Paul Zimmerman optimism regarding ARS

henry_kuskaOctober 9, 2012
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Brittie - La Porte, TX 9a

Honestly, I let my ARS membership lapse this year and I really don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. I'm just your average gardener who doesn't exhibit or anything though.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:45PM
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Brittie, your sentiments are pretty much those I began to feel about twenty years ago. I refused to join my local rose society at the time because of the statement the president made at the meeting I attended to check them out. "If you don't exhibit, you don't belong". OK. I have done everything else you can think of with roses, except exhibit, so I didn't belong. Initially, they did have some interesting information. Interesting because I didn't know much and it was pre Internet days. But, I agree with you, it just has never seemed worth renewing. I've probably received far more "bang for my bucks" not sending them to the ARS. Kim

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 6:26PM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

I attended my first rose competition last weekend. I clerked--followed 2 judges around. The blooms were beautiful. It was wonderful being around all the roses, seeing the arrangements, sniffing around...
The competition aspect of it did not appeal to me in any way, shape, form, or fashion (but then I am not a competitive person). The categories I would've entered had no entries or just one or two with winners chosen because there wasn't much competition. No species roses etc.
I took that to mean that if there are any non HT growers around here they are not members of the society or don't compete. But that's not really fair as I have not attended meetings thus far (I have young children and can't go at night).
I would love to have a source for info on my new teas and chinas. We have a great botanical garden here---maybe I'll call them.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 7:25PM
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I just joined the local rose society. It gets me a discount at several nurseries, too. Years ago I was interested, but here didn't seem to be any place for someone like me who is mainly interested in OGR and own root roses. And I don't use chemicals unless absolutely necessary, and in 20 years I think I've sprayed maybe 2 or 3 times. I don't remember using chemicals on my roses at all, though. That seems to have changed now, and there are a lot of people who like the OGRs and own root roses, and who don't use a lot of chemicals! The chemical crowd is still there, though, bless them.

But the ARS? No, I don't have any interest in doing that at all. Nothing against them, just not interested.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 9:02PM
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idixierose(z8b Coastal SC)

I love going to rose shows, but my interest in exhibiting has changed over the years. Twenty Years ago, I loved growing and exhibiting HTs. Then gardening became my profession and I started growing a wider variety of roses, OGRs, shrubs. Today I don't Take a car load of roses to a show, but I do enjoy helping with the work of setting up the show and clerking. It's a good way to see real roses that may not be sold except at specialty nurseries.

Sometimes whether there are old garden and shrub roses at a rose show depends on the timing of a show. Oldies and shrubs often bloom too early for a spring show and a fall show won't have once-blooming roses.

I enjoy belonging to my local rose society and participate in some ARS programs. The national organization seems very distant. I continue to be an ARS member because I feel the organization Serves a purpose, even though I am not gung-ho on some of their programs.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 9:11PM
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Brittie - La Porte, TX 9a

eahamel, I'm a member of the HRS also, but was actually considering not renewing my membership when it comes around this November. I have an autistic toddler and do not go to meetings. I really get more information here and at HMF than anywhere else actually. Eh, we'll see. I also pay for my mother's membership, and wouldn't want to cut that off.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 7:43AM
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flaurabunda(6a, Central IL)

I let my membership lapse within the last year as well.

I grew tired of the repeated financial campaigns that (to me) seemed to benefit only the hierarchial structure of the organization and capital projects near the headquarters. It seemed to me that anything outside of Shreveport had been left to its own devices.

In addition, I'm not interested in spending thousands of dollars to travel halfway across the nation for a convention, I'll never sign up for a cruise, and I don't exhibit.

There was one other thing that just didn't sit well with me. I'm sure it wasn't intended, but I certainly felt like a majority of the folks dispensing advice on how to care for roses were retired and didn't have the challenges of caring for children, working full time, and taking care of their roses. I think it makes a big difference & new members want people they can relate to.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 10:52AM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

We joined ARS in 1987. We let our memberships lapse about a year ago. I hung in long enough to vote for Jolene Adams, because I believe she is ARS's best hope -- particularly with Pat Shanley to follow.

