Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My New Tree!

It's not what you think.

It's not a 'Forest Pansy' Redbud.

It's not a Paperbark Maple either.

In fact it's not any of the other trees I considered getting in my recent tree post.

It's a tree I've been wanting in my garden for many years -- at least 8. Ever since the first time I saw photographs of one on the web.

I've been saving up for it for a long time.

But I haven't been saving my pennies to buy one.

I've been saving bottles.

It's a bottle tree!

It's the first thing you see when you come through the gate on the south side of the house.

It's in a great spot to capture both morning and afternoon sun.

I've had some of these bottles since long before we moved here from Massachusetts. In fact, some of them were given to me by a Massachusetts friend, who got them from Freecycle. They were packed up and shipped in two big boxes when we moved.

Catching some rays!

The bottles are a bit dirty and dusty and spotted, they've been in storage for a long time.

I prefer it with different colors than just blue, although the blue ones are pretty.

I wish I could take credit for how beautifully it turned out, but my contractor Chris Gilliam created it. I told him how to put it together, but it was his genius idea to make the rebar "boughs" different lengths, longer at the bottom so that it has the same shape as a fir tree. And they are stuck in at different angles, rather than lined up in rows. I suggested rows to him, but he had a better idea, which I wasn't sure would work. But it did. It's basically a four-inch cedar fence post, attached to a concrete fence pier (left over from garden construction the first year we were here), with holes drilled in the cedar and rebar stuck into the holes. I dug a deep hole and buried the concrete pier.

I'm thinking of growing a vine up it next year, but I need to think what. I've seen pictures on Pinterest of a blue bottle tree with a black-eyed susan vine on it, and it looks good.

I think Felder Rushing includes an entry for the bottle tree, which he calls Silica transparencii, in all his books. He has a website here with lots of photos of them too, as well as a history of bottle trees here. Supposedly they originated as a way to capture evil spirits, which are attracted to the color blue, and get trapped at night inside the bottle, and then are zapped by the morning sun.

Nigel says we should put Budweiser bottles on it. Then we can tell people the tree is in bud. That man, such a wag.


  1. You are funny, I was all set to see a newly planted living tree. I love the bottle tree. Have some bottles saved up for my garden's of these days.

  2. Thats so funny!... I didn't read your previous blog so I was thinking all the tree's I'd love to own... Ginko popped into my mind... and then there it was a
    Bottle tree!... I have to admit that I saw a "bottle bush" this summer... it was actually very cool looking... If I can I will try to go get a picture and send it to you!... Maybe the tree can have a little cousin!
    Im new to Blogging... check me out..

  3. I love it. I really love the red bottles. I would really like to have one, but we get so much hail here, I don't think it would make it. Yours is the nicest one I've seen. I've never seen one with a vine, but I bet it would look great.

  4. Love the shape of it. You'll get a lot of enjoyment from that. Nice job!

  5. A fantastic idea, fantasy work. I am greeting

  6. I love it! I, too, was prepared to see a living tree! Just want you to know I read all of your posts, because I'm subscribed to them...I enjoy them all so don't think no one is reading or cares (as you said in one of your former posts)...I just don't often have time to visit or leave a comment. I feel bad for not blogging, but I am keeping my blog because I will get to it when I get to it. This summer has literally sucked in the garden dept. here...everything looked so sad. I kind of avoided taking photos so I wouldn't get depressed;-)

  7. Hooray! The perfect tree for any soil condition or exposure! Great fall color, summer foliage, and winter interest. What more could you ask? Yours is a great bottle tree and Nigel's idea of using Bud bottles is positively inspired! maybe you could make an annual event of adding the Bud bottles in the spring & removing them later in the year. Funny man!

  8. Looks great, Alison! And do I see another one in the upper left of your first picture?
    No leaves to pick up in fall and evergreen (-brown, -blue, -red) for winter - the perfect garden tree. I love Nigel's joke...funny guy!

  9. I love the different colors of glass! I can't help it, but looking at the tree, I'm envisioning little white holiday lights, inside the bottles, in December. I wonder if you could do that, to illuminate the glass from within at night? Might be easier to just illuminate the whole tree from below though. Sorry, my imagination is running away with me again! ;)

  10. Nigel, how funny !! Your tree is lovely. I have seen them around a few times and thought how clever it is. I like the way you have designed it and think it will look so good with a vine too. Thanks for the links.

    Have a wonderful weekend! xo

  11. Nigel! That is hilarious! Oh Alison, it's so beautiful. It's the perfect four season tree! Cheers, Jenni

  12. I love your Silica transparencii. It looks like a var. 'Tri-Color' or 'Mutabilis' or is it, 'Emeraldii'? I'll have to check out Felder's website. So are you sleeping peacefully now that all the spirits are trapped inside the bottles? :)


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