Gardening Tips for September


Must Do Gardening Tips for September

Tips from Carol Evans of Life Beyond the Patio.

  1. Let parts of your lawn go wild for a few weeks.
  2. Mow above mentioned parts before you get stung or bitten by the insects.
  3. Make sure your pots are off the ground as wetter weather is on the way.
  4. Collected rain water is perfect for acid loving plants such as camellia.
  5. Collected seed must be kept dry, use a sealed tin with some powdered milk to keep moisture at bay.


What to do, by have you got a pen Gwyn Williams.

  1. Plant daffodils this month to be sure of a good spring display.
  2. If a tradesman says he can start work the following day, be wary as all the good ones are busy.
  3. Keep drains clear of fallen leaves as Autumn approaches
  4. Try to leave the cutting back of shrubs as long as possible otherwise you will be doing them again before Winter.
  5. Put your glasses on before weeding or some of your precious plants will end up in the green bag.


September is a good month to sort problems out with your lawn, by either sowing seed or laying turf. Leather jackets are more of a problem on lawns with poor drainage. This larvae of the crane fly leaves dead patches on your lawn as they consume the grass roots. The only effective way of controlling this is with the right nematodes. To find out if they are the cause of the damage to your lawn, put a damp cloth over the area of concern and remove it in the early morning. you will see the larvae on the surface. When you see crows on the grass at this time of year this is what they are mainly searching for. Do not put a high nitrogen feed on the lawn at this time of year however tempting it is to use fertiliser you have left over from the summer. The high nitrogen content will promote top growth and weaken the grass. Always use a feed high in potassium, this will strengthen the root system and keep the grass healthy through the colder months.

The experts say that daffodils along with crocus and hyacinths should be planted by the middle of September to make sure you get good blooms in the Spring. Hold back a while on the tulips as they tend to rot if planted too early. One of the main reasons for a poor show is that bulbs are planted too shallowly, so always follow the instructions on the packet.

Continue to collect seed, as packeted seed seems to be a lot more expensive now for very few seeds. Dividing herbaceous perennials is a good way to get extra plants and to get rid of the dead material in the middle.

On allotments and veg patches harvesting is in full swing. Check apples are ripe by pulling gently, they should come away easily. Take any bad fruit off to stop disease spreading. Keep potting up strawberry runners. Take hardwood cuttings of currants and gooseberries now. Order bare root fruit bushes and trees, they are cheaper and will produce fruit next year. When the beans and peas have finished cut down to ground level but leave roots in ground as they will add nitrogen to the soil. Sow green manures on bare soil, this will help keep the weeds down over Winter and can then be dug in to improve the soil.

Over the past year I have received a lot of feedback from walkers who pass through and by the allotments. They have commented on how well kept they are. Some have asked if the man sitting against the tin sheets by the notice board has big hands or a small spade, they were hesitant to approach because he seemed so peaceful contemplating where to plant his next row of cabbages. I’ve told them who you are H, so expect to be signing autographs.

Take care and happy gardening



Gardening Tips for August


Must Do Gardening Tips for August

Grow your own experts Shirley & Graham Hammond, tips for August:

  1. Dry harvested onions thoroughly, or they will rot when stored.
  2. Pinch off the tops of runner beans to encourage side shoots.
  3. Take cuttings of mint, rosemary and sage.
  4. Spray ground elder when it is growing strongly. Very hard to get rid of.
  5. Sow a green manure when space becomes available.

Betty Facey, who has a lovely garden and a lawn like Wimbledon, has some good advice.

  1. Cut back faded perennials to keep the garden neat and tidy.
  2. Prune climbing roses, unless repeat flowering.
  3. Water camellias and rhododendrons to ensure buds develop.
  4. Trim lavender plants to preserve shape.
  5. Do not attempt to water the lawns as you will never have enough time to do it justice.

Hope your tomatoes are in good shape; you need to pinch out the tops so that plants can use their energy to produce fruit. Watering constantly will stop blossom end rot and reduce splitting. With broad beans having been harvested, you can cut the stalk down to the base and on a good year they will have time to produce a lighter crop. There is still plenty of time to sow lettuce that will be available to crop before it gets too cold. After 4 years or so strawberry plants weaken and produce less, so now is the time to root the runners being produced to fill in for the older plants.