Once, we were regular exhibitors -- and tho we showed mostly Old Roses and Shrub Roses, we made HT King once, Court once,and have trophies for Minis and Flories ... Now, we enjoy our roses, and work actively at preservation of old and Found roses.

Once we dropped the exhibiting and the spraying, we found that the Heritage Roses Group offered us more than did ARS -- so that is the organization we support with money and energy.

We are still members of two local ARS Societies, and we still do the occasional talk for local ARS Societies. In our part of the world, the local societies are no longer all about exhibiting, and they offer quite a lot to the average gardener.


Here is a link that might be useful: The National Heritage Roses Group

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 11:53AM
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Terry Crawford

I joined for one year and other than the glossy magazines with lots of advertising and articles that pushed exhibiting and insectide spraying which I don't participate in, I felt it wasn't worth the price to continue my membership. I'm also a member of my local Rose Society but their main focus is annihilating any bug that may happen to trespass into the garden and chasing the little plastic trophies. I don't fit in so I after 4 years I won't be going back in the Spring.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 12:33PM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)

I have to be a member because of my work on HMF. For several years all I did was look at the new registrations and put them up on HMF. Since the ARM went to a bi-monthly publication, I have found that they are including more research articles in the magazine.

I found the series on photosynthesis really helpful. I didn't know that photosynthesis slowed down when temps dropped below 77 degrees. Knowing that one factoid helped me decide when to do my last feeding of my roses.

As for exhibiting ... nah .. there are way too many roses I really like that are not exhibition roses. Besides, now that I live up in the mountains, there is no local rose society for me to be involved with, so I joined the local gardening club.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 12:54PM
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flaurabunda(6a, Central IL)

Ah yes.....plastic is only good if you can store leftovers in it and there's an airtight lid that comes with it.

I think the key thing the organizations should strive for, when thinking of the benefits they can provide, is a firm base that's well grounded in reality. It sounds like the local chapters that have adopted this outlook are pretty successful.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 1:00PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

They are, and will remain successful as long as there are at least a core group of local society members willing to do the work of running a society.

Someone needs to do a Newsletter -- because that holds the thing together.
Someone needs to serve on a Board, to make "corporate" decisions.
Someone needs to communicate with ARS -- and ARS has one vital function here: It provides liability insurance. Without that, in many places, you can't rent a place to meet, much less put on any event.

Someone needs to manage some sort of internet presence.
Someone needs to coordinate "consulting rosarians."
Someone needs to find programs.
Someone needs to conduct meetings.

And all that work can be a real drag. And it is, increasingly, difficult to find people willing to take it on. But without those "Someones", there can be no local society.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 2:25PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

The Rose Society I joined has a mixture. Most are into HTs and like to exhibit. But a few are into OGRs. I am participating in my first show this Saturday. I am going to bring as many OGRs as I can. My Lady Hillingdon has some nice blooms ready to open and I am going to try to rock their world with her.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 8:23PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)



    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 11:39PM
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My ARS membership lapsed in March, and with that my CR status also lapsed. I should probably renew. I'll get to it.

I am, however, a very active memeber of the Richmond Rose Society. Yes, the core membership are retired folks who grow mostly HTs, but they weren't always retired. They once were younger, with families and careers, and they grew roses then, too. Lately, we are getting more new members who are interested in older roses, and roses beyond the exhibition style HT form. Things evolve, and rose societies are no different.

What I keep hearing over and over is that rose societies don't have anything to offer ME ... let's turn that around. What do YOU have that you can GIVE to the other members of the society?

Our society has a 75+ year history of a very successful rose show. The best exhibitors in the state participate. While this isn't exactly my cup of tea, I help as best I can ... though it has always been held on a day when my nursery was open, so I couldn't be there on the actual day of the show. I have found that the rose growers who are most generous with their methods are the exhibitors. One extremely successful (as in # of trophies successful) told me that helping other exhibitors grow better roses made for better competition and made him work harder to improve his OWN roses.

