Thursday, July 21, 2022

Mid-Summer Cottage Garden: First Year

Hey everyone! Today I want to share my new-to-me landscape garden as it is fleshing out in July of our first year here in our new cottage home. It was May when I did my last garden post, so go get a drink and get comfortable. Lots of updates and photos ahead.
New Garden Bistro


We moved into this home in October 2021, and the first thing I did was a major overhaul in my Zone 6b*-7a* mature landscape. (* Being just yards away from the river in the valley, our temperatures are a tad more moderate than the rest of what my zip code - particularly in the hill sections - would bring back if you entered it on the USDA hardiness zone map, hence the range for my zone).

Since May (my first garden post in this cottage), the garden has fleshed out quite a bit, best seen in the collage below, showing the summer annuals and grass growth within the newest contours drawn back in April.  

Summer annuals and grass: early May (top frame) to early July (bottom frame)
At the front of the house, the Hypericum Hydcote (St. John's Wort) bloomed most profusely in June, and still has a few blooms at this point in July. 
I purchased a clematis (H.F. Young) in mid-May and planted it to the left of the Hypericum. It's doing well, and has already grown and bloomed in July.
To the right of the front entry, Hydrangea (Everlasting Garnet) started blooming mid-June, and continues.
The coral drift roses were treated with Bayer's 3 in 1 Systemic Rose & Flower Care the first week of July (no affiliation, simply a reference for a product I love and use). This helps keep them from getting black spot, insects, and helps encourage blooms. Mid-July was when the second flush of blooms for these roses looked their best.
I bought two coneflower echinacea (Magnus) perennials in May to plant on either side of my garden statue (Augustine) on the north side of the house. They started blooming in late June, along with existing daylilies, of which I had no idea what variety they would be.
The daylilies here are a pretty apricot / peach color. Happily, the one I transplanted from elsewhere in the landscape back in April turned out to be the same apricot / peach variety.
Speaking of daylilies, I had a patch growing behind the house in a narrow pathway. These started blooming in June. They are the taller, common ditch lilies. They are now completely spent, about thirty days later.
Including the daylilies planted on the north side of the house, the others were scattered in the landscape behind the house. The two varieties on the lower half of the collage were from the prior owner's previous garden which she had transplanted here. They are mid-size rebloomers, very pretty. 
As best I could research and identify all my varieties (besides the ditch lilies), they appear to be as the labels in the collage below note.
Remember back in May when I noted having a bed of what appeared to be gladiola? Well, it turns out they are Crocosmia (Lucifer)!
Just a few days after identifying the flower, I spotted my first hummingbird coming to visit! They love this flower! Though not a great photo, you can see the hummer just above the blooms in the picture below. This was so exciting for me, as I haven't seen hummingbirds in four years, since downsizing in 2018. And I'm not even putting feeders out!
A fun thing I did for my gravel space at the end of June was add a set of bistro chairs, table and umbrella. This is the perfect perch for watching both the hummingbirds and butterflies. The chairs are Big Lots (and 20% off, I love them!), the table Amazon, the umbrella Lowe's. The toss pillows are also Big Lots. The little blue gadget on the table is a Thermacell mosquito repellant (Amazon) that Suzy from Worthing Court recommended, and I would too!
If you notice the little trellis behind the table, another garden surprise appeared on it in late June. This clematis bloom came from the vine I randomly found behind the house in early spring, which I transplanted here. It's not much, but a hopeful promise for future years, and looks to be a double blooming clematis - bonus!
The butterfly bushes and lavender I planted on the south side of my garden in mid-April can be seen when sitting in the bistro chairs (as can the crocosmia).
The Proven Winners Pugster Blue butterfly bushes were named plant of the month in Southern Living's August 2022 issue. They're dwarf size, growing 2-3' tall and wide, yet have a full size bloom like the standard, taller butterfly bushes from years past. The lavender is Grosso, which can grow very large (up to 4'), but I plan to keep it pruned once my plants grow together in width.

