!

20 05 2011

A few of my friends (Carmen and Gina, in particular) are so afraid of snakes that I can’t even say the word in front of them. I have been instructed to refer to them as “s’s.” I, on the other hand, have no fear of them—unless, of course, it’s a snake that is: a) bigger than me, b) coming at me, or c) rattling at me.

So Carmen and Gina—Avert your eyes! Avert your eyes! (I suppose I really shouldn’t tell them that a female Black Rat Snake lays about 12-20 eggs in early summer!)

I was walking down a trail near the visitor’s center at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens this afternoon and glanced over at a bank of shrubs and immediately saw this little critter—a Black Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta). I’ve seen plenty of snakes in my lifetime, but I’ve never seen one sunning itself on a shrub, so I thought at first it was a rubber snake some kid left there. Nope—he was the real deal, and he didn’t seem to mind being my subject for several frames. He was no bigger than one inch around, but can grow up to eight feet long—making it the largest snake in Virginia. In my research, I learned that they are excellent climbers and competent swimmers. I already knew that they were non-venomous.

And regarding snakes—I have a huge pet peeve when people automatically want to kill any snake, regardless of how tiny it is or what type it is. If it’s not attacking you or the family pet—why kill it? If I found one in my home, I would capture it (taking extra care if I couldn’t identify it and didn’t know if it was venomous or not) and release it into the wild. If I couldn’t capture it myself or it was a venomous or particularly aggressive species, I would get outside help—but not from someone who would exterminate it. What can I say? I’m a self-appointed steward to all animals!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





AHS Great American Gardeners Awards 2010

17 06 2010

Last Thursday evening, I photographed the American Horticultural Society’s (AHS) 2010 Great American Gardeners Awards Dinner, hosted by AHS at their River Farm headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The award descriptions and recipient bios are reprinted with permission from AHS.

H. MARC CATHEY AWARD
Recognizes outstanding scientific research that has enriched the field of horticulture. After earning a doctorate in genetics from Michigan State University in 1981, Robert J. Griesbach joined the Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit within the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS). For more than 25 years, Griesbach conducted broad based research in the genetics of floral plants, aided in the creation of new types of floral crops, participated in the development of new genetic engineering technologies, and facilitated the determination of the genetic basis of flower and foliage colors. Currently Griesbach works in the USDA’s Office of Technology Transfer in Beltsville, Maryland, where he coordinates programs to facilitate the transfer of significant USDA-ARS research to the private sector for development and commercialization. Over the course of his career Griesbach has published more than 100 articles in scientific journals and 28 in other publications. In addition, he has presented more than 280 scientific seminars and nearly 200 lectures to popular audiences. He served as the chair of the American Orchid Society’s Research Committee for more than 10 years and is a past president of the organization. In 2006, Griesbach was named a Fellow by the American Society for Horticultural Science.

LANDSCAPE DESIGN AWARD
Given to an individual whose work has demonstrated and promoted the value of sound horticultural practices in the field of landscape architecture. A landscape architect based in Bar Harbor, Maine, Bruce John Riddell, is principal of his one-person firm, LandArt. Riddell received his undergraduate degree from the University of Maine and masters of landscape architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986. While doing his graduate work, Bruce studied under the tutelage of notable practitioners such as Ian McHarg, Sir Peter Shepheard, the firm Andropogon Associates, and A.E. Bye. After graduation Riddell worked with James van Sweden and Wolfgang Oehme in Washington D.C. While at Oehme-Van Sweden he participated on high profile public projects—including the Smithsonian National Zoo and U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, and Battery Park in New York City—and on residential gardens for well-known clients such as Oprah Winfrey. Riddell’s primary focus is on the design and construction of intimate residential gardens, but has designed three public gardens in Maine—Southwest Harbor Veteran’s Park, Charlotte Rhoades Park, and the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens—all of which have won awards for design excellence. Riddell’s gardens typically combine native and naturalized plantings with site-specific elements such as gates, lights, fountains and stonework. In addition to his design work, Riddell is on the advisory board of the Beatrix Farrand Society and is ambassador-at-large for the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Do check out his website—his garden designs (and photography skills) are stunning!