A lot of lawns can look straw coloured in prolonged dry spells. Grass is so tough and can withstand a lot of abuse. By attempting to water it you may well be doing more harm than good, unless you’re prepared to water for hours at a time. By not watering enough you will encourage roots to come to the surface. then at the next dry spell the grass will really suffer.

Prolong the flower displays by constant deadheading and regular feeding especially the hanging baskets, which should last well into the Autumn. Aphids were quite a problem this year, made worse by the late arrival of ladybirds and their larvae. They can be controlled by just wiping them off with your fingers or by making up a solution of water and white vinegar and spray on both sides of leaves. Dahlias are coming into their own at this time of year but be sure to tie them to strong stakes as the wind and rain can play havoc with them. Cut back all the whippy side shoots of wisteria to about 20cms; if you don’t do this you will have less flowers year on year.

Going wild is being promoted a lot in the media and some Wenvoe residents have thrown themselves into it to differing degrees. Jill & Ryland have been turning over part of their front garden to wild flowers and it looks lovely. On the other hand, Pete Ferris has created a wilderness garden at the rear of his abode. Wild animals flourish in the dense foliage. Pete has a rope tied to the handle of the patio door and when he ventures into the undergrowth, he has to tie the other end to himself or he would never find his way back.

Take care and happy gardening




Garden Wisdom for July


Stella Gardening Tips for July

Wenvoe Kings Of The Road have a secret passion for all things flora. Firstly Dai (The Ditch) Cannon gives us his tips on keeping on top of things in the garden.

  1. Don’t worry, there’s always tomorrow.
  2. Deadhead roses to keep them flowering.
  3. If you are stumped by trying to name a plant, organise a quiz, someone will know.
  4. Give Dahlias a feed and keep well watered.
  5. The plants we buy on a whim never get looked after like the ones we intended to buy.

Roger ‘Triumph’ Davies tells us about things to do in July.

  1. Autumn king carrots can still be planted to prolong the harvest.
  2. Feed and deadhead roses.
  3. Remove whippy side shoots of wisteria
  4. Cut as many flowers as you can off your sweet peas to put in vases as the more you cut, the more they flower.
  5. If you’re buying shrubs at the garden centre, don’t take the motorbike,

The Soil Association is a charity which was formed in 1946 to promote the use of organic solutions for keeping soil healthy and safe to use. They work with farmers and growers to change some of their practices.

Some soil facts.

  1. Soil stores more carbon than the atmosphere and all forests,
  2. Healthy soil can help prevent flooding.
  3. Every minute we lose the equivalent of 30 football pitches.
  4. It can take up to a 1000 years for a single centimetre of soil to form.

One of the Soil Association’s main recommendations is that we try to keep the soil covered at all times, most of the year it’s not a problem as plants cover the soil. During the winter they recommend that we use a thick layer of mulch, green manure crops or old blankets to cover the soil to prevent erosion.

We are asked to help wildlife in our gardens where we can. One of the most fascinating mammals to see is the bat. A simple bat box and some night scented flowers, such as evening primrose to attract moths, and it won’t be long before bats are coming to your garden at dusk.

Try not to let seed pods form on sweet peas yet or they will stop flowering. If you would like to see sweet peas at their grandest, then the rear garden of Mr Crumps in Rectory Close is a must. Keep up the deadheading of bedding plants and repeat flowering perennials. July is a good month to take hydrangea cutting, cut off a non-flowering stem just below a leaf joint and stick it in soil. Watering is a task that we have to undertake especially if you have a lot of pots. thick mulch on the top of pots will help reduce the evaporation.

On the allotment and in veg gardens watering can sometimes be a choice of which plants get watered, especially if you have to carry it a fair distance. Lettuce, rocket and spinach will bolt and go to seed if allowed to dry out. Gardeners will be harvesting some of their fruit and veg this month, as well as planning for later this year and the following spring, seeds like lettuce, beetroot and carrot can be sown along with winter cabbage and kale, plus some potatoes for Christmas dinner.

Take care and happy gardening.



Village Gardener Tips for June


Stella Gardening Tips for June

Tips from Heulwyn Davies of the cherry tree garden.

