Modern day garden designs or ancient superstitions? Both. Bottle trees actually date back to nearly 3500 B.C., originating in Arabia, traveling to Africa, Europe and then to North America. It was believed that “spirits” live in glass bottles, understandably for the sound heard when wind passes over an open bottle. Empty bottles were placed near entryways and evil spirits would be attracted to and captured inside the bottles at night, and then destroyed as the sun rose in the morning.
Presently, bottle trees are used as garden art and brightly colored glass glistening in the sun. Felder Rushing explains: “Bottle trees – often referred to as poor man’s stained glass or garden earrings – can be made of dead trees or big limbs tied together (crape myrtles and cedars have the best natural forms), wooden posts with large nails, welded metal rods, or bottles simply stuck on the tines of an upended pitch fork or a small number of rebar rods stuck in the ground…” The options are endless, from the structure used to the color and arrangement of the bottles. Blue has most often been used because of it’s connection to the spirits, but all colors sparkle and shine beautifully.
Bottle trees can be found in famous gardens, and not so famous gardens, around the world…even on Bolivar! Check out some local bottle tree creations by your neighbors, and consider crafting one for your own garden.