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Seed & Garden Plans for 2019

I hope everone is having a good holiday season! It’s that time of year when the seed catalogs arrive and thoughts turn to garden plans. Do you have any new seeds varieties you are wanting try? Any favourites which you will be repeating?

New things I’d like to try for 2019, with a general focus on things which will bring colour later on in this short season:

Flowering Kale

Gypsophilia ‘Gypsy Deep Rose’


Trailing Pansy, Cool Wave series

Poppies ‘Lauren’s Deep Grape’ & ‘Candy Floss’

Begonia Big series



I think I’ll repeat rudbeckia ‘Autumn Colours’; they made a great array of fall colours and would have lasted longer if it wasn’t for the cold snap in September:

Comments (54)

  • Bruce (Vancouver Island)

    prairie_northrose - I cut my calendula down to 3" last fall as an experiment. I am trying to see what annuals are actually perennials in my zone (7). I already know that my snapdragons ( Antirrhinum majus) are perennial in my zone - they have bloomed for two years and are set to bloom again this year. Each year I have cut the new growth back to about 3" and they stay green through the winter and grow new growth on the old (like woody perennials). The bunch is bigger and better each year so far. I'm excited to see how they will do this year. My calendula have also stayed green and so look as if they will be perennial in my zone. I will post a thread in "garden experiments" in spring when I know more.

    Here are three Canadian companies whose seeds I look at every year.

    William Dam Seeds: www.damseeds.com (I am buying all my seeds from them this year)

    Veseys: www.veseys.com

    West Coast Seeds: www.westcoastseeds.com

  • FrozeBudd_z4

    Bruce, that's a double flowered hawk's beard? ... certainly is attractive!

    The Jolt series of dianthus is a good one, I need to grow them again this year. Last summer, I planted Amazon Neon Duo Cherry and Purple, they produced tall strong plants with shiny foliage and looong lasting flowers, really fantastic! Yes, I did get the 'Elise' lewisia from Parks, germination on those were very good, just be sure to surface sow on a very lean mixture, something with plenty of sand, a rich medium can cause seed failure as I found out, though they can handle richer soils when established.

    Here's my field of rudbeckia from 2015, a feast for the eyes!

  • Bruce (Vancouver Island)

    FrozeBudd - my pictures above are of Calendula and Emilia coccinea respectively. Your rudbeckia are awesome! I can only dream that mine will ever be so beautiful!

  • Bill_minn_3b {West Central MN}

    For the last couple of years, my two 20+- sq. ft. annual beds have come from seed all by themselves. Pansies, petunias, Cosmos, Sun flowers and a few others. So I really haven't done much with those. I started a Clematis in the middle of one so hopefully it will come back again this year.

    There is two rows of Day lilies against the east and south side of the house and a small circle of day lilies planted out front. Also an Annabelle hydrangea getting established along with a Hydrangea paniculata I moved.

    Wife always puts a few hanging pots around the deck.

    Not the best (phone pics) from last year:

    Cosmos below came after the poppies bloomed: sunflower from seed.

    new clematis:

    All volunteer petunias in ring below.

    40 ft long day lilies along the house:

    Day lily ring in the front:

    Annabelle out front:

    Spirea (3) out front.

    paniculata back yard.

    Can't forget new peonies, first bloom last summer:

    And the lilac hedge on both sides of the yard:

  • prairie_northrose (3b north of Calgary AB, Canada)

    Fantastic garden Bill!

    I found transplanting self seeded annuals successful last year. I had some ‘Tangerine Gem’ marigolds seed themselves in random places, it was easy to dig them up with a small clump of soil and transplant them into a tidy row. Same with cosmos.

    I’ve ordered some petunia seeds as well, they cost much less than the newer hybrids. I hope this reflects their readiness to go to seed. A few other seeds I plan to try are Lithops, Himalayan Blue Poppies, plus I have some open pollinated bearded iris and rose seeds saved from last year.

    FrozeBudd - that is a stunning show of Rudbeckia!!! I was very pleased I tried to grow them last year - they had very long lasting blooms which reminded me of miniature sunflowers. The ‘Autumn Colours‘ strain was exciting as there was lots of variety.