  1. Grow more veg in pots, it’s so easy and tastes better than flowers.
  2. Think of the future and put in some raised beds.
  3. Sow pansies for Autumn flowering this month.
  4. Gardeners will always share their Knowledge, just ask.
  5. If you’re planning to purchase a greenhouse. Get the biggest you have room for, as they soon fill up.


Brian & Sandra Jones of open garden fame. Best practice.

  1. A little often is a good way to keep the garden looking nice.
  2. Forward planning will cut down on wastage.
  3. Do not plant out until temperatures are right and constant.
  4. Keep a diary along with photographs.
  5. It is so important to label everything.


There is still plenty of time to plant out your summer bedding. If you are in any doubt just check on Mr Crump and Mr Williams of Rectory Close as they are well known for getting it right. It is always better to wait until conditions are suitable. The same goes for vegetables. Although some veg are tolerant of poor weather others, especially runner beans, are not. A later planting time will save you a lot of work protecting these plants and you are guaranteed a better crop. You should by now have some empty trays and pots, so it’s time to sow Polyanthus, Primrose and Pansies in the greenhouse and outdoor sowing of Alstroemeria, Canterbury Bells, Sweet William and Wallflowers for strong plants next year. Make sure you get rid of leftover Forget-me-Nots before powdery mildew takes hold as this can affect other plants. Cutting back alchemilla mollis, Geranium and Heuchera if they start to look raggy, new growth will soon come back.

One of the hardest infections to halt in the veg garden is potato blight. This is an airborne fungus type disease that attacks the foliage, then the tubers, it will also affect tomatoes. Wet and humid conditions bring it to the plants and once there it is near impossible to manage. Brown marks on the leaves are the first sign and it spreads rapidly. Good air circulation can help prevent infection, so please leave at least 30 to 40cms between each tuber when planting. Do not leave any potatoes in the ground when clearing as the disease can infect the following season’s crop. Early and blight resistant varieties are the best option.

The Sexton at the church has been conducting trials on different compost bins to establish which produced usable compost in the shortest time. The type which sits on a cradle that you turn weekly was, by a long way, the most efficient.

The plant sale in Vennwood at the start of May went really well. Luckily for me Sue Williams of Wenvoe Wheelers was on hand to prevent the Village Gardener selling weeds as flowers to unsuspecting customers.

Take care and happy gardening.



Star Gardening Tips for May


Stella Gardening Tips for May

Alex Cooper’s tips from the force

  1. Edge the borders to keep them neat and tidy.
  2. Don’t sow all your veg at once , spread them out to prolong the harvest season.
  3. Pine needles make a good mulch for camellias rhododendrons and azaleas.
  4. Leave a hoe by the back door to remind you of weeding.
  5. Check your soil PH so that you only purchase plants suitable for your soil type.

Dilys Jenkins gardening knowhow

  1. Water plants early in the morning.
  2. Mulch the top of pots with bark or stone to aid water retention.
  3. Planting runner beans this month will produce the best crops.
  4. Make sure you level the soil in trays before planting seed as all good nursery people do.
  5. Grow sunflowers in partial shade. They will grow taller searching for the light.

The Chelsea chop is a method used by nurseries after the London show to rejuvenate their perennial plants. Many perennials flop by midsummer, rudbeckia, helenium and sedam can be cut back by half, resulting in a bushier plant that will flower slightly later. Gwen Williams of the walled garden uses this technique every year to give a longer lasting display.

Dahlias and canna lilies can be put outside now. Cut back aubrieta, alyssum and candytuft to encourage new flowers. clear away forget-me-nots to prevent over seeding. Tie in shoots of rambling roses, lay the stems horizontally to produce more flowers and side shoots. Lift and divide clumps of daffodils. Tulip bulbs take a bit of work to keep every year. First snip off the flower as it fades then allow foliage to die back, lift the bulbs and dry on newspaper, store in a cool dry place ready to plant out in the Autumn. Keep the sweet peas climbing by tieing in the shoots. Be sure to feed container plants every 2 to 3 weeks. Take cuttings of fuchsia and softwood cuttings of sage. Deadhead lilac as flowers fade; to do this wait until you see the two shoots below the faded bloom start to swell then snip off the flower just above.

