What’s with the blue bottle trees hanging out everywhere? Would you love to know more about these stunning trees and how to make yours beautiful? If you have visited Tall Pines Inn, you may have noticed a peculiar-looking tree with blue bottles hanging from the branches. There are a few interpretations of these unusual glass bottle trees. In recent times, one can see a popular ornamental staple, the blue bottle tree. You can find them in gardens and front yards.
What’s with the blue bottle trees? Blue is the preferred color of the original blue bottle tree bottles, especially Haint blue, which is the traditional blue. Haint blue is a pigment harvested from crushed Indigo plants and used to paint the porch ceilings of Southern homes and servant quarters. Cobalt blue or Blue Nun wine bottles are suitable, and represent the traditional blue of these bottles.
Gullah people, a community with connections to the enslaved Africans off the coast of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, placed special significance on blue. The Haint shade of blue for the Gullah represents water, which spirits cannot cross over, offering the people safety.
Story Behind the Tree
Variations of the Blue Bottle Legend explain how people would cork the bottles in the morning, trapping the evil spirits. The evil spirits who slipped inside the previous evening are then destroyed by sunlight. The meaning of the blue bottle tree evolved over the centuries, but the interpretations generally share the common theme of protection. A popular interpretation is that the blue bottle tree protects the home and garden by capturing evil spirits. The evil spirits see the sparkling blue of the bottles and fly into the bottles and become trapped. When the sun rises in the morning, the evil spirits are destroyed.
Listen for Yourself
Listen close the next time you pass by a blue bottle tree, you might hear the wind blowing across the tops of the bottles. The hollow swishing over the tops is possibly the sound of evil spirits entering the bottles and preparing for capture. Once the evil spirit enters the blue bottle, legend has it that they can not escape from the bottle. The spirits are not harmful, and the morning sunlight will destroy them. The beautiful blue bottles not only chase evil spirits away, they also bring good luck, rain in a drought, and make plants bloom.
How to Make a Blue Bottle Tree
- If you choose to set up a pole, start by digging a hole 25 inches deep and 12 to 14 inches around. Alternatively, if you have a small tree that is tall enough and will accept small pegs, this will work nicely. If tree damage is a concern, simply go with the pole version.
- Place the post in the hole at the desired depth, and add concrete or dirt for support.
- Drill holes at an angle for spikes, and keep in mind, holes should be at an angle, then space the spikes so each blue bottle fits with room for the next bottle.
- Secure each spike with a hammer.
- Now is the time to add bottles to your tree. Traditionally blue bottles make up a bottle tree, but add any color you wish to brighten up your garden.
What’s With Our Blue Bottle Tree
At Tall Pines Inn, our tree consists of small pegs and a collection of blue bottles. Guests wonder “what’s with the blue bottles” and we love to share the legends and myths of these unusual dazzling trees.