There was a story I once read that mentioned a bottle tree. But it wasn't until my husband told me that a box of bottles he'd been toting around for years was for the purpose of a bottle tree, that I became personally aware and interested in bottle trees or as my husband called them, Charleston Christmas Trees.
Turns out, years and years ago he had visited a friend in Charleston and she had a bottle tree that she told him was called a Charleston Christmas tree. This appealed to my husband's artistic nature to the point that many years later . . . years of stopping at every antique mall and junk, I mean consignment shop, on the way to the beach, resulted in a box full of cobalt blue bottles, the color he decided would be perfect for his own Charleston Christmas tree, along with a few clear and green bottles.
We recently found the perfect spot in our yard for the bottle tree and an abandoned post from Lowes parking lot obligingly served well as our tree. Between my husband and son the bottle tree took shape and I must say I'm delighted with the results. The more I enjoy our tree, the more I wondered how this tradition got started. Being the research nerd that I am, I went in search of answers.
Imagine my surprise when my Google search only gave a list of Christmas tree farms in SC! I hate to break it to you, Charleston, but you didn't invent bottle trees, in fact far from it. According to my research, bottle trees have been around in one form or another for thousands of years and seem to have begun in Egypt and Mesopotamia, spreading to other cultures throughout Europe and Africa and, not so surprising, made their way to North America by the slave trade. Today bottle trees can be found across the United States.
If you read the history you'll find many believed evil spirts were captured in the bottles at night and the light of sun destroyed them. I simply enjoy the added dimension it gives my yard as the sunlight bounces off the blue and green glass. As it happens, blue is the color frequently chosen but styles and colors vary widely.
The full box my husband had collected appeared a gracious plenty for our tree but once completed it was obvious the tree could use more, plus I would like to have red bottles - don't you think they would look great with the cobalt blue? I have now joined my husband in his hunt through junk, I mean consignment shops, in my own search for bottles to add to our tree.
Since bottle trees have been around for such a long time, there is every possibility one will show up in The Weaver's Dream, of course in that time period (1300 BC), it's sure to have a different meaning than the simple yard art it is in mine. I'd love to hear back from you about any special yard art you have. Do any of you have a bottle tree?
Until next time, may your days be full of love and laughter!