When you like junk, and your friends know it, you often receive calls asking if you want some things, because they are “cleaning out”. So, when a friend called asking if I wanted some old bottles, I didn’t hesitate to say yes! I have had a bottle tree in my basement since last summer waiting to be decorated with colored bottles. I looked at bottles online and in the store, but I will be honest. I’m cheap. I didn’t want to pay that much money for 8 or 10 bottles. The bottle tree remained in the basement, forgotten, until I received my box of bottles.
As I was working on my bottle tree, I began thinking about where the idea of bottle trees came from. A search online revealed that bottle trees began with African slaves. When they arrived at their destination, they created their trees from large limbs or dead trees.
They were decorated with cast off bottles from the garbage piles, and many Milk of Magnesia bottles were found on the trees. Milk of Magnesia bottles were blue and blue bottles were thought to trap evil night spirits, which were then destroyed by the sun rise. Other bits of lore include greasing the opening of the bottle to help the spirits slip into the bottle easier. During the outbreak of yellow fever in 1878, people in Memphis, Tennessee hung blue medicine bottles from their trees to keep the fever from entering their homes.
Any color bottles can be used, and I want mine to be multi-colored. Of course, I will include some blue bottles……just in case.
There are many kinds of bottle trees. I like the tall ones which hold about 8-10 bottles. You may want to take it in in the winter, or at least remove the bottles. They may freeze and break.
There is also a smaller version, which is more like a bush.
Doesn’t the purple bottles look pretty mixed in with the purple flowers?
You can even have a turkey bottle tree! I would love to find one of these.
But, you don’t have to buy a bottle tree. Pam at House of Hawthornes bottle tree was created with a tomato cage turned upside down. Now that’s a neat idea! Pssst. Notice she used blue bottles?
If you would like your own bottle tree, just click on the picture to take you to purchase.
Looking for a gift for a gardening friend? Bottle trees would be perfect to add a little whimsy to the garden.
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