Even if you have no interest at all in exhibiting or use of chemicals (and most of us don't), there is something to be learned from anyone else who grows roses well. If YOU grow nice roses, no matter what type of roses you have, YOU can pass along what you know to others and help THEM enjoy their own roses more.

For anyone who is interested, the October meeting of the Richmond Rose Society is on October 28, and it will feature me as a speaker, telling the membership about my trip to the Sacramento City Cemetery conference.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 9:29AM
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I agree. All I am seeing is what can the ARS or the local society give me? (Jeri, I don't mean you.) If we really care about roses and want to keep rose growing viable, we need to think about what we can do to help the world of roses. To paraphrase JFK, "Ask not what the world of roses can do for you, ask what you can do for the world of roses".

See what you can do for your local group. If you grow OGRs and they don't, give a program about them and show photos of your roses. Tell them why they are great. You might get others to try them. If you grow a non-spray garden, show photos and tell them what the roses are that do well. You will only change the course of your local group if someone besides the same old crew makes an effort.

I've been growing roses now for over 40 years, partly while working full time and partly while retired. I belong to three local rose societies plus the ARS. I currently spend roughly two hours a day working on the Modern Roses database for the ARS. I've added over 600 roses to the database this year, plus updating and expanding info on many more. If we aren't willing to spend time helping the rose world, it will soon go away. I hope everyone will rethink the situation and find a way to do your bit to help the rose world. I don't want to see it fade away.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 11:46PM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

Hi Phil,

I'm putting a link to a thread on the Hybridizers' site below. It discusses something very interesting, I think.
The thread raises obvious questions as I read it; so I won't point them out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cultivar Database

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 11:37PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I also want a more natural garden. I would love to see a group in my State (Oklahoma) interested in growing specific roses that thrive here without spray. The idea that exhibitors spray every day or every other day to prepare the roses for a show is a real turn off to me.

I live here, and would like to promote what goes here the best. Few people here know what roses thrive here because they use so many chemicals, and don't even think twice about it.

I stayed with the ARS for years and years because my father had belonged in Indiana, and had loved it so much. But life has changed, and it is no longer a fit for me.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 9:29AM
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I actually wrote three times this year to the contact listed on ARS's website for the NJ Rose Club, asking whether I can participate. Radio silence so far. Don't know why.

Newbie here. Well, if I am not welcome there, I can always stalk this forum and learn what I need to learn. No big loss.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 9:18PM
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Just realized that my post re: the NJ Rose Club does not come out right: the person might be on a long vacation or otherwise occupied/unavaialbe, and what I said might be unfair.

The point that I was trying to make is that, given the alternatives, especially like forum like this, ARS might not be all that important. However, I don't know anything about ARS to know whether I would value an ARS membership.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 9:29PM
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I've been in my local society for a few years, but have considered leaving it several times. When new members come in, their ideas are met with resistance and the core group seems to not care if they gain or keep new members. I do exhibit, but have grown tired of seeing the same roses over and over and the same judges over and over who can also enter their roses and judge them too in the same show! I refuse to grow roses just for their exhibition quality, because then I'm missing out on a lot of great roses in my garden. I'd like to see more rose shows that are less about the competition and more about sharing what you grow and know about them. I'm a younger member of my society with work and other commitments to consider, but it seems that the older core group prefers to limit the sharing of knowledge and keep everything within the group and continue in the old ways until the group eventually dies out. This is just my personal experience with my local group, I'm sure there are differences elsewhere.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 12:23PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I'm still a member and will remain one. I just got my Annual and am thoroughly enjoying reading it!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 12:39PM
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seil, does the Annual have any articles about rose viruses?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 2:11PM
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pfzimmerman(6/7 Upstate SC)

Hi All,

Been a while. Been busy writing the book!

