A bottle tree is always in bloom

The Southern folk-art bottle tree must have appeal way beyond its humble origins. “Bottle tree” and “bottles for bottle tree” are consistently the number-one search terms leading visitors to Digging. I find it a little ironic that amid all the posts I’ve written about real plants, people often visit to see a tree made of bottles.

Well, why not? It’s fun, colorful, and always in bloom. So here’s a little blue eye candy to all those who, like me, love bottle trees. Let’s raise a glass to them—oops, already done!

The facts (because I know I’ll be asked): The blue bottles are a mixture of sake and water bottles. They’re stuck on branches of rebar. The post is redwood leftover from an old playset, set in concrete. Sturdy dead trees work great too.

All material © 2006-2007 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

11 Responses

  1. Frances says:

    How interesting there are so many searches for bottle tree. I have been saving some German wine bottles that were blue and think this would be a good use for them. They also look pretty lined up in a window as vases with a single stem in each. You are an inspiration once again. BTW, how do you track the people that visit your blog?

    I use the free version of Site Meter, which shows limited information about your visitors. If you buy the upgraded service, you get a lot more information, but I haven’t done that myself. Scroll to the bottom of my sidebar, and you’ll see the link. It’s easy to register your own blog for it. —Pam

  2. Karen says:

    What fun. I was just about the ask the same question about tracking visitors. Thanks for the info.

    Hi, Karen. Thanks for visiting. By the way, you’d typed in your web address as savannahgarden dot com, which opened an ad page. I took the liberty of correcting your URI as dot net. You’ll get more visitors that way. ;-) —Pam

  3. Karen says:

    Pam–Thanks a million. All the other web sites I tend are dot com and I can’t get used to dot net! I adore the bottle tree. I’ve got to have one. I’ve told hubby to start collecting bottles. We’ll try not to plagiarize the glorious blue of your tree, however.

    Go for it, Karen. I’ve taken my share of inspiration from other gardens, and I certainly didn’t invent the bottle tree. I look forward to seeing your interpretation one day. —Pam

  4. Ken Schill says:

    Hello Pam!
    I find your site from the internet i Sweden.
    And I must say that your garden is very beautiful.
    Just in my taste.
    If you like you can go in on my gardenblog in Sweden,you can`t
    understand the lyriks but you can look at the pictures.
    Sorry for my english;)
    Best regards and Marry Christmus Ken

    Hello, Ken. Thanks for dropping by and saying hi. I just took a quick look at your site, and your photos are beautiful. All those luscious tulips! Merry Christmas to you too. —Pam

  5. Libby says:

    Hi, Pam,
    The tree is loooovely; I bet it was an uplifting sight today in the gloomy gray. And yes, I have seen many ladybugs in our ‘hood, they’re very orange. I wondered if someone nearby had released some from those net bags or something. What a sweet post from the Swedish person.

    Yep, it’s hard to have the “blues” while looking at my blue bottle tree. ;-) I noticed you didn’t put in your link, so I did it for you. I thought people might like to know where you’re visiting from. Cheers. —Pam

  6. Interesting that this shot makes it look like the bottle tree is the only thing “in bloom” at the moment in your garden. These particular photos have a chill, winter look to them…all those blue tones against a hazy sky. Having just been there this afternoon, it certainly isn’t so. As usual, your garden is brimming with flowers.

    It’s interesting that you noticed the cool, grayer color of this photo. We talked briefly today about Photoshopping photographs, which made me think of this photo and some others I took on the same day. While I don’t use Photoshop, my camera has a “foliage” setting which amplifies the greens in a garden shot. I turned that setting off for this photo because the grayer background reflected the wintry feeling I had in the garden that day. The green of the foliage setting seemed too bright. In reality, the garden is somewhere in between the grayish green of this photo and the intense green the camera setting offered. —Pam

  7. Ellis Hollow says:

    Since I live where it’s gray, here in the north country, the blue-bottle tree is even more important for extending the bloom season. But I do take some good-natured kidding about it. Most folks think it’s a little weird — even though it’s in the backyard and discretely located so that it’s hard to see from cars whizzing by at 45 mph.

    I was chatting with a new co-worker last week and found out that her commute took her down our road. I started to describe the location and without many clues she blurted out, “Oh, you must live in that house with the blue bottles.” So much for being discrete.

    At least people won’t have trouble finding your house, Craig. I admire people with the confidence to plant a bottle tree in the front garden, don’t you? Maybe at the next house . . . —Pam

  8. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Pam having a tree that is always in bloom is a good reason to have a bottle tree. I have seen some pretty wine bottles that would make a lovely ever bloomer. I have also seen people use wine bottles as an edging around their gardens. I first saw this in Germany but have since seen it done in the States. I always wonder how they can dig around thier bottle edging and not break some of them. I guess they are easily replaced but it would be dangerous getting the broken glass out of the garden. I say this because I am like a bull in a china shop. I can’t have too many breakables around. I tend to break them after no time in my possession.

    A nearby restaurant uses half-buried wine bottles as edging, but I would have the same concerns as you, Lisa. I actually worried a little about whether my bottle tree would survive the kids and their activities, but so far so good. —Pam

  9. Nicole says:

    Very cool looking tree and pics. I wont be able to have one where I live except on a temporary basis, because of the strong winds. Maybe a mini blue bottle tree to catch evil spirits!

    We get some pretty strong winds here in Austin sometimes, Nicole. Wouldn’t it work if you put the bottles on rigid “branches?” —Pam

  10. Kylee says:

    I’m collecting my blue bottles for my tree – well mine will be more of a shrub than a tree I think. Yours is really pretty!

    Bottle shrubs look great too. Check out the one in my mom’s garden. —Pam

  11. LOUANN says:

    I’m looking for a metal bottle tree from a Texas manufacturer or business. I have found many in IL, TN, WI,etc. But wanted to buy local due to the shipping expense. Have you seen these anywhere?
    Love yours!
    Thank you.