History of the Bottle Tree
The bottle tree reflects an ancient African tradition that can be traced as far back as ninth century Congo where natives hung hand-blown glass on huts and trees to ward off evil. The tradition eventually became a part of Southern African-American folklore. In the early American South, trees, typically cedar because its branches point toward the heavens, were stripped of foliage and decorated with colorful glass bottles.
The bottles on our Bottle Tree were slumped (fired in my kiln until they flattened), strung with fishing line, and hung from our dogwood tree. My husband created our bottle tree using some bottles which I had previously slumped. Over the year he has added more bottles of various colors and the tree has become the center of attention in our front yard. He even placed a spotlight under the tree, which lights the tree making it look especially beautiful at night. This is a wonderful tradition passed down through the generations. Not only do bottle trees ward off evil spirits, but they can become a unique focal point in any garden, and quite the topic of conversation.