Say “Sayonara” to Summer with Sunflowers.

Just two more days until Summer wraps up and we venture into Autumn.

This trip to the Emily Frank Gardens at the Trenton Cultural Center on July 31st was probably one of the shortest walks at a venue that I’ve taken, then blogged about. But, rest assured, after capturing about 200 images at the Gardens, I headed to Lake Erie Metropark, then Elizabeth Park, aiming to walk more miles and make the most of my day before my self-imposed month of errands, etc. that would occupy my August agenda.

I had seen photos of the Gardens and Cultural Center previously on social media and put it on my list of “places to visit sometime” and then, after I began following Facebook posts by the plein air painting group in the Spring, this was one of the venues they visited. A few group members painted the big red barn with its whimsical wall and nearby Children’s Garden. It looked like a fun place so I stopped there on June 18th to check it out.

The Gardens was a beehive of activity, even in the early morn. I met Debbie Barnes and many of her slew of volunteers a/k/a “Garden Angels” that maintain the Emily Frank Gardens PLUS the 300-plant pollinator gardens at MacArthur Park a mile or so down the road. A couple of the volunteers were headed to MacArthur Park for gardening chores and said “come, check it out!” Another volunteer responded to my “oohs and aahs” while I picked my way along the mulched paths, carefully stepping over garden hoses, saying“you absolutely have to return later in the Summer when the Gardens are in full bloom!”

So I did and will likely scrap the June 18th photos in favor of those taken when the blooms were at their peak.

As I drove to the Gardens, I wondered if there would be sunflowers and assumed, given the heat, humidity and occasional copious bouts of rain, that there would be an abundance of sunflowers to photograph and the Gardens did not disappoint.

Maybe a Bummer Summer for us, but the Sunflowers were Sunsational!

So, that is the backstory on why I found myself on July 31st strolling around the Emily Frank Gardens, the only flower-loving soul there, (unless you want to count “Golden Boy” my little male Goldfinch, who was not keen on posing in or on the sunflowers, preferring instead to play hide-and-go-seek with me most of the time I was there).

Yes, Debbie Barnes was right – it was an entirely different landscape, “carpeted” with bright flowers everywhere. Garden ornaments were at every twist and turn on the mulched and paved paths: stone children with arms or wheelbarrows filled with flowers, makeshift receptacles brimming with bright blooms – even birdbaths spilling vines as a few butterflies and bees flitted about. I truly didn’t know where to look first. I will wait until the coldest and ugliest days in Winter to create a post with these bountiful blooms and will wow you with them then.

But in the interim, though we have waved “hi” and “bye” to the Harvest Moon, Autumn décor abounds and pumpkin treats have been eyed or snatched up, a beautiful reminder of Summer’s endless sunny days are the perpetually happy-looking sunflowers.

Here are my favorite shots from that morning, some sunflowers still in progress, others already bowing their heads as they were so laden with seeds. I have interspersed some photos of the Goldfinch who dived in and out of the blooms in search of seeds to nibble on. He was, at times, elusive and I think thought I was a bit of a pain to intrude upon his breakfast ritual.

A little birdie suggested I share some shots of his home at the whimsical Children’s Garden at Emily Frank Gardens and so I will do so for this Wordless Wednesday. (Fellow blogger Jeanine will love it as it’s kitschy.)

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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63 Responses to Say “Sayonara” to Summer with Sunflowers.