  • prairie_northrose (3b north of Calgary AB, Canada)

    Bruce - how has the seed quality for Veseys been for you? Unfortunately I haven’t had the best luck with their live plant material. Although their catalog is gorgeous...

    I‘ve consistently heard good things about West Coast Seeds from multiple sources, I’m lucky the Golden Acre garden centre in town stocks them, I’ve had good luck with their seeds.

    I was going through all the seeds I have last night and quickly realized there will be not enough room under lights for what I’d like to try. I think I will give wintersowing a first try this year. Time to research...

  • Bruce (Vancouver Island)

    Prairie_northrose, in the past I have bought seeds from:

    • Vesey's: perennial flowers - 70% success rate
    • Stokes: vegetables - 100% success rate
    • William Dam Seeds: herbs, annual flowers, perennial flowers, vegetables: 80% success rate with more than 50 new packets of seeds on order now
    • Cottage Gardener: perennial flowers, annual flowers, vegetables: 70% success rate

    I have also bought bulbs, etc from:

    • Breck's: mixed results but they did honour their refund policy with a bunch of stuff than didn't grow for me
    • Vesey's: pretty good results, probably over 90% success rate
    • Botanus: strawberries and blueberries: okay, I have never bought perennial flowers from them as they are generally too expensive (although they have really great stuff)
    • The Lily Nook: just bought from them this year so will have to wait to see how they do

    I get the West Coast Seeds catalog but have not yet ordered from them. I also get catalogues from OSC and Early's.

    I too have way too many seeds to start under lights! I am thinking of getting another bank of lights but for now I may have to just double them up (that is plant two different species of seeds in each pot). I am also in the middle of finishing a new cold frame outside on my raised vegetable bed where I plan to try seeds earlier and also put out my pots when they get too big for my indoor grow station.

    Lots and lots going on this year. So exciting!

  • prairie_northrose (3b north of Calgary AB, Canada)

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with these vendors, it is very helpful! I like Lindenberg Seeds as well - got some great yellow raspberries canes from them last year. Their lily bulbs were a little smaller, but still grew well. This year I also ordered from W.H. Perron (aka Dominion Seed House), they had some good prices.

    I'm also keeping an eye on on Costco.ca for their bulbs, I had very good experiences with their spring lilies and fall tulips/daffodils. Quality & price were excellent. Only drawback was some of the lilies were mislabels; I'll see this spring if it's the same for the tulips & daffs.

    Got my order in from Stokes today. 100 seeds each of Picobella Rose Morn, TriTunia Salmon Veined & Blue Daddy. Last year we transplanted into red solo cups with slits cut out the bottom, might need a new plan this year.

  • FrozeBudd_z4

    PNR, did you receive the "FULL" Stokes catalog or the abbreviated one? The last few years they've been sending out both, now I've only received the condensed version and it's kinda useless, as it forces me to search their website in which operates slowly with my rural "high" speed internet. I often do place orders via websites and generally it's no issue, though with theirs as is, I'd much rather have catalog in hand! I've contacted Stokes a few times to inquire of receiving the full listing, though they have not bothered to reply.

  • prairie_northrose (3b north of Calgary AB, Canada)

    I only got the abbreviated version so far, although last year they sent both versions.

    I find the new Stokes website harder to navigate compared to before, although the display of images is better.

  • prairie_northrose (3b north of Calgary AB, Canada)

    Not sure if you’ve stumbled across this already; looks like they are calling the full catalog the “Commercial Grower’s Guide”, and one has to call their customer service for a hard copy (https://www.stokeseeds.com/us/order-catalog)

    Here’s an online version of the guide, not sure how it’ll load for you:


  • ubro

    I love annuals simply because I get to till the whole bed up and get rid of the perennial quack grass that always seems to creep in. The Perennial beds, for me, are more work. I start lots of annuals from seed each year. The flowers in the pictures above are wonderful.

    I love the Benary zinnias

    I also like statice suworowii ( rats tail statice), it is fun,

    as well as pannicum frosted explosion which reseeds but is not invasive. It is the air looking grass in the top of this picture.

  • FrozeBudd_z4

    Well, there you go, if I had only checked into the site, I "might" have found that for myself. That's awesome, the online version loaded easily and is the next best thing to having catalog in hand and won't take terribly long to prepare my order. Thanks PNR !!