At this time of year most of the ground on vegetable gardens and allotments are covered in new growth. Keep sowing peas and carrots every few weeks to prolong the harvest season. Take the tips off your broad beans once the pods start to form to prevent blackfly. If you can bear to do it, take the blossom off your newly planted fruit trees so that they can establish properly during their first year. Keep raspberry canes tidy by pulling up shoots that are too far away to tie in. If you’re using netting to protect your crops please secure it properly to prevent any wildlife becoming trapped. On the off chance that you’re wondering what to do next on the veg plot, just have a look at the allotment of Colin Thomas. His book on high altitude allotment gardening is at the publishers.

When the garden centres opened in the middle of March, people were chomping at the bit to buy plants. We then had a cold spell over Easter where the plants bought, which had previously been kept in warm temperatures before, were now exposed to cold northerly winds. To add to the plants’ demise the first minister told people they could now go on holiday within Wales. With good, dry (albeit cold) weather forecast, the poor plants didn’t stand a chance. So back to the garden centre to line their pockets.

Take care and happy gardening.



Gardening Advice for April


Gardening Advice for April

Tips from Mair Jones of Brynheulog Nurseries:

  1. Divide hostas before they come into leaf.
  2. Apply slow release fertilizer to your flower beds.
  3. Trees are wonderful, but not just outside your window. Check on their final size before buying.
  4. Invest in a water butt.
  5. Grow some carrots in a pot; lovely foliage and so sweet to eat.

Craftsman Eric White on what to get right this month:

  1. Pinch out the tops of sweet peas to make more substantial plants.
  2. Always read the label on plants so you don’t put it in the wrong place.
  3. Make sure your young plants are kept watered. Otherwise it is just a waste of money and effort.
  4. If purchasing a new implement make sure the handle is the right size for you.
  5. Golden rule. Do not walk past a weed, or the next time you see it, it will have produced offspring.

Do not be fooled by April. We can still have cold nights that will ruin all your hard work of raising tender plants. Just try to be patient, they will soon catch up. Planted up hanging baskets will come on tremendously well in the cold frame or greenhouse. Show gardeners like the late Kenny Condick would never put a hanging basket outside until June. Perennials, which will eventually need support, should be staked early and tied in as they grow. Protect fruit tree blossom with fleece if there is any sign of frost in the weather forecast. When mulching around the trees make sure to keep it away from the stem. Forsythia will still be in flower this month and one of the loveliest displays is at Church Rise, on

the left hand side just after where the shingle starts. This plant needs to be cut back just after flowering as it produces flowers on this year’s new growth. A great time for planting annuals direct to the soil where they will need just a bit of thinning out as they emerge. Mark where you sow these as they could be mistaken for weeds. Lawns will start to look good now after a feed and weed. This is a good time to sow grass seed on any bare patches.

Leaving the EU has created an opportunity for British nurseries to step up to plate. They have known about this situation for quite some time and although the choice may be a little diminished, there is no excuse to put up prices on what is available.

From this month on, there will be people offering garden services. Some will be okay but others will disappoint, so please be careful. If you need help it’s better to have a friend or neighbour recommend someone. British Soil on Station Road will give you advice on the best way forward. For general gardening advice, the best place to find it is at the Twyn yr Odyn allotments. You will never meet a friendlier bunch. They have a wealth of knowledge ready to share – especially Sue and Barry.

On Saturday 1st May from 10.00am, there will be a plant sale at our home in Vennwood Close. Covid regulations in place at that time will be followed. Some friends and fellow growers from the village will be joining us to peddle their best flora. Please ask for advice on the day, with the likes of Joyce, Brian and Sandra, Bruce, Gordon and Ann in attendance. It will be like Gardeners Question Time.

Take care and happy gardening.



Gardening Advice for March


Gardening Advice for March

Pam Owens of Hopkinstown gardens, Carmarthen, offers her tips for March.

  1. Start mowing if the ground is dry enough.
  2. Enjoy the early Spring bulbs.
  3. Put new batteries in your torch and get out after dark to catch those slugs.
  4. As soon as daffs start to go over remove the seed head to allow the plant to concentrate on feeding the bulb.
  5. Weed those borders to give yourself a head start.

Julie the village hairdresser on garden problems.

  1. Hair clippings put around plants are a great way to keep slugs at bay.
  2. Those stick on copper bands do not deter the slugs from my pots.
  3. Plant marigolds with tomatoes, it will help keep pests at bay.
  4. Garlic grown alongside roses is well known for keeping roses healthy.
  5. Any poor soil will be good enough to grow wildflowers in, as they don’t need much nourishment.