  1. Aw, such a perfect end-to-summer post. Sunflowers are such happy flowers, the post made me smile. I look forward to the colorful post you talked about to warm us up when the winter whites/chills are all-consuming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Shelley – glad you liked it. I love sunflowers too – in fact, Yvette Prior and I were both going to plant sunflowers, maybe even from seeds, then see how we did. This was an idea two years running that never came to fruition and when I saw them at the Emily Frank Gardens, I was happy. I told Yvette, maybe we just had to buy ourselves a bouquet and call it done. I took a ton of pictures that morning and I was the only one there, so I could dog that goldfinch from sunflower to sunflower. I am hoping they do something for Fall and maybe I should reach out to them – it would be fun if they decorate for harvest. The Children’s Garden will probably be a post on its own. The big red barn with one side decorated with children’s toys and a garden filled with toys as well – this Wednesday is a preview with a birdhouse with a sparrow popping in and out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a fun activity for you and Yvette – pick up some flowers at the farmer’s market this fall and keep the seeds for next year.
        It’s so fun to hear of all the ideas you’ve generated for your blog with the trip to EFG! I love the sneak peek hints!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        That’s a good idea Shelley. I babied the one tall sunflower I planted years ago. It was a Russian Mammoth Sunflower and they grow 12 feet tall. I put glass bottles over the seeds that germinated so the bunnies wouldn’t eat ’em, but only one came up and towered over the backyard. I also planted some seeds in rolling planters – they took and I had goldfinch munching on them. A different type of sunflowers. My grandmother gave me Hollyhock seeds but I only planted a few as I had no more room by then and my high school friend who lives in New York gave me some milkweed from her yard – they didn’t take either, but I didn’t know you had to soak them to help germinate them first. I like this EFG and it’s only 5 miles away. I’m following them on FB and Twitter to see “happenings” but they don’t post much.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t remember how many years ago the power substation was built just a mile from our house. In the field next to it, they put up a sign that it was a butterfly sanctuary. We’ve yet to see all the beautiful flowers the sign promised and I don’t see a bunch of butterflies there either. Flowers grow where flowers want to grow despite our wishes. The EFG likely has worked very hard to get the flowers to thrive there. Gardening can be a full-time job!
        I look forward to seeing what you discover.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Sounds like they wanted homeowners to feel good about the butterfly sanctuary once it was established as that would take away any of the concerns about a power substation being there. Do you think that might be true? Energy provider “smoothing over” potential issues from worried homeowners. I’l bet those volunteers are still there in October, getting bulbs planted, pots and planters put into the greenhouse or barn to prevent breakage, etc. I hope everything turns out okay and you won’t be disappointed. I just grabbed the sunflower and goldfinch shots off the card and didn’t check out the rest as I took a lot of flower shots.

        I was at Heritage Park last Saturday. They tear down the Conservatory flowers once Fall arrives. They overwinter the plants offsite as there are no buildings associated with the Botanical Gardens/Conservatory. I saw they added a lot of cacti this year – I think on of those volunteers told me that they take home plants over the Winter. My neighbor Marge overwintered my two hibiscus and a small tropical tree (which name escapes me) for several years. She kept them in the doorwall with sun and watered them and they thrived. Then she got a dog and had to let it out – I killd them within a few weeks keeping them downstairs – not enough light and watering was an issue as it would run all over.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It could be that’s what they were doing. 🤔

        It’s interesting to see what they do to prepare the gardens for the different seasons.

        Sorry to hear about your plants – I just moved my plants back into the house after they got to spend the summer in the tea house. They’ll be fine for a while, but they will look very ready for the return to the tea house in the spring! Our new windows have a coating on them that keeps the sun out that the plants like the best. 😏😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, that could be. They have a lot of statuary there at EMF gardens plus a Koi fish pond – lots of things to do after the last bloom fades. Good thing they have a lot of volunteers. Your plants will say “hurry Spring” so they can return to the sunny tea house. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ruthsoaper says:

    Beautiful! Look forward to seeing more of this location.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      There were flowers everywhere you looked Ruth and a big fish pond with Koi as well – all tended to by retiree volunteers. It’s a lot of work in the garden area that surrounds a house (the Cultural Center), but then they also have gardens around the property, plus a huge vegetable garden they donate all the produce grown to a local food pantry.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. peggy says:

    Sunflowers are a perfect way to say goodby to Summer. I love sunflowers. Here’s to the upcoming Fall, which is proving to begin hot here with 90 degree days and no rain in sight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I love sunflowers too Peggy. Now that I know they have them here, I’ll go later in August, when they are all in bloom at the same time. I wish I’d known about this place before this year. We got in the 80s today and will be until Wednesday night, then unbelievably we will drop 25 degrees for the first day of Fall! We started off with a thunderstorm today and will have another one Wednesday night which is good as it is much-needed rain for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sandra J says:

    A beautiful group of sunflowers Linda, I do like the orange one and the ones with the finches perched on them. I am going to try and grow some next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Sandra – they had so many varieties there and next year I’ll go in August when they are all in bloom, although some, like that one up top, had already bloomed and was top heavy and bent over. I grew some one year which were tall like the last photo. The type was “Russian Mammoth Sunflowers” and I grew them from seed. Only one survived, but it was very tall (they grow to 12 feet) and fell over as the seeds were so heavy – the backyard squirrels had a field day!

