Teacups get a second helping of herb containers – Post Bulletin

A few cups of tea at New Generations of Harmony contain plants and herbs.


Winter is the perfect time to start growing herbs for herbal teas, adding them to soups and more – and why not grow them in a vintage teacup or a pretty little colorful McCoy flowerpot.

“A small herb garden is so simple to create and maintain,” said Melissa Placzek, Red Wing, author, photographer and “chindeep.com” blogger. “Being able to forage for fresh, fragrant herbs is such a pleasure that you’ll wonder where this little garden has been all your life.”

Pick up any magazine these days and you might see a miniature herb or flower garden growing in a kitchen. It’s a bit like a winter retreat.

I know many of you have vintage teacups or pretty flower pots. Have you put a plant or herbs or even thought of a wall herb garden?

In the old days, it was customary for the woman of the house to tend her own herb garden, whether it was an indoor vegetable patch or outdoors in the backyard garden. She decided which herbs should be grown and where to plant them, and was responsible for weeding, harvesting, drying and cooking them, turning them into tea, wine and simple medicines.

A mug like this one found at Adourn would make a good herb container for the kitchen counter. Color-coordinated knit rugs make the wrap a nice gift.


Vintage finds for the garden

Garage sales, flea markets, antique shops and thrift stores are great places to find vintage teacups, flower pots and more for herbs and small plants.

“If you’re not hosting tea parties and your tea cups, mugs and the like just look pretty in the cupboard, why not put them to good use?” Placzek asked.

Sarah Kieffer of Sarah’s Uniques & Jim’s “Man”tiques in St. Charles said the store has a wide selection of teacups, most in the $5 range.

“They look beautiful in your kitchen window, on your porch, or on your kitchen table,” she said.

Erica Thilges, manager of New Generations of Harmony, said that in addition to cups and mugs “there are so many other collectibles that can be used for your mini gardens such as vintage boxes, enamels, egg cups, flour sieves or even old trophies”.

Indoor gardening tips

Any spot in your home that gets six hours of sunlight a day can be used for an indoor herb garden. Many grasses are prone to drying out, so check the soil’s moisture frequently and mist it frequently with regular watering to help.

The wider the leaf, the better they do inside. As a general rule, if an herb does well in partial shade outdoors, it will do well in a sunny indoor exposure.

A teacup garden brightens up Valentine’s Day or any day.


My indoor herbs include parsley, lemon balm, mint, chives, and some varieties of thyme and oregano.

Not interested in herbs in a teacup? How about a miniature potted violet? Water every few days with a little fertilizer and it will bring the promise of spring right into your home. For light, it will tolerate direct sunlight only in the early morning or late afternoon with a western or southern exposure.

What a perky plant to start spring, inexpensive – usually less than $3 – easy to care for and if I happen to neglect the poor thing I can just throw it out and buy another one at the local grocery store and still feel good about it.

Brighten up your home with one, two or three – or better yet, share one with someone for Valentine’s Day.

Sandy Erdman is a Winona-based freelance writer and certified appraiser who focuses on vintage, antique and collectibles. Send feedback and story suggestions to Sandy at

[email protected]


Antiques and collectibles — Sandy Erdman column sig

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