Friday, November 5, 2010

Bottle Trees

My son was gracious enough to help me start a bottle tree just recently, something I have long wanted to do. Long known as a southern tradition, bottle trees have graced gardens near and far. I became intrigued with this idea a few years ago, after seeing pictures of them on the internet and on the meandering, two-lane drive to my parents house in Florida, where they pop up along the roadside.
The tradition of bottle trees is known to have started in the Congo generations ago. Some research dates bottle trees much earlier than that. Whenever they began, bottle trees have become a staple in the deep south.
The bottles are thought to trap evil spirits, keeping them in the bottle until the sun rises the next morning. The spirit dies when it meets the morning sun.
Bottles can be hung from trees with string, they can be placed onto bare branches or they can be purchased with a wrought iron tree stand. My son and I drove large nails into this post, and then placed the bottles sporadically.
My bottle tree seems rather sparse compared to some I have seen. However, it is just getting started. If you would like to see some extraordinary bottle trees then just click here. You won't regret it and you may even be inspired to start your own.

27 comments:

  1. This is something new to me, I am seriously thinking to build my own tree on my terrace...

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  2. Are the bottle trees not absolutely beautiful. I haven't seen a bottle tree since I left South Carolina. I'm ready to start, heaven knows I have plenty of bottles. Thanks!

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  3. I am glad you finally got your bottle tree! My storyteller friend, Granny Sue, does a bottle tree every year. She puts blue bottles on hers.

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  4. They are so pretty. I didn't know the significance of them...thanks.

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  5. I had one of those until a big hail storm came through. *sigh* Yours looks great. :)

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  6. I am so excited!!! I went to the web site and looked at the pictures of the different bottle trees and there it was....Jens Farm. Those are insulators off of old telephone poles and I have a whole bunch of them!! Whahoooo

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  7. That is really neat! I'd seen photos of them before but was not familiar with the folklore. Some of those trees are impressive!!! I'd be afraid of starting one in my yard for fear that on 105 degree day the sun glinting off of the bottles would start a brush fire! :)

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  8. Interesting folklore. Anything that captures evil spirits sounds GOOD to me. :)

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  9. That's realy cool,,,I have never heard of such a thing, but I like it a lot...I could totally see myself having one of those in the yard! I loved all the ones on the site you sent us to...the blue ones were incredible!Good luck on yours!!

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  10. Farmchick -- I viewed your link on bottle trees -- good link. From what I have learned in the past is that bottle trees in the south came from the African-American Congo culture in North Africa and spread to Europe and the U.S. through the slave trade. There are some very good books out on contemporary African American yards and gardens -- African American Gardens and Yards in Rural South by Westmacott and Places for the Spirit: Traditional African American Gardens by Vaughn Sills. Both excellent references. Perhaps you have them. -- barbara

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  11. How neat! I have never seen this before, but such a fun idea! :)

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  12. I bet it looks amazing in the sunshine! I've never heard of these! Maybe a southern tradition that didn't make it up to Ohio?

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  13. How beautiful; must be such a place where the Good is possible. More impressed than I can currently write. Please have a good weekend you all.

    daily athens

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  14. Cool post! Thanks for sharing the link on the bottle trees. I've always wanted to start one myself but haven't yet. I think you've inspired me and yours looks great!
    Amy

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  15. You have inspired me with your post. I have seen them around and wonderful what they meant. All I have to do know is find a house and then that will be project #1.

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  16. BTW I love your new banner photo! Have a wonderful weekend.

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  17. Cool idea; good luck with yours ! And there were great ones on that web site - the ones with blue bottles were especially cool !

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  18. I did not know that !
    It's original ! ...
    I will try to see what it looks, thank you for this great idea !
    A very good post !

    bye :))

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  19. I have been wanting to build a bottle tree, too. And I will...eventually.
    We can use all the help we can get keeping those evil spirits at bay!`

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  20. I have never heard of them before, but I think they had something like that in the movie "Ray." In the part that took place when he was a child in Florida, just as he was going blind. I'm looking forward to seeing your tree grow.--Inger

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  21. All I can say is... why, why, why? They look a mystery to me.

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  22. I'd never heard of this, well I am over the pond, I love the idea, my back garden is only very small but I have been known to put Christmas decks out there all year, I have to watch now with George!! thanks for putting the link up, I have saved it to my favorites and will go back for another look, your bottle tree looks great
    Jan, George sends a hug and kiss to xxx

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  23. I think the idea behind the bottle tree is so magical, it just delights me. I can see the pleasure that can be experienced by both children and adults building the bottle tree. Nice!

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  24. what a wonderful idea! i have never heard of this before but now i hope it is something me and my son can do one day!

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  25. I've had a bottle tree now for several years. It's a great conversation piece, and I'm sure it's kept the evil spirits away :) cuz I haven't seen any!

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