Sunday, May 18, 2014

Wanton Whimsy

Gardeners one and all, please forgive me for the crass display you are witnessing.  I took a long step this past week beyond acceptable garden ornamentation, crashing and burning far past the gates of conventional decorum.  I created, in my unsuspecting garden, as you can plainly see here, a bottle tree.

I've lusted for a bottle tree for years and I still can't explain the urge.  It's like I am a Babtist preacher who keeps coming back to Mardi Gras.   I normally strive to maintain a garden that the general public will likely approve of, even as I push back against pruning conventions to the irritation of those who like their shrubbery carefully clipped and marching in step.  The existence of a bottle tree in my garden is a leap far past the line of whimsy for me, a singular incongruity like a wart on a princess.  I've flirted with whimsy before, bringing yet another rabbit statue into the garden, but until now I've stayed on the safe side, refusing to add figures of gargoyles and peeing little boys.

There are commercial bottle trees available, even an entire company dedicated to their creation, but I had to make my own.  For one thing, I felt the commercial trees were too small, usually under 5 feet tall and seldom holding over twenty bottles.  And they're pricey.  And I was worried about anchorage against the Kansas winds.   A bottle tree that has to be straightened after every storm would be exhausting.  So I created my own, cementing a treated landscape post into the ground so the trunk would be over 6 feet tall. I cut rebar for use as "limbs".  Best of all, I can add to it merely by drilling a hole and adding another limb.  I want lots and lots of bottles.

The King of Bottle Trees, Felder Rushing, who himself has fourteen of them, believes that bottle trees date as far back as men have made glass, from back when the belief arose that spirits could live in bottles and that evil spirits could be captured in them. Rushing also relates, and I agree, that blue-only bottle trees are the best.  Doubt me?  Click here to be convinced by a picture of Rushing's blue tree covered in snow.  Mine would be all cobalt blue already, but Mrs. ProfessorRoush and her friends insist on choosing wine for its taste instead of the pretty bottle it comes in.  Consequently, I have only one blue bottle at the moment, but the Internet may come to the rescue since I can buy a dozen cobalt blue bottles there for a mere $19.99.   I think making an all blue tree will really spruce up the bottle tree and my garden. 

(Get it?  "Spruce up my bottle tree?")

 

6 comments:

  1. I think bottle trees have some strange fascination for gardeners everywhere. Yes, pricey; yes, cobalt blue are best. I took a picture of one which was homemade on a garden walk I was on. It was 7 pieces of rebar of various lengths stuck into the ground; something anyone could accomplish. It was more a blue bottle bush than tree, but of all the (I think, good) pictures I have posted to my blog that one picture has been repinned on Pinterest tens of thousands of time.

    I particularly like your phrase about the lamentable Baptist preacher...you have a way with a phrase!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Uhmmm...I think I found the picture you're talking about. And I also found the post about paint on the inside of the bottles; I was thinking spray paint but your idea was better.

      You've been posting about bottle trees for a long time Rachelle. Nice blog! And thanks for following me.

      Delete
  2. Wish you were closer, because I have three dozen blue bottles that would be yours for the asking. Went a different direction with my bottle trees, with a few blue bottles and a lot of green beer bottles. Added three uniquely shaped green bottles to the collection over the weekend, souvenirs of a delightful dinner at the Greek festival with friends.

    Do what I did to collect the blue bottles ... put out the word to your friends to save their bottles for you. That is where most of mine came from.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I have. We'll see if they come through.

      Delete
  3. I have never come across a Bottle Tree before, and , for me, some of the pleasure would come from the emptying of said bottles ! I have heard English folk lure tales of spirits being confined into the tree itself but never into bottles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely a tradition of the American south, Jane, and not for higher taste gardeners!

      Delete

Thank you for your interest in my blog. I like to meet friends via my blog, so I try to respond if you comment from a valid email address rather than the anonymous noresponse@blogger.com. And thanks again for reading!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...