For some reason spring seems to have forgotten us here in southwest Ohio. Mother Nature sent spring to visit us earlier this year, but this week I’ve had to bring my winter coat back out- UGH!!!!
So, in the hopes of encouraging Mother Nature to send us a bit more season weather, I want to share some fun and funky garden art… our take on the bottle tree
I have been fascinated with bottle trees since seeing my first multi-colored tree several years ago. From then I was hooked and knew that I wanted one for my yard!
Before sharing how we created our garden art, I wanted to share some of the interesting background that I learned about bottle trees while working on the project…
Bottle trees originated in the bayou south among the slave quarters and were though to ward off evil spirits.
It is said that this traditional practice was brought here by the Africans during the slave trade. In the Congo, Natives have hung hand-blown glass on huts and trees to ward off evil spirits since the ninth century, and perhaps earlier.
The Legend is told that the spirits are attracted to the sparkling color of the bottles, blue ones seemingly more enticing. The moaning sound made by the wind as it passes over the bottle openings are said to be proof that a spirit is trapped within.
As I said, I have wanted a bottle tree for several years, but frankly without welding skills (and welding equipment) and lacking trees from which to hang my bottles (as is the ‘tradition’) I simply didn’t know how I get the look of a tree for my yard. Fast forward a few years and my discovery of Pinterest and I stumble across alternate ways to get the look of the bottle tree without the cost of a metal frame or a tree.
My supplies were simple and easy to acquire… blue bottles and garden stakes
I chose garden stakes for several reasons: (1) because they were easy to purchase- we picked ours up at Home Depot, though they can be found in any garden center or hardware store, (b) they were designed for outdoor use- the ones I picked up are plastic coated, and (c) they have spiked ends, which makes it easier to push/bang/hammer them into the ground. [Hint: It took us two trips to the hardware store to find the right stakes. My suggestion is that you take one of the empty bottles that you intend to use with you to the store to test the right thickness]
Finding blue wine bottles, on the other hand, took a bit of work. First I would note that if you like Rieslings you shouldn’t have too much trouble. We, unfortunately are not Riesling drinkers so I initially put out the word to some of our other wino friends that we were collecting blue wine bottles (assuring that we were looking for their empties, LOL) For a month or so we also scoured local wine shops looking for wines that came in blue bottles and when we found a wine that sounded like something we might like, we would buy a bottle. I wasn’t looking for uniformity of shape so collecting different types of bottles wasn’t an issue. If you are not a wine drinker AND you don’t have any wine drinking friends you could check with the local bars/wine shops to see if the serve wine from blue bottles and would they be willing to save their empties for you. In any case, this is a great recycling project.
After consuming the wine, I soaked the bottles in warm soapy water to remove the labels.
Actually assembling the project was really easy…
1. We simply put the stakes into the garden where we wanted them- just like you would do with tomato stakes. We couldn’t find the rubber mallet so Tom used the back of an ax to drive the stakes firmly into the ground.
2. Once you have the stakes where you want them, shove the bottles on top of the stakes.
Simple as that!