Afternoon sunlight reflects off cobalt blue bottles shaped like violins as cats frolic as mangles of grapes cluster on iron-rebar tree branches in my neighbors back yard.

She kneels to adjust a perfume bottle on a tiny tree and tip-toes to touch others placed near by. The nearly 20 bottle trees displayed in beds of iris, pastel pink native azaleas and a canopy of weeping cherry and Bradford pear trees are more than just decorations in this wonderous backyard.

For those who believe the folklore, they transform her backyard into an enchanted garden.

According to ancient African myth, bottles on trees could catch evil spirits and prevent them from entering a home. In the 18th century, Africans who came to the South as slaves adorned cedar trees with bottles for protection.

The color blue also signified healing powers.

Bottle trees are an important element of African-American visual culture. They will always be with us - like okra, hominy and black-eyed peas!

Even into the late 1950s, bottle trees glistened in out-of-the-way backyards in the rural South.

Stories such as Eudora Welty's "Livvie," published in 1943, have helped preserved the lore.


Ambre said...

Very interesting read! I've never heard this before. Aren't you glad that we're never to old to add something new to the chambers of our mind!

Thanks Again, I love your blog!


Liquid said...

ooooooooooooooo...so grateful Ambre!

cathouse teri said...

I love it! Bluuuuuuuuuue!