If you are not from the south, you may not know what a bottle tree is. So, a bottle tree is a pole (the trunk) with many branches that you put bottles onto. Today’s bottle trees are made of wood or metal. Bottle trees used to be all over in the south, but almost disappeared for a while. Lately though, they are making a resurgence in Southern yards.
I first learned about bottle trees from Felder Rushing. He has bottle trees in his yard and arbor.
Historically, bottle trees were an African custom where bottles were hung in trees to trap evil spirits. Sunlight would shine through the bottle, the spirit would see it and fly in the bottle to investigate. Once in though, it could not get out. Bottle trees are no longer used to trap evil spirits, now they are just used to beautify the yard, or annoy the neighbors.
I had a bottle tree made for me by a friends dad from a young cypress tree. It was great, with many branches. Unfortunately, the trunk was too short and when the tree was fully loaded with bottles, the tree would fall over from the weight. I have plans to put up a new bottle tree soon though.
While I will probably make mine, there are places you can buy a ready made bottle tree, and the bottles too in need them, or want all matching colors or shapes. The Bottle Tree is a local company in Sunflower MS. The offer trees, and bottles. Another local company is The Bottle Tree Man. I LOVE his baby bottle bush which is just a scant 12″ high and will fit inside on the mantel or outside on your porch railing. It is so cute.
The advantages of putting a bottle tree in your yard are many. You can totally personalize the look. Some trees use only one color of bottle, some mix it up. They never wither, fade, or die. They never need watering. The are a handy place to store bottles outside the house (freeing up storage space) until you need them. Changing the look of a bottle tree takes minutes whereas changing the look of a garden can take hours. The sound of rain on a bottle tree is very relaxing. They take up very little space while adding a great vertical element to your landscape.
Do you have a bottle tree? If not, would you consider putting one in your yard?