Bottle Trees

While I get back in the habit of blogging, I am editing and publishing some of my backlog of posts that I have started but not finished. This one I started in early May, before my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It makes me feel a bit lighter and summery, in contrast to today’s December grey.

(Background: Bottle trees came from Africa, and are seen throughout the South. The bottles’ bright colors and reflective nature attract evil spirits, which are then trapped inside the bottles. I gather evil spirits are like Japanese beetles; they can’t remember where they came from.)

My collection of blue bottles is gradually growing, as is my collection of bottle tree links. Digging has recently moved, and Pam made a new tree for her new yard.  In her comments, Felder Rushing’s wonderful collection of bottle trees was posted, and from there, I found a flickr bottle tree group.  Now, I’m curious about Quigley’s Castle, Arkansas, which is near Eureka Springs and has fourteen bottle trees. I even have a couple of photos of my own from our travels.

Blue bottle tree, Eureka Springs, Arkansas Colorful Bottle Tree, Jackson, Mississippi

I have a dozen or so bigger Riesling and water bottles, and a half dozen Phillips milk of magnesia bottles in storage. Right now, I’m thinking about two bottle trees with LED lighting to flank my entry walk.  Or possibly a blue bottle ‘tiki-like’ torch in the side yard. With the redbud an ice storm casualty, the yard is full of possibilities.

ETA: While cleaning up my home email, I found that my mother sent me this excerpt from Gerald Klingaman in his plant of the week article back in January 2009. Bottle Trees Make Bold Statement: Culture is a funny thing that shapes the way we see and understand the world. Every ethnic group is unique but none exists in a vacuum, so icons from one tradition are continually crossing the cultural boundaries of one group to be reinterpreted by another. The more we become the true melting pot we claim to be, the more cross-cultural icons creep into everyday use. A lot of these cultural beliefs involve trees in one way or another.

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