  • prairie_northrose (3b north of Calgary AB, Canada)

    Ubro, quack grass is my ultimate garden enemy. It (or a similar grass) is seeded into my lawn. I've been tempted to tear up the entire lawn to manage it. I'll have to give those annuals you have pictured a try one day. The 'Frosted Explosion' grass looks fun.

    If anyone is interested, a great inspiration for flowers is Floret Flowers - their photos are stunning. I think they are also doing a great job of marketing, 'making flowers hip again': https://www.instagram.com/floretflower/?hl=en 

    I saw her photo of coreopsis 'Incredible' and now on the hunt for it haha.

    FrozeBudd, I had a hard time interpreting what was going on with the Stokes website as well. I used to make websites as a hobby, with a focus on usability. It puzzles me why they are calling their seed catalogs 'Garden Guide' or 'Growers Guide'. It is however a newly launched website & I'm sure they'll make some tweaks as time goes by to make things more user-friendly.

    I *just* figured out on my PC I can hover my mouse pointer over the horizontal menu bar at the top to view all the subcategories! If only I knew that the other day it would have been so much easier!!!

  • FrozeBudd_z4

    Ubro, have you or anyone grown the 'Sweet Mix' series of Sweet William? I'm tempted after trying and loving 'Amazon Neon Duo'. Gorgeous, photos btw, I think I've grown zinnias since I was about nine years old! When it comes to annuals, even though every year I tell myself the same darn thing that I'll be cutting back on them, that never occurs, I just gotta have that rush of color! Have posted this several times, but here it goes again !

    PNR, now that I'm getting a bit more familiar, I guess the Stokes site really isn't too bad and it does contain additional photos ... though, still am needing to click and browse back and forth more than I'd like, but what are long winter nights for anyways, lol. Websites I most prefer are those that give the option to view every single variety listed within a category (such as annuals) upon a page that keeps loading itself, I can scan through fast without missing anything. Though, the Stokes 'page turner' link works great also!

    As for quack grass, fortunately I have very, very little other than just a few clumps around the perimeter of the yard and off into the bush. Since I had started with a new lawn, I was vigilant to spray out any quack grass that did show itself. I do though contend with miserable poa that seeds itself out in a total flash! Last year, I had finally gotten smart and mulched all walkways and edges and what a time and energy saver that was!

    Floret Flowers, indeed those photos are beautiful and so well comprised! I sure was eyeing those dahlias and now have myself almost pushing the button on a order to Stone Meadow Gardens! I haven't grown dahlias in years, though last summer had ordered 'Firepot' from Lindenberg and the thing sure does have gorgeous vibrant coloring that every single visitor was smitten with! It's a short compact grower ideal for containers.

  • ubro

    Frozbud, the sweet series is lovely simply because you can get them in other colours than fluorescent pink and purple. The black cherry, coral, white, and the scarlet are my favourite. The are not as tall as the Amazon series but just as easy to grow and the slightly shorter stems are not a problem. I loved the Elise Lewesii, when did you start them, do they need a long time to get to blooming size?

    PNR, I have some coreopsis incredible seeds if you would like some? I have a seed stash in my cold room. I haven't checked the germination rate yet but I keep them in wide mouthed mason jars with a packet of milk powder as a desiccant and they store very well this way. My husband likens me to Scrooge McDuck with my seeds, constantly counting them and cataloging LOL.

    I will note, I am a specialty cut flower grower so if some of you have a problem sourcing seeds I might be able to help. Just message me.

  • FrozeBudd_z4

    Okay, guess I'll be trying the 'Sweet Mix' for myself, the 'Black Cherry' looks especially nice in photos. As for "Elise' lewisia, it will bloom first year from an early sowing, such as now into February. I've heard them claimed challenging to start, though didn't find that the case whatsoever and last winter had scads of seedlings pop up during winter in a flat of established plants stored over in the garage. As for indoor sowing, a lean medium high in sand content is advisable, a rich high organic mix will cause germination failure. They begin germinating in about four days in coolish house temps of around 17 to 19 C and I had a high success rate with the seed obtained from Parks. Later, when more established, they have a preference for richer soil compared to the early juvenile stage. Heck, I had collected a good quantity of seed from the best of the lot with intention to offer them up to others, though someone around here seems to view seeds stored in bowls as debris!