Besides seeing new plantings doing well, seeing the butterflies and hummingbirds in the garden are simple pleasures (zebra and tiger swallowtail pictured below). 
To the left of the Pugster Blue and Grosso plantings,  I had found another random plant elsewhere in the garden and transplanted here. I thought was a Limelight hydrangea, but when it wasn't blooming like one other that had been transplanted within the landscape, I began to wonder what might be wrong.
What was wrong was my thinking it was a Limelight! It's a Callicarpa bush! Also known as Beautyberry, my Google lens app identified it just this week. The variety is Early Amethyst if the landscape rendering left to me by the seller is correct. I'm looking forward to seeing this in the fall when the flowers turn to berries!
Across from the butterfly bushes and lavender are where my peonies bloomed. I had an empty space where I plan to transplant one of the peonies in fall, so in early May I started four year old Mexican sunflowers from seeds I saved from my previous home landscape. Here's what they look like mid-July (top frame of collage below). 
I'm expecting blooms anytime now, which will be all over these stems, bright orange, like the photo below. They attract butterflies too. By the way, to the left of the Mexican sunflowers is my lilac bush I hard pruned in May. No blooms (it's a rebloomer), but it has leafed out nicely.
I've been working in the north garden, still watching plants emerge, surprise, and delight. This was previously the "shade" garden, but is changing since the huge pin oak tree was removed.

Taken from the street side looking into this area, I am still deciding on what I want this to be when it grows up, lol. As compared to my post in May, several more plants have grown into what appear to be healthy specimens. I have been purging much of the Lily of the Valley and Sensitive Ferns, which are invasive.
New plants which have emerged include the crepe myrtle and weigela (top right area), which are practically growing on top of each other. One or both will get transplanted in fall. I think the crepe myrtle is a volunteer from the tree-sized crepe myrtle that was removed last October. 

The limelight hydrangea (top rt in photo above) was transplanted last fall and seems to be doing well. It was a nub of a plant then.
The spirea (Neon Flash) was a nice surprise in late June when it bloomed.
One bloom showed up on one of the hydrangeas (pink), but these must be a variety which bloom on old wood, as it was a lonely one. The same goes for the oak leaf hydrangea, which flank the Hinoki Cypress (one is visible in the labeled photo above). They did not bloom, as they were hard pruned last October. 

So, that's my mid-summer cottage garden update in its first year. Before I go, I'd like to mention how much I've enjoyed the book, The Art of Flowers. I was the recipient from Pam's giveaway on her blog, Everyday Living. It is an especially welcome read and reference now that I am back in the garden.
I must almost mention my blogger friend Lee from the blog A Guide to Northeastern Gardening. In one of her posts, she had on a t-shirt that I scoured until I found it. This pretty much sums up the feeling I have again, being in the garden.
It's been a really fun almost year now (!) for me as I've played in this new cottage landscape. I hope you have something that brings you the kind of feeling my t-shirt proclaims with gardening. Pictured below is another [something] someone I've found joy in spending time with the past almost year (!). 

Jacqueline often visits me after her daycare and momma's work so momma can work out at the gym. This garden bear she is hugging was gifted to me by her momma, who made it for me in her first job at Build-A-Bear in 2004. Perhaps Baby J will enjoy gardening with me soon.🥰

Leave me comment and let me know you stopped by. Share some dirt!🏵️🌱

40 comments:

  1. I loved seeing your garden. We have some of the same plants as you do: clematis, beautyberry, hydrangea, lilies. One of our front gardens is very lush with zinnias that we never planted in this space! We also have some volunteer sunflowers, which the birds love now that they've gone to seed. You must be in your glory fussing with the garden and seeing the hummingbirds and butterflies!

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  2. Wow, so much gorgeous color! I am so glad to see hydrangea and butterfly bush in your yard as they're a fave of mine and it seems like they give back to the gardener with all the pollinator activity. It looks just gorgeous Rita!

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  3. Good morning, Rita. I sense your excitement about gardening once again. Your front entrance changed dramatically from early May to early July as the grass and summer annuals filled in. The red and white draws your eye to the front door. The Hypericum bloomed beautifully as well as the “everlasting garnet” hydrangea. The drift roses look really healthy, mine are not doing well this year. Do yours have a nice fragrance? I need to plant coneflowers, I love their blooms. The butterfly bushes and lavender will complement each other with great color and the fragrance of lavender wafting through the air is pure bliss. I remember you had beautiful lavender at your other home. One of my pleasures are seeing butterflies and hummingbirds enjoying our garden. I know you are so thrilled to see the hummingbirds. Is your crocosmia still blooming. The north garden is already looking great, I can imagine it as it grows up. I love spirea with all of the varieties that are available. I am so glad you are enjoying the book and that is a cute shirt. As beautiful as your garden is, Jacqueline is the most beautiful of all. I think she really favors you!! She is precious holding that precious bear. I enjoyed drinking my coffee as I strolled through your garden. Happy gardening, my friend!

