Bottle Tree

Submitted to Community Café

At our previous home we had 3 bottle trees, and when we moved, only my favorite bottles came with us since we had to store everything for a few years.  Seven years later, and I finally have my first bottle tree at our current home! 

Bottle trees have been a "thing" in the South for hundreds of years, but their history dates back to the 9th century by the people of the Congo.  Africans brought the tradition to the South during the beginning of the slave trade in the 17th century.  The slaves on Southern Plantations placed the bottles on the trees to catch evil spirits, and once inside, the sunlight destroys the spirit.

For me, bottles trees are a piece of art.  Ultimately, I want the current tree to have all blue bottles.  The future 2 trees will have mixed colors, with an occasional clear bottle used as a filler. 

For those of you who are interested in "planting" your own bottle tree, and you enjoy doing winery tours, ask if they have any empty bottles for sale or for free.  The majority of my blue bottles were acquired this way.

The biggest pain in the tookus is soaking the bottles to loosen the labels, then using a sharp one-sided razor blade to scrape off the softened label, and a scrubber to get any excess glue off.

Materials Needed:

  • 4x4x8 pressure-treated post (buried 18" into the ground)
  • Post hole digger
  • Bag of cement
  • Big nails (8" timber tie spikes)
  • Lots of bottles