  • prairie_northrose (3b north of Calgary AB, Canada)

    Ubro - Thank you for the offer! I plan on dropping by the garden centres this week to do some shopping, if I don't come across them I might give you a message.

    FrozeBudd - That photo of your garden is stunning & quite the inspiration! I appreciate the tips on growing lewisia. I ended up giving Etsy a try for seeds, hopefully they come through.

    I'm having problems right now with coated / pelleted seeds not dissolving. They are the BIG begonias from Stokes. I've had them planted in cell packs for three days now. I've now been using a dropper to drop water directly on the coating, as well as keeping the cell packs in a zip lock bag. Has anyone else had this happen before? I planted pelleted petunias and other coated seeds last year and they dissolved immediately. My understanding is begonias need light to germinate...

  • FrozeBudd_z4

    Here's a quick reply regarding the pelleted begonia seeds. I had the same problem and after several days had used one of those sharp pointed toothpicks to carefully crush apart the moistened pellets, then giving an additional bit of misting to further dissolve the clayish substance. No, don't worry, these seeds will not yet have begun to sprout, they do take their sweet time! I had excellent germination with both the BIG begonias and 'Gryphon', they're gorgeous plants!

  • prairie_northrose (3b north of Calgary AB, Canada)

    FrozeBudd - thank you for the great tip! I just gave them a poke with a bamboo skewer and it worked excellent to loosen the coating off the seed! They were starting to soften, but at this rate would take several more days before dissolving completely.

    Good to hear you had good germination rates for begonias. Did you happen to use warm or room temperature?

  • FrozeBudd_z4

    I think the recommended germination temperature is 21 - 22 C and I was pretty much bang on that in my basement with infloor heating. The begonias seedlings will be absolutely minuscule when they emerge in about ten days time, you will either need a bionic eye or magnifying glass to see them in their first three weeks of life!

  • ubro

    I grew double tuberose begonias from seeds a few years back. I got them from Blackmore and Langdon's in the UK. They are minuscule but very rewarding.

    I had dianthus with a seed coat that refused to melt and I finally resorted to dissolving them in a cup of warm water, putting it thru a coffee filter, drying them and just planting the seeds. My germination was better simply because emergence time was more even. If some start too late I find that I have to take the cover off so the emerging seedlings don't damp off and then it is not moist enough to melt the remaining seed coats resulting in death.

    I am doing some Lisianthus that I had to resort to breaking the seed coat just like Frozebudd. They are beautiful and make wonderful cut flowers but they need to be started around this time.

  • prairie_northrose (3b north of Calgary AB, Canada)

    Woohoo germination success today! These are the smallest seedlings I’ve ever started off with. I’ll be stunned to see these little guys turn into “big” begonia plants. I took some photos using a macro lens, and placed a penny beside one for size comparison, they are otherwise surrounded by coarse sand:

  • ubro

    Watch carefully for damping off or drying out. They are so tiny and sweet. But they do grow well

  • FrozeBudd_z4

    Several years ago I grew 'Illumination Golden Picotee' hanging tuberous begonias, these had produced super nice full high quality blooms. I think I started them January 1st and they had shown off nicely in their first summer. Had kept them growing into October to try and bulk up the tiny bulbs a bit, though still had lost several while keeping them over, I'm tempted to grow these again! Though, think I'll wait on a newer more compact variety called 'Sun Dancer', these sure does look goood!

    PNR, that didn't take too long at all and by the beginning of March, they'll begin hitting their stride!

  • marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

    I haven't ordered anything new in the way of seeds this year, just the usual ones that i get. Last year, whatever kind of seed starting mix i got had fungus gnats in it and i lost most of what i started. :( I'd started some Evening Scentsation petunias but none survived, so i'm trying them again this year. It's too early, but i'm so tempted to plant some!

    I have ordered a few things from Botanus - some new begonias, and a daylily called "Vintage Ruffles".

  • Bruce (Vancouver Island)

    About 80% of my seeds arrived yesterday! I'm all set to start some this weekend. I get to try out my new grow-station. I'm so excited...

