Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bottle Trees?

Before you think I am totally nuts, hear me out. A very well known gardener quoted in the Fourth printing of The Southern Living Garden Book, Felder Rushing, has bottle trees and rubber bushes (you will have to check out his website to learn what a rubber bush is)! Felder Rushing is quite the gardener and individual. He is from Mississippi and I can assure his neighbors probably truly don't know what to make of him. His quote on page 12 of the Southern Living book is: "Gardening is an attitude, not a skill." I am not sure I totally agree with this statement, but the fact he is quoted in the Southern Living book and is nationally known and respected gives credibility to bottle trees. To find out more about Felder Rushing check out his website at: He has several bottle gardens in his yard. My friend Gerrianne and I had the privilege of hearing him speak at a Perennial Plant Society meeting and thoroughly enjoyed the talk.

I am not sure of the history of bottle trees but believe it is a 'southern thing'. Since I am from the north I will just have to play along. Bottle trees are a fun and very colorful way to add some light and change to your garden. Not to mention they are a great way to display collectible bottles-out of the house. If you are like me you probably have too many collectables within the confines of your home and may want to expand beyond your four walls. Here are two pictures of bottle trees. One belongs to me and the other belongs to my good gardening friend Gerrianne. She was kind enough to allow me to use a picture here. We both agreed bottle trees are a winter subject.

My new friend the Saint said that in Germany the Germans would put bottles over pear blossoms in the spring. The pears would then grow within the bottle and conform to the shape of the bottle. At first he thought this is what these bottles were for. He did like the bottle tree much better than the bowling balls, but like I said gardens are individual and not everyone will garden in the same way. There are no two gardens the same nor are there two individuals the same and that is OK.

Please leave a comment or email me stating which one of these lovely bottle trees you think is "growing" in my garden. For those of you who have been to my garden-please don't spoil it for the rest of the readers who want to guess. I will let you all know which bottle tree is mine on Wednesday, 21 November.

in the garden....


  1. Of course I know the answer to the riddle so I will not spoil it for others...

    You forgot to mention what the bottles with the pear inside become... Or did the Saint forget to tell you? They become Pear liquor. Some really smooth yummy stuff too!

    Now Tina, I am as Southern as Turnips Greens but I have never had a bottle tree in my family history so I don’t think it is a Southern thing. I think it is more a thing of art. Some people dig bottles into the grounds of their gardens with the top facing at an angle to run the moles off by the sounds of the wind turning inside the bottles. I think I need to try this as a mole is building an interstate in my yard!

  2. Cute! Skeeter, you and Tina write so well. If you two got together and wrote a book you would set the world on fire!!

  3. Hey Skeeter, I forgot about making the pear liquor and the Saint did tell me about it. It is so interesting. And I like the info about putting bottles in the garden open end up. I think a certain community editor at the Leaf also does that. I'd love to hear how some people use bottles in their gardens. You might try it in yours and send me a picture. I still think bottle trees are a southern thing AND a work of art.

    Mom, thanks for the compliment. Skeeter is a great writer and you are a bit prejudiced toward me. Which bottle tree do you think is in my yard?

  4. Thanks for the compliment Mom Jean but there is not enough paper for a book if Tina and I were to attempt to write one together! LOL

  5. That is too funny Skeeter-not enough paper-because methinks it is most definitely true! How about you mom-you think it is true-not enough paper as we can talk!!

  6. Hi Tina,

    Thanks for visiting Henbogle and thus leading me to this post! Up north here in Maine I have a bottle tree, and I love it. We used lilac prunings to make ours, which features blue bottles. You can see a photo here:

    Come and visit anytime you want a glimpse of Maine :-)