      Like

  5. Sarah Davis says:

    Love Sunflowers!!! I’m buying mums this weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love the goldfinch. Sunflowers make so many critters happy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, that goldfinch was in its glory flitting from sunflower to sunflower, sometimes bending them over with its weight. I didn’t see any squirrels chowing down – maybe too early as some of the sunflowers weren’t ripe yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Laurie says:

    As you know, I hate to say sayonara to summer! I always hold on as tightly as I can to those last few days of late summer. Beautiful sunflower photos and I would say Golden Boy did a great job of posing for you on top of the flowers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I know you do Laurie – you’ll be digging out the warmer running clothes soon. We have Summer until the first day of Fall, when it will turn 25 degrees colder in a 24-hour time period. A little more gradual would have been nicer I think. I was lucky that Golden Boy perched and posed long enough to get these shots; he was flitting from flower to flower enjoying breakfast!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Anne says:

    Sunflowers are always lovely to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sunflowers and a goldfinch! Both winners! Congrats to the photographer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Anne! I dogged this poor Goldfinch as he wove in and out of the sunflowers looking for the best seeds. I am glad I discovered this place – these volunteers were really working hard plus they plant and harvest a huge vegetable garden to donate to a local food bank.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Prior... says:

    Linda – it amazes me how much can change from June until the end of July and wow!
    They were sunsational (love the bummer summer and sunflower sun-sation quote – you always have those fun phrases)
    💛🌻
    And I felt like I was walking there with you with the wonderful photos!

    Like

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yvette, I’m glad you liked the post and the photos. It was like a totally different garden in just six weeks’ time – incredible. So I am glad I went back. It will take me a while to sort through all the flowers to use in a Winter post and the second time I went there, I also went down the street to see the pollinator garden with 300 plants. So I took pictures there as well. I have to admit that I did not coin “Bummer Summer” – a fellow blogger Joni did a post on Summer flowers and showed beautiful blooms “despite our Bummer Summer.” But “sunsational” was my own. That was so easy going there and taking pictures, rather than planting seeds and shooing away the predators who would eat them, like happened with most of my sunflowers I planted in the garden in 2010.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Yes – take advantage of what they planted which I think was one of their goals – right? Community interaction
        And even though i had a handful of flowers in my various containers (and the vinca are thriving still – wow – and the Lantana – not sure if you remembered that I got rid of overly talk snapdragons and used lantana for the spot)
        Anyhow – even with my own flowers I have truly appreciated some of the bigger flower spreads at some of our local places

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I do remember the Lantana because I suggested it would be a butterfly magnet. The volunteer garden a few blocks from my house has Lantana and I got the Swallowtail butterflies shots this year and lots of Monarchs last year. It is orange Lantana and the Monarchs alighting was a treat to see.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        ☀️🌸🌺🌸🌺🌸🌺🌸

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Sunflowers act human like. A Sunflowers curved shape mimics a smile and when it dies the head tilts forward.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      You’re right Wayne. In fact many years ago I had sunflowers in a post and called them “faces” as they looked so human, like they were awakening. In this case, I thought of the expression “sayonara” because the sunflower was bowing its head like the Japanese do when they say “sayonara” or goodbye, so it worked perfectly.

      Like

  12. Ally Bean says:

    We’re not quite to end of summer here. You’ve given me a glimpse of what is to come. I love sunflowers so seeing them bite the dust can be difficult. Perhaps I’m too tender-hearted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      We aren’t there yet either Ally, although I heard today we will have a rude awakening on Thursday morning – 25 degrees colder than Wednesday morning. Once those sunflowers are so big and full of seeds, I see them collapse or fold in two which is sad. I see some when walking in the ‘hood and the squirrels are feasting happily on the seeds.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Pam Lazos says:

    Thanks for the memories, Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You are singing my sunflower song with all these sunny images, Linda! With many folks’ warm summers, these flowers are strutting the stuff! My backyard is still growing sunflowers and new ones are still opening. Hooray! I get the added bonus of seeing the wild arrow-leaf balsam-root sunflowers pop up everywhere in early spring. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I do love sunflowers too Terri. Next year I’ll go there in mid-August and there will be even more in bloom. I was just amazed at how many types of sunflowers they had there. Lucky you to see sunflowers in early Spring – the more the merrier!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Rebecca says:

    A beautiful variety of blooms. Sunflowers are one of my favorites!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      One of my favorites too and I will have to go back next August Rebecca – I think there will be even more open. P.S. – I thought of you Saturday. I saw four Lavender Guinea Fowl and would not have known what they were except for your recent post. What a surprise and they were very animated running around a park. I will have a “story” to tell about them, likely months from now as I’m behind in sorting photos.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rebecca says:

        These gardens looks like a place you could visit over and over and always see new things. Fun! I look forward to seeing your photos of the guineas and hearing their story.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I’m hoping they might have harvest flowers or displays of some sort (though they are probably worn out from tending to the two venues since April when they started flowers in the greenhouse). It will be a fun story with the guineafowl – maybe I’ll sort the pictures and push it ahead of the other posts to break up the endless long walk posts. I hope at least some pics came out as they were on the move and stayed together as a group, so at times all you saw was a group of bodies with the individual heads bobbing up and down. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Dave says:

    Sunflowers remind me of those free-standing microphones from the past, the microphone itself looking the size of a dinner plate. I’d never heard the term “pollinator garden” before but I like it. C’mon in, bees!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, I remember those microphones too Dave. A speaker would approach the microphone, adjust it up and down for height and twist the top part to get it just so – how easy it is nowadays. The pollinator garden the volunteers maintain is at MacArthur Park (like the long song from Richard Harris). It winds along two cement paths and is all perennials. The fun part of that park is a huge mural that the City of Trenton invited anyone to come and paint. I researched the mural a little and learned anyone could come pick up a paintbrush – no skills needed and there are lots of flowers, butterflies and some gnomes. The gnomes and their gnome home must have been a professional artist – it’s really big and clever. It was a hot day and bees and butterflies were all around.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Sunsational! What a great collection of assorted sunflowers, different kinds and at different stages of blooming and fading. I love the pictures of the goldfinch perched on the side views of the blossoms. The one with the pale yellow petals and bee in the middle is especially pretty. Thanks for taking us to the Emily Frank Gardens with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Barbara – glad you enjoyed my visit to Emily Frank Gardens. Such pretty sunflowers and lots of varieties too and there were lots of bees busy in the sunflowers. Next year I’ll go again in August and see if there are more sunflowers in bloom at the same time. That goldfinch was funny – dipping in and out of the sunflowers to perch and nibble on the seeds.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Joni says:

    Gorgeous shots Linda, esp. that goldfinch who matches the sunflowers! It seems we soon will be missing all that heat and humidity, so it’s good you saved some pictures for later.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Joni – boy, it was a very hot day when I was at the Gardens taking these pictures. I was lucky to be there by myself, so the goldfinch was not skittish with a crowd around, but kept disappearing to munch on sunflower seeds. I understand from most weather folks I follow that this is the last very hot and humid day, though we will have a warm October. I hope it is a dry October to get to see some leaf colors which they say will peak earlier this year due to the drought.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Well today was certainly a big change! Felt like November! Too much of a change. I’m glad to hear October will be warm.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        For all the whining I did about the heat and humidity, yesterday with its cold and wind gusting to 15 mph was bad, but it felt colder this morning. When I left it was just 48 degrees. I ended up putting the heat on for one time, just to warm the house up. If I was up and about in the house, it would be different, but it was 68 degrees and sitting here for 9-10 hours, would not be nice (and I was wearing a sweatsuit on top of it).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        The thermostat was only 70 when I woke up yesterday and the house felt chilly but I resisted! It was a bit warmer today, a nice fall day.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I’d have resisted too except for sitting freezing in one spot all day. Today, I just ran it once and shut it off as I had errands. I hated to use a Saturday to get my bivalent Covid shot, but Meijer did not know when they were getting the Moderna bivalent shot in and my local CVS where I go for shots was booked for three weeks, so I did a 20-mile roundtrip to another CVS to get it done earlier – first available appointment at 11:00 a.m., so I could walk first at the park. Got that Covid shot and flu shot (for seniors – ahem) and my arm is starting to hurt a little from the Covid shot in the muscle – covered in two weeks he said. It rained the entire time I was out – yesterday they said “a nice Fall day – rain in evening and Sunday.” Hmm. I had to go get gas – had trouble with the gas card – all of a sudden it does not work – always something. I got here late – guess I will work on my posts tomorrow until it clears up and I can walk.