Help those ericaceous shrubs such as Azaleas Camellias and Peiris to flower well by putting an ericaceous compost on top of the roots and fork in. Give your roses a final prune to encourage new growth then feed them: preparatory feed is worth the cost. It is time to top dress the shrubs grown in pots by removing the top 25mm which will contain mostly pests and disease and replace with fresh compost. Gardeners World magazine has said if you’re growing a fig tree, you should keep it in a pot as this will restrict the roots which will in turn encourage fruiting.

Planting seeds early will give you a good start, but they will soon go back if you can’t keep an area warm for them. Young tomato plants will suffer if they are subjected to a cold spell, which will only show up when the plants start to come into flower. Peppers and sweetcorn need a long growing season so an early start is a must. A good tip from The Sunday Gardener, is to bring the compost in from the cold before using it. Terry Walton of BBC radio said he starts his broad beans and sweet peas off by filling a freezer bag with compost and seed then, with his wife’s permission, places them in the airing cupboard where the all-round warmth will soon promote root growth. He then transplants them into deep pots to ensure a good root system.

The Wenvoe allotments are busy with old and new plot holders working hard as the days get longer. They are sowing carrots early to try and beat the carrot root fly, some are using raised beds to avoid the pest. Whatever allotmenteers are doing it will be under the watchful eye of Herbie who will be resting on his seat against the tin sheets so as not to miss anything. Herbie recommends that you ought to grow your strawberries in hanging baskets to stop slugs ruining your crop. He would also recommend putting fresh grass clippings in a trench before filling with soil, this will keep the soil warm and encourage your seeds to germinate.

Take care and happy gardening.



Your February Garden Tasks


Thompson & Morgan February Tips

  1. Install a water butt, especially good for watering ericaceous plants.
  2. Shred or chop up woody prunings to help with composting.
  3. Trim hedges before birds start nesting.
  4. Cut back ivy and Virginia creeper to prevent your windows and gutters being covered.
  5. Force rhubarb for an early crop.

Suttons Seeds Tips of the Month

  1. Thin out snowdrops and use spares to generate new clumps while they are still in the green.
  2. Cover prepared ground with cloches or polythene to warm up the ground for early planting.
  3. Use those yellow insect tapes in greenhouses to identify which pest is most prevalent.
  4. Check overwintering plants for any with disease.
  5. At the end of the month start off begonia tubers.

The heavy rain at the end of December caused flooding over most of East Wales. Closer to home, Wenvoe had flood water at Nant Isaf and the junction of Walston Road and Old Port Road by St Mary’s Church also had flood water problems. Although the rain fall was exceptional, we can expect this to become a common occurrence. Householders can help by using permeable surfaces when creating new accesses or making garden improvements.

Dahlia tubers stored over winter can be started into growth by placing them in a light warm place to sprout before planting. Misting with a spray bottle will stop them drying out. Place gladioli corms in seed trays and find a light warm spot for them to shoot before planting out to ensure an early display. Prune buddleia and elder down to the base to stop it taking over your plot. Mahonia and winter flowering jasmine can be trimmed after flowering.

If you have a greenhouse or some space on windowsills it’s time to get those seeds started, following instructions on the packet. Don’t worry if you’re a couple of weeks late in getting started as they will soon catch up when warmer weather comes. You can then look forward to some great garden displays throughout the summer.

Growing fruit on a frame [espalier] is a great way of being able to harvest the produce at whatever level you wish. It also makes an excellent windbreak, especially if you have an allotment on the Twyn where anything not fixed down gets blown into next week.

The Wenvoe Wildlife Group have asked if gardeners could see their way to assist the wildlife in our village by cutting hedges as soon as possible so as not to disturb nesting birds and by not turning over their fresh compost heaps until April if possible as some small animals may still be hibernating.

Take care and happy gardening.



Gardeners World Tips for January.


Gardeners World tips for January.

  1. Establish new colonies of snowdrops by purchasing the plants in flower.
  2. Remove diseased leaves from helebores.
  3. Press mistletoe berries into apple tree bark to, hopefully, have your own supply in future.
  4. Check the alpines don’t become smothered by leaves.
  5. Continue to prune climbing roses while dormant.

Environment team to do list.