My feeling of optimism on the ARS right now is based highly on Jolene and Pat being receptive to all the different ways we grow roses. I agree with the previous sentiments that in the past we got a rather chilly reception, but that is IMO thawing and I feel Jolene and Pat will move it forward. I also agree with Hartwood's points. Well said. We can help move it forward by voicing our opinion.

Interesting to note than when I gave my talk at Jolene's banquet installation dinner on budding new rose growers, I respectfully voiced many of the thoughts listed above. Many members came up to me afterward and thanked me for reminding them of some of the points. IMO that was a good sign.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 10:11AM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

I just want to be sure that you understand that I am not a member of the Rose Hybridizers' Assoc. so I can't post there. I visit their forum from time to time because I just love reading and learning from their posts, seeing their pictures, and experiencing vicariously the wondrous aspects of hybridizing. And I thought that the topic of that particular thread was related somehow to this one.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 11:48PM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

First, I want to say that I am not now nor have I ever been a member of the American Rose Society. What I am about to write is for information only and not a personal endorsement.
But I have a previously expressed respect for Paul Zimmerman and so I am considering biting the hook that the ARS has baited - a free E-membership.
My hopes are that the ARS will be satisfied to swell its membership numbers this way and that gardeners will NOT be expected to become exhibitors, or advocates for spray programs, or floral arrangers, etc. Or even attend local functions since driving an hour or more each way for such a thing is out of the question for me and maybe others.
I am personally still undecided, but I thought I'd share the link for the free E-Membership:

Here is a link that might be useful: The American Rose Society FREE e-membership

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 8:59AM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

I fought the hybrid tea exhibitors for years. It seems they're slowly losing power in the ARS. There are more disease resistant shrub roses introduced each year and the best selling rose in the US is a shrub rose. At the various functions I attend, more and more speakers are promoting no spray and organic rose growing. The programs I give are totally no spray and organic with an emphasis on shrub roses.
I still answer rose culture questions sent to the ARS and my answers also emphasize no spray and organic. The ARS now has a "Best of Show" award that is open to any class of roses and the majority of the winners are not hybrid teas.
There are fewer hybrid tea and exhibiting articles in the American Rose Magazine. The ARS is slowly moving towards promoting shrub roses with no spray and organic hardening. As the major exhibitors get older, there are fewer rose shows and more rose exhibitions which promote all roses. Many award no prizes and are mostly a venue to educate people that growing roses need not be difficult if one buys disease resistant and hardy roses suited for their climate.
I read here on the Rose Forum that members continue to buy disease magnet and difficult to grow hybrid teas while complaining about the lack of easier to grow, disease resistant varieties. They buy the body bagged roses based on the picture on the bag and ask questions AFTER they buy. Most of what they buy are the high centered hybrid teas that they then complain about because they lose their leaves as soon as blackspot weather arrives.
As long as people scoop up those types of roses, the growers will continue to supply them and not grow easier to grow varieties.
We're a hypocritical lot! If we want things to change we need to start with ourselves. I've seen big changes in the ARS over the years. I continue to be a member, have been for 2o years, and belong to a local society, all the time promoting disease resistant and hardy roses. I practice what I preach. I've given away all my expensive fungicides and insecticides to those hardcore exhibitors. I still exhibit ocassionally but exhibit what I have and don't refuse to exhibit because of the hybrid tea contingent. I win many awards because of the few exhibitors in the classes I show in, although my society is beginning to have more entries in those classes making the competition stiffer each year.
Visitors to my garden will see insect damage and some blackspot. When asked what I do about them, I simply say, "Walk quickly past the damage and you'll not see it."
I still grow some hybrid teas which have proven to be hardy and somewhat disease resistant but I don't buy any. What I have are over 15 years old.
You can complain but changes comes from within.
I suspect the complainers are not so much concerned with the exhibitors and those who promote spraying as much as with the high cost of ARS membership. The new vice president has indicated she's going to work on that.

