Exotic Flowers - We Deliver Flowers in Boston

Small Details That Help Sell a House

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Sep 22, 2017

If you’ve taken a look at the housing market lately, you’ll notice that there are certain houses being sold as soon as they’re shown while others sit there for months, sometimes years.  You may have also caught on to the phenomenon of two houses which look similarly (if not an actual carbon copy of the same blueprint) is often retailed at severely contrasting prices even when they’re offered for purchase at the same time.  For those who are hesitant to put the “For Sale” sign on their homes because they just can’t figure out how the trend will work out for them, here’s a helpful tip.  Yes, your real-estate agent is a major key player in how well you’re going to do at the closing but so isn’t your florist.  Not buying this one?  Read on…

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photo credit via aboutflowers.com

It’s no big mystery that landscaping will bump up the value of the property as well as additions, new appliances and general upkeep.  These are all presentation factors that help create the illusion to potential buyers that they too, could be living in your home.  This truth is what sells homes so don’t forget “presentation is everything”.  Before you only budget the prep work to ready your house for the market, you might want to consider other areas of your home that might need sprucing up.


While we know that clutter is a “no-no” in this occasion, you also have to realize little touches that scream you have taste are just as important.  One way to infuse an air of style is to dress the rooms with a vase of fresh flowers.  By adding the right variety to drab sites of the house, you can increase the illusion and appeal to visitors.  This doesn’t mean go straight to the yard and begin clipping-No!  This tactic is going to take a bit more expertise than our beloved green thumbs.  The place you want to begin is at your local flower shop who will be able to match paint, texture and general theme of your abode with equally alluring species of blooms. Depending on the characteristics present, a skilled designer will be able to correctly match, enhance and compliment the space just by using specifically architected centerpieces.  If it’s a bathroom, maybe all you’ll need is a bud vase of spring pips or if it’s the dining room, maybe a vase of wild poppies is what’s going to catch a browser’s eye and hold their attention.  By taking snapshots of rooms that need a little charm to your florist, they’ll get a better idea about what you need to make your home a sure-fire winner on the retail market.

Tags: New England, DIY, About Flowers, Real Estate

Floral Attractions in New England

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jul 21, 2017


The weather is beautiful here in New England and we’re finally footloose and fancy free to travel to the destinations we’ve been longing to see throughout the dreary months of winter.  For some of you, it may be a resort or maybe a beach where you can swim the shores of our Atlantic Ocean.  For me, it’s the time of year where flower gardens are in full bloom, making a road trip to a floral destination sound extremely enticing.  Thankfully, this region is loaded with talented gardeners who harvest robust crops of floral masterpieces in july and August (if we’re lucky, maybe even September).  So if you’re a flower lover who might be interested in learning a thing or two from the aces in the trade, here’s a list to pin to your maps this summer!


Wellesley College Botanic Gardens

Wellesley College Botanic Gardens

106 Central Street

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photo credit via http://www.wellesley.edu

Wellesley is a beautiful town to visit, which is home to historic houses, a quaint shopping center and of course, the prestigious educational center of Wellesley College.  Although most of the students have left for the summer, this college gives you another reason to stick around and it’s all thanks to the beautiful botanical gardens thriving on the grounds.  Open daily with no charge to visit; this should be at the top of your list to visit this summer.


Fells Historic Estate and Gardens

Route 103A / P.O. Box 276

Newbury, NH, 03255

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photo credit via https://thefells.org/gardens-at-the-fells

If you’re a history buff, you’ll like this location because not only does it have some of the most beautiful gardens you will ever see, there is also a rich background tied to the property regarding the famous statesman, John Milton.  Along with stunning flowerbeds surrounding the property, you can also enjoy the wooded trails if you hike as a hobby.


Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum

101 Ferry Road / Route 114

Bristol, RI, 02809

bithewold gardens.jpg

photo credit via: http://www.blithewold.org/

Also referred to as “An American Garden Treasure”, this location will have you saying “WOW” as soon as you get there.  One reason is due to their vast collection of plants and flowers, which range from exotic to romantic if you’re looking for some diversity in your travels...