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  4. Good Morning, Rita. I so enjoyed your garden with my morning coffee. You have made such strides since moving into your home. I loved seeing all the different varieties that you have planted. They will give you beautiful color throughout the seasons. You have some of my favorite plantings that attract some wonderful visitors to your garden. It's such a joy to be able to look out your window and see a garden blooming. Love the shirt. Your Jacqueline is precious. Hope she grows up to be a gardener just like you. Enjoy the rest of the Summer in your lovely setting.

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  5. Good Morning Rita, I LOVED reading and browsing your photos on your blog today! Your landscape beds are coming along nicely, thanks to your TLC. I love your sweet seating area and your color palette is so welcoming. I do miss gardening in the north, it's just not the same in the south. The pièce de résistance is your sweet little granddaughter!!! HE WHO PLANTS GARDENS PLANTS HAPPINESS! Have a great week! Kathleen

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  6. Rita, this is such an inspiring post to enjoy on a summer morning. You have made so much progress in your new cottage garden in less that a year if I remember correctly. The annuals and grass beds have grown into a lovely welcome mat for the cottage entrance. You inherited and have planted so many beautiful blooming plants all around cottage and no doubt you and Will will enjoy sitting in the newly designed sitting area enjoying the gardens as they mature. I love dallies, you have such beautiful colors too. Hummingbirds are so interesting to watch and very entertaining. We attract them with blooming plants and feeders. Great shot of your hummer. The lavender looks amazing, mine does not do well and I have to replace it every year!!! Oh so sweet is baby J, I just bet she grows up with your green thumb. A precious shot of her and what a joy she must be for you! Love the t-shirt, my sentiments exactly. I'm so happy for you to have your garden back! Great post Rita!!!!

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  7. Rita I am so happy you are back in a home and can let your garden whimsy happen. Love you saved your sweet cherub reading in the garden. He just makes me smile. Everything is growing so beautifully. Happy Thursday. xoxo Kris

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  8. Rita, Your garden landscape is so pretty. Lovely color everywhere! I love hummers and butterflies and know it's a joy to see them around the house. You really made some wonderful changes and your hard work paid off indeed. I enjoyed the stroll through your beautiful landscape. Stay cool in this extreme heat. Clara❤️

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  9. I am so glad to see you back in your garden because I learn so much! You seem so much happier and more yourself. It is all taking shape so beautifully. We have two "surprises" which have popped up close to the house after our redo of the front yard. I first thought one was some kind of a squash, but so far it hasn't produced any, just some yellow flowers that look like a precursor to squash! The other one I first thought was a marigold, but there are no flowers on that one. I need to try that identify app again. The deer and rabbits are enjoying the peaches, but they don't seem to bother flowers. I wish you could be my personal consultant about these things.

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  10. Lovely!!! You expertise and diligent hard work has rewarded you! I'm thrilled you once again have a garden. I think that gardening would be the most difficult to give up! Thanks for sharing, Rita. And now you have Baby J to grow up gardening at your side. She will be a master gardener by the time she is a teen. Maybe before!

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  11. Rita your garden always inspires me. Everything in my yard is dead or almost dead. The triple digit temps combined with restricted watering are not a gardeners friend. I just can't bring myself to plant cactus. :)

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  12. Your gardens are lovely Rita. I can see the love you poured into those spaces. Your front entrance has changed dramatically. Love the florals lining your walkway. Beautiful flowers are emerging. and your sweet cottage home is showing it's true personality. The surprise blooms are so pretty. Love the sunglasses on your statue. Congrats on winning the floral book. Baby Jacqueline is so adorable.

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  13. Rita I can see your joy and delight in your garden. It makes me smile as I see all your enthusiasm knowing how much you missed your gardening endeavors while living in your lovely condo. There are so many plants to enjoy and I can just see you sitting in your bistro chair with a cuppa...resting after an early morning weeding or watering or simply just checking the progress each plant is making.

    I remember in Kansas, bridal spirea was almost considered a weed by some, but I have always loved the white dainty flower-lets! Don't think that is a word, but I made it one. LOL!