PROFESSIONAL AWARD
Given to a public garden administrator whose achievements during the course of his or her career have cultivated widespread interest in horticulture. Eric Tschanz has been president and executive director of Powell Gardens in Kingsville, Missouri since 1988. During that time he has implemented the first three phases of the Gardens’ master plan. He just completed a more than $9 million development campaign and oversaw the construction of the new Heartland Harvest Garden—the largest edible landscape in the country. Tschanz’s horticultural career began with a summer job at Cox Arboretum in Dayton, Ohio. Captivated by the field of public horticulture, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in horticulture at the Ohio State University and then completed a master’s degree in Botanic Garden Management through the University of Delaware’s Longwood Graduate Program. After completing his degree, he returned to Cox Arboretum as horticultural superintendent. In 1982 he became the first director of the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. Since 1985, Eric has been an active member of American Public Gardens Association (APGA), serving on numerous professional committees and as a board member. In 1997 he became a member of the group’s executive committee, serving as vice president and then president. He spearheaded the development of the APGA’s Year 2000 strategic plan.

JANE L. TAYLOR AWARD
Given to an individual, organization, or program that has inspired and nurtured future horticulturists through efforts in children’s and youth gardening. Growin’ Gardeners is a hands-on, interactive program that inspires and nurtures young horticulturists and their families. The program is the centerpiece of the Dow Gardens Children’s Garden in Midland, Michigan. Through the program, families are assigned a four-by-four-foot plot in a raised bed around the Children’s Garden. Families have the opportunity to choose the vegetables and herbs they wish to grow. Through weekly lessons and a workbook, they learn the basics of plant growth, weed and insect control and the use of gardening tools. Children, parents, and grandparents work together to nurture and tend their garden from planting through harvest. Growin’ Gardeners, which began in 2003 with 10 garden plots and 34 participants, has grown under the leadership of Horticulturist Melissa Butkiewicz to include 84 garden plots and 270 participants.

LIBERTY HYDE BAILEY AWARD
Given to an individual who has made significant lifetime contributions to at least three of the following horticultural fields: teaching, research, communications, plant exploration, administration, art, business, and leadership. This year’s recipient of the AHS’s most prestigious award is Steven M. Still, a professor emeritus of horticulture at the Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus and an internationally recognized expert and leader in the field of herbaceous perennial plants. Still began his teaching career while doing graduate work at the University of Illinois. After graduating in 1974 with a doctorate in horticulture, Still taught horticulture at Kansas State University in Manhattan for five years before moving to OSU, where he taught and mentored thousands of horticulture students from 1979 to 2005. In addition to his teaching duties he conducted horticultural research and served as first director of OSU’s Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Garden. Still’s acclaimed book, Manual of Herbaceous Ornamental Plants, was first published in 1980. Now in its fourth edition, it is a standard textbook for horticulture students. In addition, he has written numerous articles for horticultural publications and amassed an extensive archive of plant photographs, many of which have been published in books, magazines, catalogs, and on plant tags. For the last 27 years, Still has been the executive director of the Perennial Plant Association, a 1,400-member international organization for horticulturists, plant growers, researchers, and gardeners interested in propagating, growing, and promoting use of perennial plants. One of five founding members of the PPA, Still edits the organization’s quarterly journal and coordinates its annual symposium and trade show. He has also served in top leadership positions with many other national and regional organizations, including the Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association, the Garden Writers Association, and the American Horticultural Society. Still has received numerous awards, including the L.C. Chadwick Teaching Award from the American Nursery & Landscape Association in 2004 and the Garden Club of America’s Medal of Honor in 2008. In 2007, the Steven M. Still Garden in the Chadwick Arboretum was dedicated in Still’s honor.

MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD
Recognizes a past Board member or friend of the American Horticultural Society for outstanding service in support of the Society’s goals, mission, and activities. A retired registered nurse and longtime resident of Alexandria, Virginia, Betty Smalley has been a dedicated and very active volunteer at River Farm, the national headquarters of the American Horticultural Society, for more than 20 years. In addition to helping with outdoor activities such as weeding, planting bulbs and annuals, and deadheading, Smalley has been an important participant in the AHS Annual Seed Exchange program, filling seed packets and putting together orders from members in the winter months. She also regularly volunteers at the annual plant sale and other events and programs held at River Farm and has been a friend and mentor to countless other volunteers over the years. Always modest, Smalley says that in her years of volunteering, “I have received much more than I have given.”