Tags: Gardening, Flower Travel, New England, Gardens

What Does A Late Spring Mean For Your Garden?

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Jun 13, 2017

Right about now, you’re noticing that things are starting to warm up a bit outside after a very long-too long cold season.  Yes, sadly New Englanders have had to wait well beyond the typical arrival date of spring due to a lingering winter, making us all wonder if we’ll be skipping the outdoor months altogether.  Some may even be a tad bit pessimistic about how long they’ll be able to enjoy their favorite activities, particularly those who are green thumb enthusiasts.  Since the northeastern state’s gardening season is fleeting already, I understand how important it is to get out there digging as soon as you can.  To say that the fifty-degree temperatures we experienced in April, May and June provided a substantial setback is an understatement but believe me when I say there’s still hope.

 suzie canale.jpg

By doing a little tweaking of your usual planting strategy, you can still harvest a gorgeous garden filled with beautiful flowers and delicious veggies.  Species that have fast germination periods are wonderful choices to rely heavily upon instead of putting all your prayers into slow growing plants.  For vegetables, try picking out seeds such as snap peas, lettuce and green beans- they’ll shoot right up after only a few days of temperate weather plus they usually prefer the cooler weather anyhow.  If you’re a stickler about planting only seeds instead of purchasing ready 6-pack trays from greenhouses, you may want to rethink your philosophy this year.  Even though it’s a lot more fun and cost effective to grow your own, plants like tomatoes and eggplant won't have any shot at all unless you started them indoors around the time of March.

 

Something else to think about since we are definitely seeing a pattern of later spring arrivals is the possibility of investing in raised beds.  Plants growing in above ground containment will likely have a warmer soil temperature, which will boost their growth earlier than what is planted straight in the ground.  If you’re worried about cost, you can build your own simply by using slats of wood that can be nailed together in either square or rectangular shapes.   Perennials in particular adore this type of growing atmosphere and typically will come back closer to their regular schedule.  

Tags: Gardening, New England, Spring, Vegetable Garden

Autumn Greenhouse Growing

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sat, Sep 24, 2016

Right about now our summer gardens are starting to bid their farewell as the vegetables finish up their final yield of crops and flowers bloom for the last time.  It certainly can be depressing but there are many ways to keep your green thumbs busy even if the weather is certainly changing towards the cooler temperatures.  There’s absolutely no reason why we can’t keep growing during the fall because with the right conditions and a positive attitude, anything is possible for New England’s challenging gardeners!  Whether you want to continue nurturing your cultivations outside or enjoy some of your favorite blossoms within your home, there are several ways to do so just by applying a little ingenuity.  Here are some helpful tips that will get you on your way to autumn gardening in Boston!


Indoor

If you’re looking to bring your flowers and vegetables indoors for the season, there are many varieties that can be successful options.  When speaking of flowers, your best bet is to dig up the annuals that you planted last spring and repot them in containers that are big enough to allow growth.  Varieties such as geraniums, begonias and cosmos typically move with ease and are durable with slight variations in their environment.  The more delicate buds such as nasturtiums are tricky but that doesn’t stop you from beginning over with seeds and starting from scratch.  

Vegetables are also not impossible to grow inside if you’re clever with what you select to harvest.  Good choices would include wax beans, peas, tomatoes and yes, even potatoes.  Grab an extra large bin, fill it with dirt and place a rooted spud inside.  If you’re patient, you’ll be able to see their foliage begin to grow and three months down the road, you’ll be able to dig up real, fresh potatoes of your own!

Things to keep in Mind: Make sure you choose a well-lit area that is close by a heater and water the same as you would during the summer.  Feeding your plants every now and again will also keep them healthy and who knows?  You might even get them to survive through the winter and into the spring when you can put them right back into the earth for another season of blooming.  