  • ubro

    I have started some of my seeds under lights in the basement. My Ranunculus, lisianthus, carnations, and many herbs

  • FrozeBudd_z4

    Marcia, yes, those fungus gnats sue can be a problem! I always use several of those yellow sticky strips and sometimes set out a few shallow dishes of water with a few dish drops (fruit scented type works best) and this attracts and drowns the buggers.

  • marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

    I couldn't find any sticky strips last year, but thanks for reminding me to look again. This year, i'll leave my seed starting mix outside for today. D'you think the -30s temps will kill them? :D

  • FrozeBudd_z4

    Yes, -30 C should freezzze those little destructive buggers, unless they're tougher than I thought. A few years ago, I had a little container containing a peaty soil mix and some seeds of a slow germinating type. Had wondered why nothing was sprouting and so had scratched the surface of the soil back and YUCK, it was white with fungus gnat larva! This is a good reminder to self to purchase Sticky Strips at Walmart today!

    Has been a mild winter here thus far, the coldest overnight low of only -22 C, but -32 C very soon to come, thanks for sharing the COLD with us Marcia, lol :)

  • marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

    Well, yeah, we LIKE to share that kind of thing! LOL Where are you?

  • FrozeBudd_z4

    I'm located near Edmonton, in a land where early September snows are not exactly uncommon! I don't ever wish to experience a September like that of last year, miserable cold and snowy for weeks on end!

  • Bruce (Vancouver Island)

    FrozeBudd - as an ex-Edmontonian - I feel deeply for you! I understand that you are expecting -50C fairly soon?

  • FrozeBudd_z4

    Bruce, so far, the very coldest I see forecast is overnight lows of about -32 C and who knows what wind chills will occur along with that. I guess, even in the States, some zone 5 regions are expecting -55 wind chills, bbbrrrr!

  • marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

    This is all actually coming down from the north, so technically we're not to blame! :D

  • ubro

    I have used those mosquito dunks in my water. I fill a large garbage pail with rainwater in the fall and put it in my seeding room in the basement. I add some snow thru the winter to keep the amount up. This is the water I use for my plants. If I have a fungus gnat problem I take a bucket of that water, add a mosquito dunk and water my plants with that. Apparently it works, but I have not had a control to compare it with.

  • prairie_northrose (3b north of Calgary AB, Canada)

    Update - growing these begonias from seed has indeed been *very* rewarding so far! 100% germination, plus bonus, one pellet had two seeds.

    'Big Rose Bronze Leaf' is proving more vigorous than the red. I’ll have to give the 'Illumination' series a try one day, and ‘Sun Dancer’ once it becomes available - they both look stunning. I find begonias have some of the best tasting edible flowers - they taste like tart apples. Hopefully these make it to that point.

    Same penny for size comparison:

    Left is ‘Big Rose Bronze Leaf’ and right is ‘Big Red Bronze Leaf’:

  • FrozeBudd_z4

    ‘Big Rose Bronze Leaf’ is certainly moving along nicely, I did not have mine under lights and they had been much more pokey in comparison. What plants I've kept over winter have been happily blooming for months on end. As for tuberous begonias, some of my favorites have been the fragrant ones that smell like roses and citrus, and yes, at times I've nibbled on the blooms.

    PNR, do you have any rose seeds stratifying? I currently only have a few rose seedlings up and running, down from the 400 to 800 that has been commonplace and it's actually nice to have a break from all that tending and transplanting! The very poor end to last summer had caused pretty much all my rose crosses to end up as immature, here's to hoping for better things this summer!

  • prairie_northrose (3b north of Calgary AB, Canada)

    FrozeBudd - yes I only have a few open pollinated seeds from Snow Pavement, Thérèse Bugnet and Morden Blush stratifying. I didn’t do any cross pollinations last year.

    Thats too bad to hear how the early cold affected your hips! I‘ve been tempted to start keeping some seed parents in pots to extend the season but I haven’t had luck keeping roses potted. Perhaps if I had a better cold storage; a cellar or cold room would be amazing. Plus I like the cane hardies, not sure if they would be too happy in pots. I might still give it a try one day.

    The mass amount of rose seedlings I had last year I planted in the ground. In December, I placed straw bales around them, plus some straw on top. I hope it works and does not backfire.... I’m sure the mice have also moved into the straw bales. This will really be a trial of letting nature do the culling. I’ll be amazed to see if anything grows back, it will be truly tough!