B.Y. MORRISON COMMUNICATIONS AWARD
Recognizes effective and inspirational communication—through print, radio, television, and/or online media—that advances public interest and participation in horticulture. A well known author and photographer and a recognized authority on North American native plants, William Cullina is currently the director of horticulture and plant curator at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine. Cullina lectures on a variety of subjects to garden and professional groups and has contributed numerous articles and photographs to popular magazines and technical journals. He has been a guest on a number of garden television and radio shows, including Martha Stewart Living and the Victory Garden. He has written and contributed photographs to five highly regarded books published by Houghton Mifflin: Growing and Propagating Wildflowers of the United States and Canada (2000), Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines (2002), Understanding Orchids (2004), Native Ferns, Moss, & Grasses (2008), and most recently, Understanding Perennials: A New Look at an Old Favorite (2009). Three of his books have received annual book awards from the American Horticultural Society. Other awards Cullina has received include the Walter F. Winkler Award for Distinguished Plantsmanship from the North American Rock Garden Society in 2005 and the Silver Medal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 2002. Prior to moving to CMBG, Cullina worked as nursery director and head propagator at the New England Wild Flower Society in Framingham, Massachusetts, from 1995 to 2006.

FRANCES JONES POETKER AWARD
Recognizes significant contributions to floral design in publications, on the platform, and to the public. Jane Godshalk is a member of the faculty of Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, where she teaches floral design. She also lectures and teaches across the country, sharing her knowledge of horticulture and floral design with a focus on nature as inspiration and flower arranging as an art. Godshalk is an artistic judge for the Garden Club of America (GCA) and her floral designs have been featured in books and magazines, including a column on “Eco-Friendly Floral Design” for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Green Scene magazine. Among her numerous awards is the GCA Bonnlyn Martin Medal for “consistently innovative floral design.” She is active in the American Institute of Floral Designers and the World Association of Flower Arrangers, and has served on the boards of the GCA and the Philadelphia International Flower Show.

CATHERINE H. SWEENEY AWARD
Recognizes extraordinary and dedicated philanthropic support of the field of horticulture. In 2006, brothers William, Daniel, and Albert Nicholas made a lead gift of $2,150,000 to the Rockford Park District in Illinois for a centerpiece project to celebrate the District’s 100th anniversary in 2009. The gift is being used to create the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens in Sinnissippi Park. Sinnissippi Park was the first land purchased by the District in 1909. The conservatory, which will become the third largest in Illinois when it is completed in spring 2011, will be a showcase for the community and a source of inspiration and education for generations to come. Like many children growing up in Rockford in the 1940s and 1950s, the brothers spent much of their time enjoying the outdoors near the site of the future conservatory. The brothers elected to support the district as a way to honor their parents, William and Ruby Nicholas, while at the same time enhancing the riverfront property located along the shores of the Rock River. The donation underscores their commitment to make Rockford a great place to live, work, and play, and ties in with their ongoing efforts to champion the benefits of plants and quality of life issues.

TEACHING AWARD
Given to an individual whose ability to share his or her horticultural knowledge with others has contributed to a better public understanding of the plant world and its important influence on society. Robert Herman’s career spans more than three decades and two continents, with extensive experience in both horticulture and education. Currently he is an instructor and acting coordinator of the horticulture program at Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC) in Waterbury, Connecticut, where he involves students in campus and community projects. Prior to NVCC, Herman worked at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, where he started the Master Gardener Program, trained and mentored volunteers, coordinated the adult education program, and was responsible for all interpretive signage. He has also taught for the University of Massachusetts and at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Earlier in his career, while working at a perennial plant nursery in Germany, Herman trained German apprentice horticulturists and created an internship program for Americans. He also worked as director of horticulture at White Flower Farm, where he started an internship to introduce young Europeans to American horticulture. In 2009, Herman received a national award for Teaching Excellence from the University of Texas.

URBAN BEAUTIFICATION AWARD
Given to an individual, institution, or company for significant contributions to urban horticulture and the beautification of American cities. An all-volunteer community organization formed in 2004 in Roslindale, a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, Roslindale Green & Clean (RG&C) was developed by a group of residents whose goal was to create green, visible, attractive, and pleasant oases within the town’s busy urban center. With the help of the City of Boston and other neighborhood groups, six projects have been completed and more are planned as the organization grows. A small but dedicated group of volunteers maintains the sites throughout the growing season. Through special events like the Green Garden Exchange—an educational program that offers participants practical information on plant selection and gardening techniques they can apply in their own gardens—and a planned 2010 Roslindale Garden Tour, RG&C continues to raise community interest and participation in enhancing Roslindale’s public spaces. Above: Maggie Redfern and Diane Carter Duggan

2010 AHS BOOK AWARD WINNERS
Four gardening books published in 2009 have been awarded the American Horticultural Society’s annual Book Award. An additional book received the AHS Citation of Merit.