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Outdoor

Although most flowers flourish during June through August, there are species that won’t wilt or wither during September and October.  Depending on the weather pattern (a snowstorm will almost definitely ruin a fall gardening project), you can plant mums, asters and even start new seeds of sunflowers if the temperatures are right.  Morning Glories (which like the cooler air to sprout from) are also another option, particularly if you have access to a greenhouse.   

Vegetables happen to be a great thing to reap in gardens during this time of year and options include cauliflower, carrots and broccoli.  Kale, cabbage and lettuce will also thrive in autumn and also make lovely landscaping displays, which exhume a fun and festive presentation.  They enjoy the chill of autumn nights and the warmth that the days still hold so go nuts and re-plant your whole garden with these babies if you want to!  

Tags: Gardening, New England, Autumn, Fall, Greenhouse

How to Garden During April in New England

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Apr 22, 2016

It’s April here in New England and if you’re into gardening, you’re probably itching to get outside and dig in the dirt like me.  We just can’t wait to begin tilling the soil, planting delicious veggies and designing beautiful beds of flowers everywhere but here’s the problem…  This is Massachusetts.  The sad fact is that it’s still a bit chilly at night and the weather is still fluctuating between winter weariness and summer’s delight.  That’s why we call this time on the calendar “spring” because unfortunately, the days are unpredictable making gardening a bit tricky.  I know the idea of waiting for another month to plant might sound agonizing but putting anything in the earth before Mother Nature gives her “okay” will only lead to expensive trips to the nursery when you have to redo your harvest.  It’s just not worth it but that’s not to say that we can’t accomplish other preparations before then!  

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So what are a few of the tasks we can get started on?  There’s plenty!  Here’s a list to keep you well occupied in your backyards until May arrives and remember - a happy gardener is a busy gardener!


April To-Do Gardening List


  1. Re-seeding your lawns when the weather hits 60 degrees is a great way to get things rolling in a “greener” direction.  Patch up spots of space that may have been affected by the harsh cold temperatures and fill in places where the grass seems to have become thin.

  1. Load up on your favorite seeds like peas, lettuce and zucchini!  Just because you can’t put them in the ground right away doesn’t mean you can’t look at the pretty packages and dream until then.  Stores such as Ocean City Job Lot often run sales at this time so take advantage!

  1. Take a trip to Home Depot and gather supplies to correct or insert new raised beds and trellises.  This is an excellent time to get this done because pretty soon you’ll want to fill them up with crops.  Adding soil is another chore you won’t want to wait too for either since hauling heavy bags when the warmth finally arrives might get a little sticky...
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  1. Drag out the lawn furniture and set up shop for the season!  Hold back on patio umbrellas that might snap with unruly lingering weather but take your tables and chairs out of storage in case there’s a night when you prefer to dine alfresco!

  1. The rule is that you have to wait to plant seeds until late spring/ early summer but there are actually some varieties that can take the chill and survive an April sowing.  Peas, herbs and some lettuce species are hearty and will also give you something to take care of outside until the rest of your seeds are ready!

Tags: Gardening, New England, Gardening in Boston, April, Vegetable Garden, Garden Calendar

How to Jump Start Your Growing Season

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, May 14, 2015

I walked outside this morning and felt the warmth of the sun that is steadily indicating the summer growing season is near.  New Englanders understand this elation all to well since we patiently wait through six months of chilly weather until we can be reunited with our gardens.  It doesn’t seem fair that states such as Texas, Florida and California can pretty much tend to crops almost the entire year while we have to suffer the harshness of annual blustery winters. 

 

 garden_kidsOr is it? 

We northerners have managed to come up with a trick or two when it comes to stretching our growing period.  Professionals within the agricultural industry have passed on a few tips including the manipulation of imperative essentials such as temperature, fertilization, zone guidelines and light distribution.  It seems really complicating but by adding a few alterations to your anticipated gardening plans, you’ll be able to jumpstart your green thumbs at little extra cost. 