  • ubro

    My Elise Lewisia has germinated, thanks for the tips FrozBudd.

    PNR the begonias are sure satisfying to grow aren't they? As a plant enthusiast you would love a cold room. I use mine to keep bulbs as well as my water lilies and lotus dormant until spring.

    The days are getting longer and soon the plants can come out of storage.

  • Bill_minn_3b {West Central MN}

    I'll just do like usual and let the wife pick out what she wants at the local green house this spring. That way everybody is happy. Trust me. :^))

    A lot of what I do is 'unplanned' and 'warm weather inspired' so we'll see how that plays out.

    I'm starting a boat load of tree seeds this year and my son wants as many Thuja occidentalis as I can grow, to plant in an area of lower wet ground on some new property he's purchased. I must have in the thousands of Thuja seeds, so I might try some commercial grade level of growing this year (help!).

    I also plan on starting some Celtis occidentalis, Ostrya virginiana, Picea abies, Tsuga canadensis and a few Acer saccharum seeds. Not to mention my tree rooting attempts going on in the basement.

    Should a hobby keep me this busy? I'm already planning on downsizing for next year...lol.

  • ubro

    I had trouble with the Acer saccharum for some reason. I did start some paper birch as well as a spruce seedlings a while back and they do germinate fairly easily.

    Yup, a hobby is busier than a job. I seem to gravitate to the "hard to germinate" plants, I like a challenge. I started a few Cypripedium Reginae seeds this fall, two have germinated out of the thousands that were in the seed pods.

  • wayne

    I just checked some rose seeds in my fridge and they are germinating, I need to pick up some supplies, have Hazeldean, Prairie Peace and a single white Scots in there, not sure what else, all are open pollinated.

  • prairie_northrose (3b north of Calgary AB, Canada)

    I’m giving some open pollinated iris seeds a try this year, got one little seedling so far. Also dabbling in pollinating some Amaryllis. Every year some bulbs rot for me, but every year I am drawn to getting another one to brighten up these dreary winter days. Here is ‘Queen of the Night’:

    Wayne - how long did you keep the seeds in the fridge for? I haven’t had any luck sprouting Prairie Peace seeds yet, I find their shell/achenes very thick & tough.

  • wayne

    They have been in there since mid October I think, I haven't been doing a good job of keeping track. I am not positive which plants they are from. I did mark some of the baggies, LOL

  • prairie_northrose (3b north of Calgary AB, Canada)

    Wayne, thank you for the info. I’ll try again one day.

  • wayne

    Prairie, I came across this the other day from Santa Clara Rose Valley Society, scvrs.homestead.com/hybridizekb1.html , it is the best info that I have found.

  • wayne

    I will be doing the peroxide bath on the bag that I do have marked as P.P. (the seeds that is) in hopes of getting them to germinate, I don't have the dough blender attachment but that seems to be the ticket for tough achenes.

  • FrozeBudd_z4

    I think I've now ordered up wayyy too many plants and seeds for spring, a bit of online retail therapy seems to help during these long cold winters! Problem is, I really should STOP looking at websites, they always have at least a few tempting things! What I want to avoid is having tooo many container plants to tend on my back deck.

    Ubro, good to know the lewisia has germinated and hopefully will develop well for you. I have several trays of them in the attached unheated garage and a few plants had been blooming until that last bitter cold snap had taken temps in there down to about -6 C. I find the garage ideal for my hardy and semi hardy potted plants, including roses and buddleia. During weather like this, containers can remain frozen for weeks on end, though that's a good thing and better than them breaking dormancy too early during mild spells. The cold room is great for bulbs and tender roots and of course the stockpile of potatoes, cabbage and carrots, but also keeps canned goods remaining fresh for longer. And, yes, ideal for storing the waterlilies I had grown in the past! But, now after thirty years I've given them up :( ... though, several breeders have developed hardy BLUE waterlilies and I'd have no problem dropping a pretty penny if I'd ever come across certain varieties!

    PNR, yes, I hope your rose seedlings will be alright without mice bothering them and you'll get some beauties this summer! I'm certainly looking forward and continuously seeking new roses to hybridize with. I think you've seen these hardy seedlings before, but what the hay!

    A bit of rose slug damage on this lasting rich red seedling

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