Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Saga of a Bottle Tree, Chapter Two

In which our protagonist calls "do-overs!" on her proposed version of a Bottle Tree.
My original choice for a bottle tree was close to what I wanted, but simply was too modest a specimen. It would not support the number or the variety of bottles I wanted to display.

Looking around the immediate area I spotted what seemed a more ideal candidate just behind my original choice.

Given that the oak pollen counts have limited my forays out of doors to brief sprinter like sessions in the afternoons only (supposedly pollen counts are higher in the mornings and no, I don't know why that might be, but my nose tells me it is true), I took advantage of some free time yesterday afternoon.  I made several short work trips out back to de-leafify* limbs that had sprouted from a hackberry we had (mostly) cut down last year.  

*Deleafify is a technical term we classier garden bloggers use to denote a process of stripping the small leafy branches off of bigger limbs.  Some pedestrian types might call that "pruning", but it has nothing to do with prunes.  Really.  It is what it is - de-leaf-ifying.  Onward.

This particular hackberry had unwittingly looked into its trash tree soul and somehow, by throwing out a halo of smallish limbs around the sawn off trunk, transformed itself into what may be a near perfect Bottle Tree.This tree, in other words, had read my mind and known what I wanted before even I realized it.

Creepy, but cool.

So here it is in all its current glory.  [Click on the photo for a closer view.] More bottles to come certainly, and I want to play with the length of the limbs a bit more, but you already get the general idea.  I wish it got a little more sun, but once I get back to a time of year when I go out of doors AND still breathe through my nose I will deleafify around the bottle tree to brighten the overall prospects.While I think about it - just in case you are not already familiar with the bottle tree tradition, here is an excerpt from an article with a version of the history of bottle trees.
The south is full of strange superstitions and this is one of them. According to legend, evil spirits, spooks, haunts and wooly boogers just cannot resist crawling into the blue bottles on the tree. It seems they have a great deal of curiosity, so they climb the bottles to see what is inside. Then they are trapped. By morning, when the sun comes out, they are destroyed. 

Curious little devils, are they not? It is said that when the wind blows past the tree, you can hear the moans of the ensnared spirits whistling on the breeze. The blue bottle tree is one of our oldest traditions, alongside painting your front door blue, which also helps to keep the spooks, evil spirits or what have you from entering your home. The origins of the tree go back to the ninth century Congo where hand-blown glass was hung on huts and trees as a talisman.
I've been coveting other folks' bottle trees for a couple of weeks now.  This photo captures one of the most original variations on the theme I spotted so far:What about your yard? Are you hosting a bottle tree where you live? If so, feel free to send me your photos [austinagrodolce at gmail dot com]. If I get enough samples perhaps I'll start a Bottle Tree Gallery here on Gardenista. How much fun then, to have bottle trees both inside and out!


  1. Love the idea of repurposing a hackberry, TexasDeb! I've admired bottle trees in other gardens but haven't crossed the line to planning one here. They must be getting more popular - and if one wants the bottles to match, they're sold on line. But wouldn't that take the fun out of emptying them?

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  2. You are right Annie - the emptying IS part of the fun. Thanks for dropping in!

  3. I've seen this method in many houses they use bottles but it is the first time I read something about superstitions


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Rollingwood, Central Texas
Family historian by default. Oldest surviving matriarch on my branch of the Family Tree. Story teller, photo taker, gardener, cook, blabbermouth.