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Ode to Giant Shells

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My Garden Clam Shells


Remember Pete Seeger’s haunting 1960’s song ‘Where have all the Flowers Gone?’

This week it’s been playing in my mind as I wonder, where have all the giant shells gone?

The song became a musical icon of the 1960s and in the same way giant clam shells were icons of 1960’s garden decoration.

Sadly they have simply disappeared, a long time ago.

Often the shells were collected from the sea but sometimes they were cement copies. Either way, I always loved them.

Other garden icons from the era such as white swan planters and garden gnomes were kitsch and lacking the simplicity of the giant shells.

The shells usually sat under garden taps catching excess water, creating somewhere for wildlife to drink and bath. Sunlight reflected on the water creating a tranquil but modest focal point in a garden.

I remember two giant clam shells from my childhood, both siting under garden taps.

The first was in a temperate garden of majestic trees with birds bathing in the clam shell and fallen leaves floating on the water’s shimmering surface.

The second was in a hot seaside garden and the shell was real. It sat in sand and the sight of water in the shell gave welcome respite from the summer heat.

Imagine my delight when I spotted these two beauties at the Melbourne International Garden Show earlier this year.

Now I have my very own giant clam shells and it’s been a long time coming.

Pete Seeger sang ‘Oh when will we ever learn?’ Sometimes gardeners need to disregard current fashion and refocus on the charm of the past.



Author: jenniferteh1

I am Jennifer Walker Teh, a garden lover, gentle traveller and occasional writer. I'm also a retired hospital pharmacist, and the Latin term Quantum Vis sometimes appears on prescriptions. It means to take or apply 'as much as you like' and so is an appropriate name for my website. Please drop in as much as you like. Jennifer

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