There, I've said my piece and probably upset a few people so I'll leave again for awhile. Anyone wanting advice from me can go to the ARS website and click on the "Ask a Rose Question" link under "About Roses" in the bar at the top of the home page or e-mail me directly at
In many cases I'll refer you to a local rose society that'll know more about the local climate and which roses grow best in a particular area.
Or you can continue to ask the sales person in the big box stores or nurseries who are more interested in selling product year after year than helping choose the proper rose and grow what you have. They'll also try to sell you lots of chemicals.

Here is a link that might be useful: ARS Ask a Rose question

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 3:49PM
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Thank you Karl. I'm pleased by your report that there is more of a move toward responsible rose growing in the ARS. You're absolutely right, every dollar spent is a ballot cast. We really DO get what we pay for. Kim

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 5:15PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Karl -- You put things so concisely, and so clearly.

For YEARS, we have said to people:
"Are there one or two roses in your garden that have disease problems, while the majority do well?"

The answer, almost always, is "YES!"

We say: "We have a cure for that problem" (Great excitement!)
. .
. .
. The answer is: A SHOVEL.
Dig up the ones that have problems, and plant roses that do not, and you will have a happy garden.

Jeri :-)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 7:09PM
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Thank you Karl. Started to laugh while I was reading your post. I could hear computers slamming shut and a "hiss" coming through the airways. That's what I like about you. No pussy foot'n around. I like Hartwood's post. We need to stop pointing a finger and saying "this is what I want" and open our hand's and say "what can I give or do".

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 7:32PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

Yes, Karl, dead on. My rose group doesn't talk about HTs that much and many of the members grow OGRs are are no spray.

And here in the south we are accepting of disease, it's a fact of life. In fact, the best in show that we recently had, the winner had a few spots on its leaves.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 8:03PM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

Just for the fun, while I was on the American Rose Society site I did a little browsing around.
Did you know that there is an entire web page devoted to caring for roses? The page is called "Rose Care Articles" and is comprised of articles taken from the normal publication and these articles are available for download in PDF form.
If one scrolls down the page, there is an entire section on Fertilizing.

"Fertilizers - When and How" is an 'interesting?' read.

My synopsis: Do I hear once a month? Once a month; now twice. Do I hear twice a month? Twice a month; now every week? Every week. Every week going once, twice, sold to SockITTO'EM in the front row.

Reading that along with just the title of the article on Natural fertilizer - as in "A Look At" prevented me from pressing the Free I Believe button.

karl_bapst_rosenut: I'd like to say how encouraging your words are. Thank you for them and for your personal efforts and your example. Maybe I missed it, but I haven't actually read anyone complaining about your comments and I think that's the best part of all.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rose Care Articles

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 9:12PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

You know, you get what you pay for. And maybe you don't need the ARS. And they certainly don't need you.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 6:09AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

You know, you get what you pay for. And maybe you don't need the ARS. And they certainly don't need you.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 6:21AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

You know, you get what you pay for. And maybe you don't need the ARS. And they certainly don't need you.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 7:00AM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

It may surprise you, but I take no offense at your comments. Since you have written that you are a member of the American Rose Society, I take your comments as representative of the society's views.
I thank you for expressing the view of the ARS because it very strongly reinforces that my decision not to join was correct.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 8:24AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I'm actually not a member. I belong to a local society. If the ARS doesn't meet your needs, then don't join. But don't then complain that they aren't giving you what you want for your 'Free' Membership.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 6:54PM
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Tuggy3(9b NorCal)

We are lucky to have a local rose society that is so receptive to new ideas and new members. As a result people work their butts off and we are over 200 members now. Occasionally we get a cranky ringer or two in our membership but usually they move on to a more baitable group. We kill them with kindness until they finally just can't take it anymore and go poof.

I'm not sure why I renewed with ARS this year, maybe I did see some foreword movement in considering more points of view in rose care. I have some hope for them with the new VP. Jeri I loved your comments about getting out the shovel. Mary

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 12:54AM
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