    I love the before and after pictures of your front entry. I always get excited to see butterflys and hummingbirds and will never forget how I rescued a hummer when he flew into my picture window and knocked the wind out of himself. I held him, flicking water at him to help revive him and he rewarded me with resting his little string-like legs and feet on my finger...not wanting to let go. I held him for the longest time as I sat on my front porch before sitting him on the railing so he would take flight. He watched me for a long while before his little wings started their quick flutter and he flew away. My heart wells with gratitude at one of God's little creatures allowing me into it's life for a glimpse up close and personal.

    Give your little grand an extra hug for me....she is so special too.
    Blessings Always my friend
    Kari

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  14. What amazing progress and beauty, Rita! I can “feel” your excitement about digging in the dirt again, and I’m so glad you have such great places to do it. Both the Lucifer and little Jacqueline especially caught my eye today. Thanks for all the visual treats today!

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  15. Rita, what a delight to see and hear about the progress in your garden. I loved your words, emerge, surprise, and delight. Watching flowers is a delight and they surprise often jumping around or skipping a year to bloom. Gardening is full of surprises and delights. Of course, frustration too, but all in all the delights win out. You are a great planner and remember so well. I need to keep records because my memory is not to be trusted.It all runs together.
    I loved my spirea and it looked so nice in arrangements but mine died and I was not sure why.
    I enjoyed your enthusiasm. I am glad you are having fun and sharing it with us.
    Your grandbaby is adorable and growing so fast.

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  16. I really enjoyed my garden tour, Rita! I’m sure you enjoy sitting in those adorable chairs and watching your butterflies and hummingbirds. Thank you for identifying everything. I love being in the garden, too, but not lately with our unbearable heat. The cutest flower of all is darling baby Jacqueline. I’m sure she’ll pick up the gardening gene and be your little helper.

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  17. Among all the gorgeous flowers and plantings, Baby J is the sweetest and prettiest around. Oh that look on her face with the bear. It's priceless. So glad you are close to your family. The bistro table and chairs is so "happy" in that bright blue and red. What a fun spot for relaxing and enjoying the hummers and flowers. Love the T shirt. perfect. Now come spend some time in my way too hot and neglected garden. The heat is horrendous here!

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  18. I have been a long time admirer of your beautiful gardens in the past and now in your new home....You have done a wonderful job creating your new gardens!...Yes, the Art of Flowers is a fabulous book!!! I look forward to your garden progress....Have a great weekend Rita!

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  19. Shirley @Housepitality DesignsJuly 22, 2022 at 6:46 AM

    Hi Rita...don't know what happened but I guess i was published a anonymous above!

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  20. Oh Rita, I am so happy you are able to play in the dirt again after your condo living, it is obvious from your words and photos how much you love it! I know zero about gardening and have never had the desire to plant and tend a garden, but I certainly appreciate the work that goes into it and the joy that flowers and plants can bring. Your garden table for 2 spot looks like a relaxing place to hang out and enjoy the visiting birds and butterflies. I haven't heard of a mosquito table before, what a smart idea!! You have such a beautiful variety of plants and blooms, I am amazed at what you've accomplished in the short time you've been in your new home. Baby J is adorable holding and loving that teddy bear, I know you love her visits!
    Jenna

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  21. I've been waiting for this post Rita! Everything is so beautiful! The garden seems to do for you what a visit to the sea does for me... it really is so good for the soul. You've done an amazing job in such a short time. I'm looking forward to following along as you make this house and it's surroundings your own. Going through your pictures for the umpteenth time makes me miss gardening so much. (My knees just couldn't take it anymore.). But I do have to say that the prettiest little flower in your garden is Baby J. What a doll she is! Thanks for sharing Rita. Your post has brightened my day!

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  22. Oh my golly, Baby J is adorable! I know she'll love gardening with you soon. Your gardens are aaaahhhhmazing! I've tried so many times to grow hydrangeas but they never bloom beyond what they have on them initially when I put them in the ground. I can grow me some hefty weeds though! ;) The statue with the sunglasses is fantastic! I would have never thought to do that but it's hilarious! Please keep sharing your garden. I can see why you are enjoying it so. Just beautiful.

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  23. Rita, what a joy it was to visit your amazing garden, landscape and get another peak of your adorable grandbaby! It's incredible what you've accomplished in such a short time --- you must not only have two green thumbs, but fingers and toes lol! I especially loved the beautiful photographs of the butterflies. Working on posts now to share my sons' bountiful rooftop urban gardens. The green thumb must have skipped a generation ...

