A Bottle Tree Makeover for Summer & A Bit of Furniture Re-arranging

Welcome to the 487th Metamorphosis Monday!

For this week’s Met Monday, I have more of a “Before and Middle” than a “Before and After.” See the bottle tree that’s out on the deck in this photo below? (View this beach-themed table setting here: Beach-themed Tablescape.)

A Summer Porch


I love bottle trees, love their folklore and whimsy. If you’ve never heard of bottle trees, they have an interesting history. Some folks say they date all the way back to Africa.

Back in the day, folks who were superstitious believed if any evil spirits came around their home, if they had a bottle tree in their yard, the bad spirits would be lured into the beautiful bottles and become trapped there, vanishing once the daylight arrived and the sun shone down upon the bottles. Love that!

Deck Stained, Sherwin Williams Lodge Brown


Though I don’t really believe in roaming evil spirits (shhh, don’t tell the evil spirits I said that!) I love the folklore, the history and the whimsical look of a bottle tree. Often they are placed out in the garden but since my deck is a full story up, I placed mine here on the deck so I could see and enjoy it year around.

This is how the deck looked last year right after I had the deck pressure washed and the top rails painted brown.

New Deck Furniture with Red Cushions, Oak Cliff Collection


I spent much of yesterday out on the deck cleaning the bottle tree and trying to decide if I should move it, and where. (Ignore the big orange bucket…I had two buckets out on the deck yesterday, one with soapy water for washing bottles, the other with clear, rinse water.)


I so enjoy having the bottle tree here on the deck, but this massive tree overhead…


…does this to it thoughout the year, mostly in the spring. It always takes a good bit of scrubbing to get the bottles clean again.


It’s amazing how well the tree stuff sticks to the surface of the bottles. I think most of it is sticky tree pollen.

Washing Bottles, Bottle Tree


Ater doing some morning weeding, I scrubbed down all the bottles yesterday while listening to a book on Audible. It’s looking like it may rain today, but if it doesn’t rain, I hope to wash down the deck either today or tomorrow. So ignore the dirty decking, that’s just stuck on pollen and tree gunk.

In an effort to keep the bottles clean a bit longer, I pulled the bottle tree out of its corner where it’s completely under the big tree, and over to the other side of the deck where the grill lives. I basically swapped its position with one of the standard hydrangeas on the deck.

The poor hydrangeas almost croaked from lack of watering when I was in Ireland last August for two weeks. They had made a fine recovery this spring, but then I left to visit family for a few weeks and apparently we got very little rain during that time. I have great timing. 🙁 They didn’t die, but they lost A LOT of leaves. They are recovering again and I have no plans to go anywhere for a while, so hopefully, they will get a chance to fully recover this summer.

Bottle Tree for the Deck


Since I moved the bottle tree over to where a hydrangea used to be, I turned the table horizontally to allow for more space to walk by it. So now the table is in a horizontal position on the deck, instead of a vertical one.


And there’s the bottle tree, tucked into the corner near the grill. It’s time to add more bottles. As some bottles fade out in color, I remove/recycle them. The tree is starting to look a little sparse since I removed quite a few this past winter.

Update: You’ll find plenty of colored bottles available on Amazon for bottle trees (like THESE) but not sure if they are painted glass that may fade, or colored glass that will keep its color.


I think this summer I’ll remove all the bottles, give the tree a light sanding and a good painting. I’m starting to notice a little rust in some places. It’s been out here on the deck for a lot of years and has held up well, but its time for a makeover.

Do you see the little pink bottles scattered around the tree? I found those in Old Time Pottery yesterday for $1.49 each. I have a feeling they will fade out pretty easily, but they were inexpensive so thought I’d give them a try.

The blue and green wine bottles never fade because the glass IS that color, it’s not just a painted on color. It’s really hard to find glass bottles where the color is IN the glass and not just painted ON the glass. My goal has been to cover the tree in the colors I prefer in my garden: blue, green, yellow, pink and purple, but a couple of red bottles have snuck in over the years.

So that’s the plan this week: Clean the deck, find more bottles for the bottle tree and probably repaint the tree base. It was never black, has always been sort of a grayish color, but I’ll shoot for black when I repaint it, I think.

Do you have a bottle tree somewhere in your landscape? Is it tucked under the trees like mine? If so, how often do you find it needs cleaning?


I’ll leave you with this image of a beautiful bottle tree from one of my favorite books, Southern Style. This was the bottle tree that convinced me I needed a bottle tree in my landscape. I love how its silhouetted here in an arched window on the porch. I bet it stays a lot cleaner and the bottles don’t fade as much, too. Perfect spot for a bottle tree!


If you love classic design, I can’t recommend this book enough. You’ll find it available here: Southern Style. Definitely one of my favorites!


Looking forward to all the great Before and Afters for this week’s Metamorphosis Monday!

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  1. Well, I can certainly see why you were moved to get the bottle tree in the first place – that image! And I can also certainly see why you’d want to move it. I’m all about lessening the beauty maintenance in my own garden of a certain age!
    Enjoy your Memorial Day, Susan. I hope you treat yourself to day off.

    • Yes! I’m definitely for less maintenance. lol Thanks, Rita! I think Mother Nature is going to make me take a day off, it’s been raining here all day. I’m kinda tired anyway, so maybe that’s a good thing. Hope you having a restful day!

  2. Rachel Wolters says

    Why don’t you put the bottles in the dishwasher and clean them the easy way? Have you ever thought about that or tried it? Your porches always look beautiful and I do love the white posts with the brown top rails. Brilliant idea you used! Have a lovely summer!