 

Starter Seedlings

Starting your seeds inside before the suggested date can not only add months to your hobby but also strengthen the specimen allowing it to become hardier and more resistant to environmental changes.  You can place seeds in special indoor pots sold by Home Depot and Lowes or simply use an empty egg carton.  Once the soil and seed have been prepared, place near a window with maximum sunlight.  If you’re worried about cold drafts, place a clear sheet of saran wrap over the containers, which will create a greenhouse effect.  Perfect starter seeds include peas, cucumbers, marigolds and tomatoes. 

 

Early Protection

If you have taken the leap and planted your goodies prior to recommended planting season, hopefully you have put them in a raised bed since the soil will warm faster than the earth beneath the ground.  Keep a steady eye on the weather forecast and if a frost pops up as a possibility, cover your plants with heavy plastic or tarp.  If the area is nestled within trees or a heavily shrub area, you might even be able to get away with laying newspaper on top, which will also keep them warmer. 

 

Pruning

Now that we’ve talked about the preseason, how about we come up with something for the post season?  Pruning can add extra time to your favorite flowers once the fall threatens to retract their beauty.  Keeping the stocks strong can be done simply by taking off the dead heads of past blooms and shortening the length of the stem.  Water continuously and don’t forget to protect with a layer of plastic if the cold begins to creep in!

Tags: Garden Center, Gardening, New England, Gardening in Boston

Where to Find Beautiful Flowers During the Coldest Time of the Year in Boston

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jan 14, 2015

If you’re anything like me, the winter season is seen as cold, dark and depressing and not just because of that white stuff falling from the sky.  There’s no gardens, no growth, no beauty, which perks up from the earth.  Yes, it only lasts for four or five months in New England but still, what’s a girl gotta do for a little flower fix?  It might sound bleak but in actuality, Bostonians do have a few resources at their fingertips when it comes to floral supplies.  Now, don’t get me wrong, you aren’t going to find summer blooms that have any longevity in their stems until June or July but there are other options out there if you are willing to be a bit flexible within your taste.  Here are a few options and locales that carry beautiful blossoms, particularly during the chillier months of the year.

 cold_weather_flowers

If you're in Boston, look no further than Exotic Flowers in Roslindale. Their flagship operation is also their base of operations where thousands of flowers arrive daily from all over the world. If you're on the north side of route 128 then Wilson Farms in Lexington, MA, for one has a yearly display of stunning blooms that are native to this environment, many in fact that are grown by them.  Specialties include poinsettias, Christmas Roses and other bulb like plants that are being harvested within their greenhouses as we speak.  This local farming business also imports flowers such as roses and delphinium, which are durable enough to withstand some colder temperatures.  If their selection isn’t enough to entice you, trot on in to their bakery and fresh produce store that is open year round and filled to the brim with delicious choices for your dining pleasure.

 orchids in boston

                           photo credit:flower Factor/ Aboutflowers.com 

   They say that you never have to look further than your own backyard for inspiration and in this case, they might be right!  Many of us live in areas where pine and berries grow, the ideal combination for a lovely seasonal centerpiece.  Scout out your perimeters and look for healthy spikes of life that can be easily cut and arranged in a vase.  Not sold on this yet?  How about the fact that most of these cuttings have little droppings during aging so it makes for an effortless cleanup once the times comes.  Plus, you can’t beat the price because everything that you place in the vase is yours and free.  Don’t be afraid to mix and match with floral options available in local stores.  You can always combine a bunch of roses with some clippings of fir or Frasier to make a beautiful centerpiece.  One word to the wise is be very careful of poisonous flora and fauna that may be present and could harm pets or small children if kept in their reach. 

 suzie_canale Suzie Canale, Westwood, MA

Suzie always has fresh flowers and plants in her Westwood home. Orchid plants are always present.

