Skip to main content

Bottle Trees: Homemade Garden Art Rooted in Superstition

What can you tell me about bottle trees? I have only seen one in my area (New England) and frankly I don't get it.

bottle tree

Answer: Bottle trees are a great way to add a little mysterious charm to a yard. The colored glass bottles glisten in the sun’s rays, beckoning your attention. These creative works of garden art aren’t simply interesting décor; they have a rich, ghostly history originating hundreds of years ago.

Long ago, in the countries of northern Africa from Egypt down to the Congo, tales of spirits were told. To ward off lurking spirits, people would hang or place glass bottles outside of their homes, hoping nightfall’s darkness would trap the roaming apparitions in the hollow containers and they would be destroyed by morning’s light. Some suggest that the superstition of bottled spirits originated as early as 1600 B.C., others say it was closer to the 9th Century A.D. The concept was brought to North America by African slaves. Over the years, bottle trees spread throughout the South and the tradition eventually made its way throughout the United States.

Whether you are superstitious or admire the eccentric beauty bottle trees offer, these imaginative creations can enhance your yard with their intriguing sparkle.

Image: Takomabibelot
Add some artistic, handmade décor to your garden while sparking a little creativity with Handmade Garden Projects, a book containing step-by-step instructions for fun garden items.

Make your own beautiful and efficient birdhouses with help from Birdhouses You Can Build in a Day.

Illuminate your yard and add a little flair with a flower ball lantern.

Learn other great ways to incorporate garden art intro your landscape with Garden How-To University: Creating a Garden – More Than Just Plants.

Want great projects to do in the garden that the whole family can enjoy? Check out Project Garden for some great ideas that will inspire gardeners young and old.