  1. Check on begonia corms and dahlia tubers, remove any that show signs of rot.
  2. Make a list of jobs in your new diary.
  3. Order some peculiar seeds for a change.
  4. Dead head the pansies to keep them flowering.
  5. Feed the birds and make sure to keep breaking the ice on the water.

Here we go again, full of enthusiasm for the forthcoming year. A good start would be to get the mower serviced and sharpen all the pruning tools. Cleaning all those pots, which you have been promising yourself you will do, will help in controlling any disease. Open the greenhouse once a day to allow fresh air to circulate.

It can be the coldest time of the year right now but with days getting longer you will notice some things in the garden will start to move. The first thing to address are the worm casts on the lawn. Left alone these manage to catch any weed seed in the vicinity then proceed to germinate it. Just brush over the lawn to flatten them. Branches taken off the now defunct real Christmas tree can be placed around plants to help warm up the soil. Apparently, this method is used quite a bit on the continent. Be careful not to tread on any bulbs you may have planted in the lawn. If allowed, windowsills are great for bringing on early plants but don’t panic as those grown later cause less work and they do have a habit of catching up. Sowing lobelia seeds is a tedious job but the end result is spectacular if you can plant them thin enough. If ever you are not sure how well you should be doing just sneak a peek at Mr Crumps garden in Rectory close, if you can’t see over the fence go to Ieuans a couple of doors down as these two never get it wrong. I Have to mention Mr Frank Millar of Grange Close. Those of you that have met him will know what an incredible man he is. When the body stopped him gardening at ground level, veg trugs were the answer. Last year Frank grew some lovely stuff, mostly veg. Mr Millars past is an incredible story, which I hope he puts into print if he’s not too busy.

Christmas usually means that some of your gifts will be plants, Amaryllis are quite popular but along with pots of daffs are sometimes neglected. Just follow the advice on the label, it’s well worth it.

Just a note to say that British Soil will be closed until Jan 8th.

Take care and happy gardening.



Tips for December

The Village Gardener Tips for December

Victoria of the Walled Garden. Tips for December.

  1. Secure your climbers to walls and supports.
  2. Tie up conifers to stop them spreading in high winds or snow.
  3. Prune apple trees by cutting out crossed branches and thinning out the middle.
  4. Stay off the soil in wet conditions to avoid compaction.
  5. Keep watering to a minimum in the greenhouse, especially the pelargoniums.


Pete Ferris. Gardening on a wet day.

  1. Check on the wine you made in the autumn.
  2. Sample the wine
  3. Share your spoils with friends
  4. Realise you are not supposed to meet up, pity.
  5. Enjoy spoils and wine by oneself.


What a year it has been, with all that’s gone on in the world, the garden has been a refuge from bad news. People who work on the land, whether farmers or gardeners, always knew the benefits of working with plants and the soil. Joining local walkers or the Wildlife Group with all their activities, will get you closer to nature and improve wellbeing. If you want to join one of these groups, the numbers are in the front of this magazine. We are all looking forward to a better time in 2021 when hopefully groups can start to meet again. I will be looking forward to the Wenvoe Open Garden event and an Autumn show.

Even at this time of year the green house is quite full, with plants that need protecting against wind or frost. If you can, put the plants outside on a mild day and give it a thorough clean. This will help keep the plants free of disease.

There is one thing assured this year and that is the amount of cardboard that we will need to deal with coming up to Christmas. It can be used a lot around the garden in a variety of ways. The compost bin will benefit from cardboard as it adds carbon and will help when you have lots of grass clippings to break down. It is brilliant for putting on ground that you need to clear, as by the time it rots down the weeds will have died. Putting cardboard down where you need a path, then covering with bark also stops weeds.

At the start of November quite a few new people started work on their allotments. Under the watchful eye of councillor Colin, they were getting stuck into the tasks at hand. These days we must be careful of thieves who see the allotments as a chance to pilfer. So, take note from some of the other allotment holders and don’t leave any tools on site. There is one thing the new starters will never be short of and that’s advice from the other plot holders.

Thanks for all your comments throughout the year. None of us are ever too old to learn, unless you go by the name of Gordon Jones who can give sound advice on everything. Special thanks to Joyce Hoy for being able to name any plant I show her.

Take care and have a lovely Christmas and a great new year.



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