        Like

      • Joni says:

        Was it the Moderna bivalent that you got? Let me know if you have any side effects? I’m not sure what they are offering here yet, just the original so far I think. Our flu shots don’t usually roll out here until October.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        It was the Moderna bivalent and the flu shot at the same time. I did have some side effects, but not nauseous and flu-like symptoms like with the second vaccine and second booster. My arm is sore and I was sitting here last night at 7:00 p.m. and got very tired and then about 9:00 p.m. started getting chills and teeth chattering, so I went to bed and put the comforter over me and curled up to keep warm. Woke up all of a sudden and couldn’t fall back to sleep – that is never a problem with me, so I just got up and it was 3:08 a.m.! I just stayed up even though we were to have a rainy day. I’ve been very tired all day. I know it’s the shot and not just the short amount of sleep. I was so sleepy, I was proofreading tomorrow’s long post and had a cat nap every few paragraphs. I hope that’s it and this becomes a yearly vaccine like the flu shot. I told the pharmacist when he gave me the shots I would glow in the dark – 5 shots this year (2 Covid, 2 shingles and a flu shot), plus allergy shots. And I got a “senior flu shot” – hopefully you have that type over in Canada?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        It sounds wicked, but maybe not unexpected? We have the high dose flu shot for seniors here but only a limited supply so it’s only for people mom’s age or those at high risk. I just get the regular one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Today I finally feel like myself again, but unbelievably, after I caught up in Reader, I was in bed by 7:30 p.m. Sunday night and since I’m getting up later now that it doesn’t get light as early, I never woke up until the alarm went off at 5:45 p.m. Today, I looked at the side effects for the senior flu shot and one of the main side effects was fatigue. So double fatigue-causing shots. No wonder – I do not remember feeling that tired, or such a foggy brain before. I am making an effort to get more sleep because every time I turn around, I am hearing about the effects of sleep deprivation. I never went to bed so late until blogging took off in late 2017. But trying to get to sleep and keep up here is a battle.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. What great pictures Linda, especially of the gold finch. I love fall and pruned my wisteria for the last time today. Hummingbirds appear to be gone so it has begun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked the photos Diane – it sure was colorful that day. My favorite season too Diane – everything about Fall. I’ve not seen any hummingbirds either and I saw a few Monarchs last week before this cold spell. We had a drizzly and cold weekend – ugh. I guess you can’t cover or wrap the wisteria for the Winter, but it is well established by now so should be okay in our Winter weather.

      Like

  20. Pretty sunflowers! Love the different sizes and variety. It doesn’t feel like autumn in CA, but the season is officially upon us. Now if the weather will cooperate and we get some rain and cooler weather. Even though, leaves are starting to fall and change colors.
    We went to Target the other day and I was shocked that shelves had a mix of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and you won’t believe this, Christmas decor. It’s just a mod podge of all the holidays into one. I don’t know how to feel about that.
    Looking forward to your bright flower posts later in the autumn! Have a great start to a new week. 🙂 Hugs, from CA

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked the sunflowers – they sure had a nice variety there and next year I’ll wait til mid-August as there might be even more.

      Thank you for the wishes for a good week and hugs back at you Esther. I finally feel like myself. I got the new bivalent Covid shot plus the flu shot Saturday and I got the usual side effects by Saturday night (sore arm/a bit tired/chills), but I was so tired I was in bed last night at 7:30 p.m. I have never felt so zonked out by these shots. But it was worth it – we have lots of cases now and not many people wearing masks. I have seen Halloween and Thanksgiving but no Christmas decor yet – that is way too early for Christmas! I have seen several memes around this time with turkeys protesting about forgetting about Thanksgiving, just bypassing this holiday for Halloween and Christmas.

      Everything is too accelerated these days – today I heard that Amazon has another Prime Day event to occur on October 11th and October 12th – not even Black Friday now. The story on the news said “this will kickstart your Christmas shopping.”

      I am really far behind in going thru my photos – I have two more sets of photos that I’ve sorted out, then I have to sit down and look at photos on the camera card for more posts.

      Like

  21. J P says:

    You remind me that I cannot remember the last sunflowers I saw. They certainly have a way of being in charge of a garden. And they are the perfect representation of summer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I do like sunflowers JP but only grew them one year and from seeds no less. I had two potted sunflower plants, plus for kicks I planted a Russian Mammoth Sunflower which grows to 12 feet. It towered over my neighbor’s garage and one morning I went out to water before work and it had crumpled in two and the squirrels were feasting on the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time seeds. 🙂

      Like

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