From the Sperry Garden – April, 2011

I posted photos of my new bottletrees on my Facebook page a few weeks ago, and you’d think I’d just spoken ill of my mama. A hush went over the page as people hurried their fingers to tap back messages of disbelief – that I’d "…have anything so frivolous." But, landscaping is art, and art isn’t meant to be judged. Our landscapes reflect our own joys and interests. I like color, and I like whimsy. So, neither those Facebook posts nor my wife’s quiet mutterings will convince me to change things. I’m at peace with my life and my landscape, bottletrees and all.

For the record, more people spoke in favor of the bottletrees than against. Perhaps others were just being kind. The ones who gave me the biggest charge were the two people who said basically, "I just don’t get it."

Bottletrees are an old southern tradition from the days of the plantations. The theory was that evil spirits would be captured in the upside-down bottles, and that the garden would therefore be protected.

By the way, these particular bottletrees came from Wisconsin. I bought the blue bottles from Jerry Swanson as well. Red bottles are much more difficult to find (except for painted ones – and the paint weathers away). I found these red glass bottles at The Container Store near us.

The green bottles on our hanging bottletree are particularly special to me. Our retired Pastor Dale Gregoriew died a couple of months ago. His evening service was absolutely beautiful, and these were the wine bottles from Dale’s final Holy Communion. He was always about fun. He always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, and I know he’s smiling down on this bottletree now. It’s really his. I’m just loaning it the space.

So, there you go. Sperry and his bottletrees. You’ve now seen it all.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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