Yesterday morning, I attended my neighborhood’s monthly garden club meeting. I was really looking forward to this particular meeting as each year our club holds an annual “plant swap.” Now mind you, while most of my time is spent indoors arranging the shop, meeting customers and acquiring pieces, I do enjoy getting my hands dirty, especially with the spring season upon us.
As we held our meeting at one of our member’s lovely homes, all of the plants were happily displayed on an iron table inside a gorgeous garden porch. Dahlias, Gardenias, Peonies, Herbs, even a Hosta or two were all sitting prettily, just waiting to be selected. While I was doing my best to be attentive to our meeting, I couldn’t help but notice the lovely plants, which of course got my mind thinking about all of the cachepots that could contain them! Clay ones, porcelain ones, basket-weave, the list goes on! Then I also thought, if someone were to come into my shop and ask me for one, how would I describe a cachepot, and really, why is one even needed? All of these pretty plants come with their own containers. Surely a simple clay pot would suffice, right? Or perhaps even an Aunt’s old porcelain tureen would be fine. After all, it’s the plant that people want to see, right? Wrong!
According to Merriam-Webster, the word “cachepot” is a lovely French word that dates to the 1850’s with the meaning of “to hide a pot.” In today’s terms, it is still just that – an ornamental receptacle that is used to hold a flowerpot. If you were to walk into my shop or open any catalogue or even walk through a hotel lobby, cachepots are everywhere. They come in all kinds of materials, shapes and sizes. But, what really makes them special is how they relate to your home’s interior.
For instance, if you collect antique blue and white porcelain, why not seek out a blue and white tureen as a centerpiece? Or if you have a casually elegant sunroom – perhaps a lined basket or stone container would be beautiful. You see, it’s not just the plant that makes the statement, but the container. Its shape and style will add that personal detail to your room. It can lend a punch of color or simply compliment the room’s interiors. While the plant may live a week, a month or perhaps even a year, the container, or rather, the cachepot, will continue to tell your story decades later. It will be moved between rooms or kept always in one special spot. It may have been acquired while traveling or handed down as an heirloom.
Yet, I think the folks at Merriam-Webster could take their definition a bit further. Cachepots don’t have to be just for plants; they’re great for entertaining as well! Need a little something on your bar to hold limes for a margarita party? How about a container made of antique copper to hold some utensils for a kitchen party? It’s simply all about reflecting your style with a little extra detail that goes a long way.
So the next time you think about giving someone a plant, perhaps think about a lovely cachepot as well. You’ll be surprised at how touched your friend may feel when you have given them something that not only speaks to their personality, but compliments their décor and may even last a bit longer than they do! (wink)