As I was taking my recycle bin out the other day I noticed that I had quite a few nice blue bottles. It seemed a shame not to use them in some way. Then I remembered visiting Felder Rushing's garden in Jackson, Mississippi and his amazing bottle trees.
I don't have a bottle tree in my home garden, but I can think of a few spots at the Garden Home Retreat where it would be fun to have one.
Bottle trees are a Southern tradition rooted in the belief that evil spirits are trapped in the bottles at night. When the sun rises in the morning the spirits are destroyed by the light. Today most people simply enjoy the folk art behind bottle trees, which is lovely when illuminated by sunlight.
There is no wrong way to create a bottle tree, just use your imagination. Some gardeners like to build a wooden post with pegs drilled or nailed into it to support bottles. It's also possible to purchase bottle tree frames made from rebar. For a traditional look try "planting" an old Christmas tree or large branches in a cement footing in the ground. Cut the branches back to about finger size to hold the bottles.
Bottle trees can also be made by suspending bottles with wire from the limbs of living trees. Clear bottles can be filled with colored water for a little extra pizzazz.