The winning books, listed below, were selected by the 2010 Book Award Committee chaired by Marty Ross, a regional contributor for Better Homes & Gardens and writer for Universal Press Syndicate who lives in Kansas City, Missouri, and in Hayes, Virginia. Other committee members were Scott Calhoun, a garden designer and author based in Tucson, Arizona; Jane Glasby, associate librarian for the Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture in San Francisco, California; Doug Green, a garden writer and online media entrepreneur based in Stella, Ontario; Doreen Howard of Roscoe, Illinois, a former garden editor for Woman’s Day who writes for various garden publications; Irene Virag, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer for Newsday who lives in Fort Salonga, New York; and William Welch, a professor and Extension specialist at Texas A&M University and author of several garden books. The awards are based on qualities such as writing style, authority, accuracy, graphic design, and physical quality.

The Brother Gardeners by Andrea Wulf—Alfred A. Knopf, New York, New York
“With a well-written and compelling narrative, Andrea Wulf sheds light on a band of 18th century plant-lovers—English and American—who changed the world of gardening,” says Irene Virag. “This book is an important contribution to our horticultural heritage,” notes William Welch. “Lest you fear the book is set in staid drawing rooms filled with rattling tea cups and powdered wigs, the text is peppered with tales of English playboys on high seas plant adventures, Tahitian orgies, and glimpses into Benjamin Franklin’s passion for horticulture,” says Scott Calhoun.

Parks, Plants, and People by Lynden B. Miller—W. W. Norton & Company, New York, New York
“In an age where public and common spaces are threatened by underfunding and privatization, Lynden Miller makes a clear case for their continued importance in our lives,” says Jane Glasby. “Though this intriguing narrative about the demise and restoration of some of America’s best-known urban parks and gardens is New York-centered, the general principles apply anywhere,” says Scott Calhoun. “The author offers a lot of great design and planting observations that worked in these public projects, but also would be beautiful in home gardens,” says Marty Ross. Above: Lynden Miller, right

The Explorer’s Garden by Daniel J. Hinkley—Timber Press, Portland, Oregon
“This book is a wonderful education in the form of a book,” says Marty Ross. “It offers an opportunity to learn about rare and interesting plants, see them beautifully photographed, and read the fascinating stories about collecting them,” says William Welch. “I particularly liked the propagation and hardiness comments Hinkley provided with each plant, and I wound up with a way-too-large must-grow list after reading it,” says Doug Green.

Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart—Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
“I love Stewart’s criteria for inclusion of a plant in this book…..a body count! The histories of various “perps” are entertaining, educational, and spell-binding,” notes Doreen Howard. “The book contains stories well told, and I love the illustrations, which are appropriately macabre,” says Jane Glasby. “Stewart has uncovered a treasure trove of great plant stories, and relates them with a sense of humor,” says Irene Virag.

Citation of Special Merit
The AHS Book Award is given to publishers for a single book published in a specific year. However, this year a Citation of Special Merit is being awarded in recognition of a regularly revised reference that has made significant contributions to horticultural literature over time.

Manual of Woody Landscape Plants by Michael Dirr—Stipes Publishing L. L. C., Champaign, Illinois
First published in 1975, this volume has become an essential reference for horticulture students, professionals, and home gardeners. The most recent 6th edition (2009) covers more than 2,000 taxa of trees and shrubs. “Dirr’s updated edition, the culmination of a life’s work of observations and experience, is a delight,” says Marty Ross. “His book is a friendly, opinionated masterwork, and a reference I couldn’t do without.”





Not so mellow yellow

3 02 2009

I had so many yellow-dominant photos in my archives that I had to shrink the images a little more than usual to get them to all fit into a more manageable collage—otherwise, you would be scrolling down for days. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Purple’s comin’ ’round the corner. Enjoy!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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This post is brought to you by the color pink.

31 01 2009

I apologize in advance if this ginormous collage crashes your system. I realize I got a little carried away with my collection. Pink just plum(b) took over.

(Oh, and do be patient while the collage loads. It might take a little longer than usual, but I promise it is worth the wait.)

If your system does lock up, you could also blame my blogger friends (and my Dad):

Jan at www.ThanksFor2Day.blogspot.com
Heather at http://mommymirandamusings.blogspot.com/
GG at http://fishandfrog-turtleandblog.blogspot.com/
Dad at his eBay store here (which was apparently ransacked because there is nothing posted)

Their recent comments gave me the impetus to post the colossal collage below.

