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Blue Bottle Tree
by Charlotte Conner

    When I grew up in Norway, South Carolina, the old black woman who worked for my family (her name was Neetsie) had a small blue bottle tree in her yard. I have never forgotten it and after all these years decided to make one for myself.

    My first bottle tree was in a crepe myrtle, but the tree kept growing. After using the crepe myrtle for a couple of years, I then used a Christmas tree.

    This pine was still not big enough because I was beginning to collect blue bottles all over the United States. The bottles came from many states, from Georgia to Montana. I bought some in British Columbia, some in New York, in Massachusetts, and just wherever I found one. I've spent a fortune on blue bottles but had fun collecting them.

    A few months ago I found the perfect tree on some property that was being cleared to build a sub-division. The tree was so tall my husband had to cut it off at the bottom so it would fall in his truck. The truck could hardly hold it, but we made it home.

    Embedded in 300 pounds of cement now, my tree is stripped of limbs as far up as I could reach standing on a step ladder. Because I had to leave some limbs at the top, that spot has become a home for a family of cardinals! We've enjoyed not only the bottles, but the birds.

    I have suncatchers on the tree that reflect light all over the yard, and at night if the moon hits the suncatchers, they become moon catchers. Many people have come to see my tree and many have blue bottle trees now after seeing mine.

    I love my bottle tree and enjoy planting flowers around it. There are many evil spirits captured in the blue bottles (an old African myth), and the only way they can get out is if a bottle breaks. The tree I had before the present one did fall down and several bottles were broken. I quickly captured all the evil spirits and haven't seen a one since!


    Editor's Note: Using rebar for your bottle tree?
    Check out White Cap Construction Supplies.


    Charlotte writes:
    "I am 74 years old -- there I said it. My husband and I were transplanted to Georgia by Uncle Sam and retired in Columbus after many years in the Army. Since our marriage we have literally traveled all over the world. I have lots of hobbies -- pottery, rug hooking, gardening, and antiquing. We have just returned from the North American Blue Bird Convention which was held in Ithaca, NY. We drove on up to Prince Edward Island and after three weeks away from home, were ready to come back and check on my fish pond in the back yard. We attend the Blue Bird Convention every year as we love blue birds. We have fledged several families of birds and it is thrilling to see them fly away. Did I tell you that I had a blue bottle tree in my kitchen? It was on the chopping block table in the middle of the room but after it began to collect dust, I decided it had to go. I used the small blue bottles from the kitchen tree to hang on my crystal chandelier which is on my back porch. Enough about me to tell you that I just plain love life and all the wonderful things out there that I like to collect."


    Here's a bit of history behind the Southern bottle tree: Bishop's Bottle Tree

    Read about two Mississippi Delta men who build beautiful bottle trees!
    The Bottle Tree Man

    And you must NOT miss Don Drane's account of building his own tree.
    Don's story

    Want to leave a comment on Charlotte's bottle tree?
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    or write Ye Editor at bethjacks@hotmail.com.


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