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Bottle Tree Americana – a Great Green Garden and Eco-Living Idea

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Bottle tree in a Dallas, Texas private garden

While the origin of the bottle tree is guessed to be in the African Congo, the tree has become a unique Bottle Tree PPenick_Agave_ovatifolia_Bottle_treeand original expression of Americana art for gardeners across the United States. Every day homeowners all over the nation now use the bottle tree as an expression of beauty and art in the garden. Above you see a beautiful tree I saw during a garden tour in Dallas, Texas.

Bottle trees came to America during slave trade times. Africans who moved here believed that by hanging bottles in trees one could “trap” evil spirits that were bringing misery or unhappiness to one’s life. When the wind blew, the moaning sound made by the wind whistling in the bottles was said to be these trapped spirits.

We now know that bottles cannot truly trap evil spirits, however, this tree has become a recognized Americana art concept in the traditional Southern American garden. This artistic expression has now been adopted across the country. Of course, a fantastic eco-chic and green benefit to this unique tradition is the reuse of beautiful bottles instead of throwing them in the landfills.

Although it is still quite acceptable to put bottles on real trees, it is now quite common to find them made of rebar (metal), wood, and plastic. Some manufacturers, such as, specialize in bottle tree Bottle Tree photo taken by Mark Mayfieldcreation.

Making a tree yourself is easy – there are no rules – and a great way to contribute to greener living. Put a tree outside in your garden or get even more creative and put it indoors in front of a window like the gorgeous display to the left which shows a colorful and spectacular window. Make a green difference and try reusing and recycling products to make a bottle tree.

Pam Penick of the Digging blog gave me permission to use her photo of the tree behind the giant Agave plant in the middle photo. Thank you, Pam – what an amazing display!

*Indoor bottle tree Image (to the left) of a page from Southern Style by the amazing photographer Mark Mayfield. Thank you very much for this amazing bit of inspiration Mark – love the gorgeous photo!

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  1. That indoor bottle tree is quite pretty. I see pre-made, tree-shaped bottle holders quite often in local nurseries around Austin, particularly at the Great Outdoors and the Antique Rose Emporium. But it's very cool when a bottle tree can be made from an old gnarled tree, as in that top photo.

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