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  24. Beautiful pictures Rita - I had to open your post on my computer and my phone did not do it justice. What a lot you have accomplished in such a short time! It must be so fun to see the surprises pop up; I love the hydrangeas and your little bistro spot. Baby J is just adorable. I hope you continue to share your lovely garden and happy gardening!

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  25. How time flies when you are having fun! Goodness, it's nearly one year since you moved into your lovely cottage. You have achieved wonders in the garden, Rita. Everything is looking beautiful. I must admit, I too find my soul in my garden. The sweetest photo of your Jacqueline♡ It won't be long till you and your sweet Baby J will be co-conspirators in the garden, getting the low down on all the dirt.

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  26. First off Jacqueline is absolutely precious! I'm sure she'll be joining you as soon as time allows:) I'm so impressed by your gardens. You are much more methodical about it than I am. Looks like you've had great growth after only one year. Congrats! And thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. xo Kathleen

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  27. Rita, your garden has been transformed in such a short time! And everything is looking lovely and healthy. Over the 25 years we've been in this house our trees (which were here long before the house was built) have grown ever taller and more robust. They are really gorgeous and provide welcome shade, privacy and noise abatement. But they are a challenge to garden under and around, sigh....

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  28. There is nothing i enjoy more than seeing someone's garden - BUT I do not enjoy gardening - LOL. Your new home looks lovely and that sweet little girl is so adorable! I know you are enjoying both!

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  29. Hi Rita, I’m late to visit as we have been out of town. How fun to see how your new garden grows! You’ve unearthed and discovered some wonderful specimens in garden. Our neighbors have a beautyberry bush that I always admire and tell myself I need to plant one, then promptly forget. It's aptly named, the berries are so gorgeous, they look almost artificial. Your clematis looks a lot like our ‘Diamantina’. In addition to being pretty, it blooms for a good long time. Can you believe I have never seen a Zebra Swallowtail? What a beautiful butterfly! I had to google the host plant, the pawpaw tree, which is native to NC but we must not have any nearby.
    I adore bistro set with your Big Lot (*gasp*) chairs. I can attest to how well Thermacell works, my hubby has two that he takes with him on fishing trips and we use them by the lake when there isn’t a breeze to keep the mosquitos away. Baby J is adorable…so sweet cuddling with the gardening bear. ♥

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  30. Rita...your garden looks amazing. And you chairs look so inviting. We don't get enough sun on our patio to really grow any flowers, but the landscapers in our community do such a good job and we can at least see the beautiful shrubs and flowers from our spot. I have moved to very realistic faux plants...so real, neighbors visiting asked if they needed to water the geranium while we were away! Your little visitor is adorable ! Enjoy the rest of your summer !

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    1. Thanks, Ann! I'm a proponent of good faux florals, they've come such a long way. I almost bought geraniums last year while in the condo.

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  31. Rita,
    Your garden is so lovely. You have done a great job. Your grand daughter is precious. What a joy. Congratulations, you are being featured on Thursday Favorite Things. I hope you stop by.
    https://www.eclecticredbarn.com/2022/07/join-thursday-favorite-things.htm
    Hugs,
    Bev

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  32. So pretty! Love the sunglasses on your little statue!

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  33. Just popping back in to say I'm featuring your garden on Farmhouse Friday tomorrow. Thanks for linking up. Hope you stop by again soon.

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  34. Rita, you have done a great job and I'm glad you posted about the Crocosmia (Lucifer) as I spotted one a couple years ago at my local library and forgot all about it. I enjoy adding a plant each year that will attract hummers. Jacqueline is so precious, and I see gardening in her future.

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  35. Very enjoyable to read about your gardening experience here. I have the poster form of your T-shirt in my garden shed. Have fun out there!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your comment. Love that you have the poster in your garden shed!

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  36. So much beauty, Rita! The garden is coming along beautifully, and shows the fruits of your hard labor! Love the t-shirt, and of course, your little Jacqueline is precious!

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  37. I've all but given up on my gardening efforts. I'm just not diligent enough in my care. It's too hot and humid, and the sun has scorched everything within an inch of its life this year. When I see how pretty all of your plants are, I know I'm barking up the wrong tree. I need to stick with indoor stuff!😁

    I love the way you used that bright red table to draw the eye to that area and then made it all work with those pillows having a bit of red in them. Really slick! I love the bold of the red against the cool of the blue.

    I'm so glad you're enjoying your new home and exploring what all you can do to make it fabulous! Have a great weekend!!!

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