Tags: New England, Boston Greenhouse, Winter Rose

What My Fall Color Palette Symbolizes for Me

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sat, Oct 25, 2014

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Autumn in New England is a time of year in which Bostonians relish in seasonal activities of carving pumpkins, jumping in piles of raked leaves and baking pumpkin pies that infiltrate our homes with decadent aroma.  We often sit in anticipation of these crisp few months before snowfall because they are reflective of themes embodying outside activity, family and warmth.  As a Boston florist, we attempt to capture this feeling when designing centerpieces, funeral arrangements, party planning, wedding bouquets and general storefront décor.  While purchases from the flower market often reflect varieties that are locally grown during the months of September and October, flower buyers are also aware of color selections, often opting for tones of red, orange and yellow.  Occasionally, you’ll see a fun accent of purple, green or pink but this base palette is the most popular and supports a strong product line for the fall season.  Why do we depend on this traditional spectrum when creating flower arrangements?  The answer is simple.  Particular colors bring forth particular emotions, many of which revolve around pleasant memories that Bostonians generally experience during this time of year.  Certain colors represent familiar seasonal symbols and events, arousing pleasant thoughts and moods.  The memories make us feel good, which is why we put pumpkins on our doorsteps, tie hay bales to our lantern poles and yes, buy flowers emanating the hues of autumn.  Here’s what my fall color palette symbolizes for me.

 

Red

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Red is often associated with the emotions connected to passion.  Whether love or hate, there is strength behind this hue, a quality that makes us react more so than any other color on the spectrum.  When connecting red to autumn facets, thoughts of crackling fires when the weather drops colder, plucking a ripened Macintosh apple off of an orchard branch and Japanese maples tree leaves blanketing the ground in a luxurious carpet.  The color red connects me to the words warmth, ripe and decadence. 

 

Orange

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When feeling the color orange during fall, there is no getting around the obvious imagery of pumpkin patches. What is so wonderful about pumpkins is that they fulfill almost all of the human senses including sight, taste, scent and touch, a desirable reaction when incorporating this color within your flower arrangements.  Pumpkin patches can symbolize the scent of pumpkin pie baking in the oven, the fun touch of seeds slipping through your fingers and the site of bright orange globes of bittersweet resting in curls of vines.  Orange for me represents the idea of health, enjoyment, laughter and imagination.  Of course we all know what Cinderella’s carriage changed into at the stroke of midnight!

 

Yellow

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Who doesn’t love the color yellow?  Its happy, dazzling and uplifting to the eye where in most cases, brings a person’s general emotion state to a higher level after visual contact.  Sunflowers, chrysanthemums and dahlias are favorites of florists when using this shade within their pieces for exactly this reason.  When associating yellow with fall, I think of the comforting rays of sunshine that we learn to appreciate as they grow fewer and fewer, a field of sunflowers standing stiff with their round faces full of light and the emotion hope as we see more and more candles flicker with the changing months.

- Suzie Canale

Westwood, MA

suzie_canale Suzie Canale is an avid gardener, accomplished floral designer, mother of two boys, works at the Westwood Public Library, has published four children's books, and is the director of the Women's Locker Room Foundation.

 * all images in post supplied by Flower Factor's flickr site

 

Tags: Traditions, New England, Autumn, Fall, Suzie Canale, Colors

Decorating with Fall Flowers in New England

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Oct 09, 2014

fall_flowers_boston

New England is famous for many attributes including beautiful coastlines, historic landmarks and a spectrum of seasonal changes.  For many, autumn is many Bostonians' favorite portion of the year where sprigs of red, orange, yellow and gold flowers brew all around them.  There is little doubt as to why since all of our Boston’s natural aspects morph into a spectacular spectrum of color right before our eyes once the month of September arrives.  From the trees to the fields, every inch of our landscape seems infused with brilliant rich and warm hues, inspiring an entire theme for design and décor.  Local crafters are savvy to incorporate this gift bestowed upon us by Mother Nature, essentially adding a fresh and exciting approach to their creations.  Boston florists are also taking advantage of this simple, beautiful and economically beneficial trend of designing with fall fabulous products.  Try a couple of these tips to inculcate your floral propaganda!

 flowers_in_a_pumpkin

Pumpkins are not only a delicious additive to just about any dish or baked good this time of year, but also a clever way to display arrangements.  Festive and fun, simply hollow out the inside of a 6 to 8 inch globe and place a bubble bowl within it.  Fill the vase with local seasonal favorites such as mums, coleus, sunflowers, zinnias and lanterns to create the perfect October centerpiece.  Keep in mind to never full the inner holder with too much water since overflow will hasten the aging process of the pumpkin.  Another way you can incorporate pumpkins are to select miniatures to place at the base of large, clear glass cylinders (apples work too and keep in theme with the season).  Smaller pumpkins age slower, minimizing a cloudy water effect over a short period of time.  Suggested flowers for this type of arrangement include branches of willow, grape vine or forsythia. 