“oooooooooohhh What a show, Cindy! I literally said that all the way through. Ooooh. Gorgeous. We’ve had some sunshine on and off the past few days. I think you need to get out of your basement more. Only 49 days until spring!!” — Jan

“Oh, man! You’re always taking my breath away like that, jeez!” —Heather

“Absolutely GORGEOUS! Your photo of the back of the day lily is particularly interesting. Have a wonderful weekend.” — G G

“The begonia shot is: Beautiful! Astonishing! Unbelievable! Gorgeous! Breathtaking! Damn, that’s a purdy pitcher! Please put me on your e-mail announcement list for every workshop. I won’t be able to attend, but I’ll be there in spirit if I know when and where (I’ll need the schedules so I’ll know when and where to send my spirit).” — Dad

I replied to Heather that I would soon be posting a rather long “pink collage” that could potentially crash her system. She replied, “bring it on!” So that’s the skinny and here we are.

Okay, the color pink wins by a long shot (so far) in the number of times it shows up in my garden photo archives. I thought orange was prevalent, but I was so, so wrong. I can only imagine how many times purple will show up—I tend to gravitate toward that color in my garden, even though I wouldn’t dare actually wear that color. Actually wearing that color or any shade of burgundy makes my skin itch. But that’s a whole ‘nuther topic. We artists are very sensitive to color, you know.

Well…now that I have revealed this little-known (and useless) fact about me, I should also tell you that I will not drive a burgundy car—and my anxiety doubles if the interior is burgundy, too. I discovered this about myself about 20+ years ago. So just guess what color car I am inevitably assigned when I rent a car. Yep. Burgundy. Or red (which I don’t have as much an aversion to after driving a sporty little Jeep in California two years ago…red = acceptable…burgundy = don’t go there). It doesn’t matter if every car left on the lot is white. The rental agent will start walking, keys in hand, directly to the only burgundy car in the place. I kid you not. Ask my cousin Bill. (He recently confessed that he now asks for “anything but burgundy” and “no rental plates, please”—the second request came about after I read something about never-do-wells stealing from rental cars because they know they’re driven by tourists with some good loot in tow.) And if someone traveling with me is renting the car, they usually don’t care what color it is, but I always comment, “betcha it’s going to be burgundy, mark my words.” Then the rental agent will lead us to only burgundy car in a sea of other colors. I kid you not. I’m jinxed. So now when I rent a car, I request “anything but burgundy, please.” This request is met with raised eyebrows more often than not. And I feel compelled to explain, “I’m an artist. I’m sensitive. No burgundy, please.” On one trip to San Diego, Michael went to rent the car while my friend Norma and I waited in the parking lot. It was late in the day and we said if burgundy is the only one available, then we’ll take it (but we won’t be happy about it). I said, “I just know it’s going to be burgundy.” Michael got the keys and met us across the parking lot and was laughing uncontrollably. But wait! Under the vapor lights…it could be…it just might be brown…yeah, it’s brown. We got out of the parking lot and saw the real color…yep, you guessed it. It was burgundy. Once again.

Now I must admit I don’t mind using it in my graphic design pieces. Burgundy has always been a nice corporate-y business color. And I don’t mind if other people wish to wear burgundy or drive a burgundy car. Just don’t ask me to ride with you. Especially if you’re wearing burgundy in your burgundy car with your burgundy seats. I will then offer to pick you up in my passive silver car with its quiet, unassaultive gray interior. I will not apologize for this particular peeve of mine. It is what it is.

Now back to pink. There is an off chance that I actually have something pink in my closet to wear. If not, I should. I do believe all women look good in pink (in particular shades depending on their skin tone and hair color), even if they don’t think so. I speak from experience as a portrait photographer. It’s a very flattering shade on women. And sometimes on men, too. There’s something youthful and joyful about the color pink, especially in the garden. And I love all the pinks in my garden—from pastel pink to just-look-at-me! magenta.

Ever wonder where the preference of “pink for girls” and “blue for boys” came from? I found this on www.wikipedia.org:

“In Western culture, the practice of assigning pink to an individual gender began in the 1920s. From then until the 1940s, pink was considered appropriate for boys because being related to red it was the more masculine and decided color, while blue was considered appropriate for girls because it was the more delicate and dainty color, or related to the Virgin Mary. Since the 1940s, the societal norm apparently inverted so that pink became appropriate for girls and blue appropriate for boys, a practice that has continued in the 21st century.”

The use of the word for the color pink was first recorded in the late 17th century, describing the flowers of pinks—flowering plants in the genus Dianthus.

Just 49 more days until spring, huh? Can it be? Oooh…now it’s just 48!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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