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The Story of the Broken Flowerpot

Updated: May 11

Are you broken?

A terracotta pot with a mended crack running across it, sitting on a round, wooden stand. Greenery behind it.
The broken and mended flowerpot at Evergreen.

Once upon a time a large terracotta pot sat proudly two metres up from ground level, on the very edge of a corner on a lawn deck in the land of Albany, a place of rain, mists, and rainbows. This pot was filled with bright pink and white flowering dianthus plants, a delight to behold.


Then Prince Rob, while negotiating the corner of the lawn deck on his trusty stead (a powerful 24 horsepower ride-on mower), accidentally reversed into the pot. It tottered on its base, fell backwards, rolled in a semi-circle down a grassy slope, crashed into a wooden basketball pole, and broke into several sad pieces.


Princess Marlane ran outside at the sound and tearfully hung over the shattered remains of her favourite terracotta pot, an expensive and irreplaceable one from the local Bunnings store.


Prince Rob, seeing her almost inconsolable grief, got off his mower, penitently collected the pieces, and took them into the shed to see if he could perform a miracle and put them together again with the aid of a whole tube of Liquid Nails.


Meanwhile, Princess Marlane gathered the dianthus plants scattered across the slope, which were suffering shock, and found places in the wild, fenced garden for them to once again flourish, as far away as possible from potential disastrous collisions with ride-on mowers. Then she tip-toed to the shed door, put her ear to the crack and listened. She could hear whistling, so her hopes soared that her Prince would once more prevail and make her world whole again.


After one hundred years (minutes?), Prince Rob emerged triumphant, the treasured terracotta pot once more in one piece. It didn’t look the same as it had before Life stepped in and gave it a jolt it would never forget. It looked patched up. Weathered. Roughened. Toughened.


Princess Marlane, with tears (this time of joy) once more coursing down her beautiful, princessy face, reached out and gently stroked the pot’s new, rather lumpy surface. Pleased with this reaction, Prince Rob filled the pot with high-quality potting mix (also from the local Bunnings store) and in it planted a pink salvia given to them by one of their children, Princess Lara, who lived in the faraway land of Perth with Prince Robin, and occasionally made the hazardous journey down south to the kingdom of her birth to gift her royal parents with offshoots from her own delightful garden.


Then Prince Rob, Princess Marlane, and the terracotta pot lived happily ever after.


If you have been reading this story to children, at this point you will put on your deeper, more important voice and comment that life is full of unexpected knocks, and that the best thing to do is to pick yourself up, fix what can be fixed, accept what can’t, and move on. ‘Life is not for the faint-hearted,’ you will add. ‘It’s for the brave.’


These are wise words and don’t just belong in fairy stories.


Are You Like the Broken Flowerpot?


Has Life left its mark on you? Of course.


Are you more battered than you once were? Naturally.


But like the terracotta pot, you are still capable of holding within you living, giving things.


You don’t hold soil and flowers.


You hold experience, compassion, tolerance, patience, foresight, and that highly underrated quality of simple goodness – the human equivalent of high-quality potting mix.


Here’s a photo of the terracotta pot in its new, safe position in the garden. When you look at this pot, perhaps you can see yourself: broken and patched, but still highly functional.


A repaired terracotta pot full of pink salvia blooms, on a white wooden stand in a garden. Reeds, clouds and blue sky behind it.
The mended terracotta pot at Evergreen, providing a home for blooms once again.

Love, Marlane

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