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A second option for inserting a few of New England’s favorite fall fauna are to select multi-colored tree branches and use them as your foliage instead of the traditional ruscus and leather leaf.  Illuminating a delicate but stunning effect, this rustic style is perfect for hotel accounts where out of town visitors can gaze upon the true joy of living in Boston during autumn.  Be careful not to over-busy the bouquet with uncomplimentary floral varieties or jam the vase with too many stems.  It doesn’t need it.  Keep it uncomplicated, delicate and most of all delightful, by showcasing the naturally infused colors that Bostonians are so lucky to enjoy!

 

Suzie Canale - 

suzie Suzie has published four children's books, is the Director of the non-profit Women's Locker Room Foundation, mother of 2 boys, an avid gardener, chef and also works at the Westwood Public Library.

 

 

 

Tags: Floral Design, New England, Autumn, Fall, Suzie Canale, Pumpkins

More Autumn Fun in New England by Jon Bornstein

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Oct 01, 2014

flowers and cranberries resized 600Guest blogger Jon Bornstein of Newton, Massachusetts returns to share his insight and observations on autumn in New England. Exotic Flowers of Boston is honored to have our friend Jonathan share is writing skills. We have received great feedback from his guest writing and cannot wait to share his blog posts. Not only is Jonathan enjoyable to read, but he is also an avid flower buyer at Exotic Flowers. Jonathan and his company L. Bornstein are both top clients at Exotic Flowers in Boston where they send flowers throughout the world.

Autumn In New New England

  - Autumn is upon us, and with it arrives appetizing phrases like “pumpkin spice” and “apple cider”. That’s right, kids, the Sandwich Guy’s got food on the brain as usual, and the ushering in of the fall harvest season brings the opportunity to experience home-made and fresh baked foodstuffs of every size, shape and flavor at farm stands, fairs and festivals from Westerly to Waterville. At our DNA’s core resides the vestiges of our ancestor’s hunter/gatherer instincts, so for goodness’ sake heed their call and get out to your local orchards and farms while the weather is inviting and the festival season is in full gear.

 

I like my fruits and vegetables just fine, but I LOVE baked goods made with them even better. Pie, crumble, cobbler, I don’t discriminate. I love’em all. Heat it up, top it off with a dollop (love that word) of whipped cream and pass me my share and yours, too. I guarantee you won’t enjoy it as much as I will.

 

This time of year is truly magical with edible adventures. Just this past weekend my family was redirected from one of our favorite farms for apple picking (Apple Crest in Hampton, NH, anyone?) when we got word that there was a Cranberry Harvest Celebration at Tihonet Village in Wareham, MA. Rides and activities for the kids, bog tours by tractor and helicopter for the adults, and most importantly, food of every sort imaginable from food trucks, farm stands, and fair booths for the whole family.

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 Don’t get me started on the nearly two dozen vendors plying their tempting fares. Everything from kettle corn to deep fried Oreos and even a raw bar practically put me in a blissful food coma. After all, the fact that we savor our food is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom, am I right?

 fall foods in new england resized 600mmmmm donuts.

Ask any New Englander what their favorite time of year is, and chances are they’ll come right back at you with the Fall. But don’t take my word for it. Get out there and see for yourself!

Jon Bornstein

 

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Exotic Flowers may not sell those delicious donuts, but we do offer full line of gourmet and fruit baskets. 

Tags: Harvest Season, New England, Autumn, Fall, Jon Bornstein

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