Here’s another great article by Leon Macha, about Felder Rushing and Bottle Trees!

Having Real Fun in the Garden


People who garden have a lot of fun. You can tell by the ornaments that show up in their landscape beds.

If I connect this to our residents who are from rural areas, other southern states, or have bohemian heritage or tastes, I have covered most of our population. All of these gardeners have bought garden ornaments or received one from their Aunt Betsy, and you just can’t throw it away.

The king of all garden ornaments is the Blue Bottle Tree. The logic behind these goes back a few thousand years.

The story I like comes out of East Texas lore. We all know that evil spirits lurk in the dark of night. As the sun rises at dawn, these spirits seek dark hiding places and the blue bottles are perfect for that. The rising sun heats the bottle and the evil spirits are cooked and killed!

If you have wind chimes to keep the spirits away in day, and a bottle tree to protect you at night, you are pretty well covered.
If you don’t believe these stories, just appreciate the permanent nature of these garden decorations. Always there, don’t need water, no fertilizer.

If you want to know the full history of bottle trees, go online to for the most complete history and website for the bottle tree phenomenon. It provides at least a full hour of entertainment.

Felder Rushing is a ‘real character’ and a retired ag extension agent from Mississippi. As he makes trips for his gardening speaking appearances, he drives an old pick-up truck with a full, living garden planted in the bed.

If you want ideas for your garden, his website has hundreds of photos of bottle trees that he has taken on his world-wide travels. If you want to really have fun in your garden, you need only follow the philosophy of Felder Rushing. Laid back, fun loving, work averse.

The best Blue Bottle Tree examples occupy places of prominence in the Stephen F. Austin State University Arboretum at Nacogdoches, and at Shangri-La Gardens in Orange. Dr. David Creech at SFASU had little problem collecting the blue wine bottles when he assigned his students to bring bottles and be sure they were empty.

If you are a skeptic, just ask my brother-in-law. He is positive that his blue bottles have kept his property free of evil spirits!

I fully expect a shortage of colored bottles in El Campo in the near future.

PSG2012.18 Bottle Trees
Copyright 2012 by Leon Macha