    • Thanks, Rachel! I have really enjoyed the brown rails! If could get them all into the dishwasher (wine bottles are really tall) it would take a lot of loads and I’m afraid it would fade the colors. Also, I don’t think a dishwasher would get them completely clean because the tree stuff is really stuck on there. Good thinking, though…appreciate the suggestion!

  3. Susan, the new placement of your bottle tree is perfect! I don’t have one but I NEED one. I have the Southern Style book and it is a favorite of mine…remember that picture very well!

  4. I really want a bottle tree! If you repaint the tree, have you thought about Charleston Green? 3 parts forest or hunter green to one part black. (promoting my hometown!). Where did you find your tree? I really like the new porch arrangement.

    • I love Charleston Green, great color! I found the tree in the Ballard Designs Outlet in Atlanta back in 2011. They were drastically marked down from well over $200 to $60. After a couple of weeks, they reduced what they had left to $20! I would have purchased more than 1 if I’d had a way to get them home. lol The base is so large, I had to hire someone with a truck to deliver it. Not sure if they still carry the bottle trees or not.
      Thanks, Roxanne!

  5. Susan, did you know it was Sunday? a.k.a. a day of rest. Do you ever do that, rest? Sometimes I’m plum worn out reading your post. Southern for exhausted. Hydrangea trees? Any information on those would be much welcomed. Raining here today. Again. Indoor chores for you unless it’s a shopping day? Have a wonderful end of the long weekend.

    • No, not really…not more than for a few hours, then I get restless and it’s time to work on something. There’s always something around here that needs to be done/cleaned/fixed, it seems. I love staying busy, so I don’t mind. 🙂
      Yup, raining here, too…think my deck cleaning will have to wait until tomorrow. Hope you have a restful Monday, Kem! XXX

  6. I’ve never found a bottle tree that doesn’t need to be placed in the ground.
    Anyone have a source?

  7. Those pink bottles are so pretty; good thinking to buy them. I hadn’t thought about how some bottle glass is painted-on color. Where do bottle-tree enthusiasts source theirs? Deck is looking good even before all the cleaning.

    • I’m not sure, I think most folks just collect them organically as they buy stuff. I’ve done that, too…but seems like everything comes in green or blue glass. Hobby Lobby has some pretty glass bottles and I have purchased there before, but it does eventually fade out, although their bottles lasted quite a few years before it did. I may visit them this week to see what they have.

  8. Cynthia Blaylock says

    Your bottle tree is beautiful. Where did you find it? The ones I’ve seen on the internet son’t look as sturdy and substantial as yours.

    • Thanks, Cynthia! I found the tree in the Ballard Designs Outlet in Atlanta back in 2011. Not sure if they still carry them now, hopefully they do.

  9. I’d guess it’s tree sap that is the sticky stuff you are dealing with. If there is a pine tree anywhere near by I would guarantee it is sap. Hubby used to have a terrible time with it on his truck, until we had the tree taken down. I think paint your bottle tree a darker color who look fantastic and probably make the bottles stand out more. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one a large as yours. Your hydrangeas are looking good. Next time you go off for an extended period I volunteer to fly down and house sit so all your plants get watered when needed. LOL

    • I don’t have any pine trees in the yard, and it does wash off, so I don’t think it’s sap. Sap is the worst, I remember getting that on my hands when I used to purchase a fresh Christmas tree each year. It’s almost impossible to get off so I sympathize with your hubby!

      Thanks, Vikki! 🙂

  10. I understand about the trees. I have a love-hate relationship with mine! Your bottle tree is beautiful, and I like the addition of pink.

  11. sandra D Joliet says

    Love your tree but then I love colorful glass bottles. I have several lined up on my kitchen windowsill. It is hard to find colored glass. I bought a hanging garden ornament that had a bright pink bottle in it that became clear by end of summer because it was painted. I remember going to Rockome Gardens in Arcola, IL where the Ammish had it set up so nice (since closed). They had a little building made out of concrete with aggregate and lots and lots of bottles set in it. I was mesmerized. Most of them were green 7Up and Sprite bottles. I wonder if they tore it down when it closed. If you google Earthship Wall you’ll find some examples and it looks like they are using soda cans too which is not as appealing. Another huge disappointment was buying some blue mason jar glasses with handles. I loved them but the color started peeling off! I did write the manufacturer and complained, imagine if a piece came off and someone ingested it? They were awesome and sent me clear ones so I wouldn’t have to worry about paint peeling off. I only bought 2 but they sent me a set of 4. Still, they should warn people it’s painted glass-I used the peeling ones for flower vases on my patio table so not a total loss. Happy Memorial Day.

    • Sandra, you’re so right, it is really hard to find.
      Glad the company replaced them with clear ones. The colored ones are really pretty, love the idea of using those for vases!

  12. Where did you find the wonderful bottle tree

    • I found the tree in the Ballard Designs Outlet in Atlanta back in 2011. They were marked down from well over $200 to $60, then eventually marked down to $20. Not sure if they still carry them now. Thanks, Tina! XX

  13. Hey Girl!! Love your bottle tree. I have had one forever but every yr the bottles get blown off or cracked by our hot sun. It’s in my flower bed. So this yr I swiped the little colorful plastic balls from an outdoor light string that I picked up at big lots for about 10 bucks. It’s perfect and different! I’ll send u pic if I have your email…

    • Thanks! Wow, that’s some hot sun! The lights sound so cute! I forgot to mention it in my post but when I was shopping in Old Time Pottery yesterday, I came across some cute jar lights and other styles of lights. Some said they were okay for outdoor use. I was thinking how cute it would be to add a few lights to the bottle tree to light it up at night. Would be so pretty to see from the porch. 🙂
      I will check out the ones at Big Lots, they are across the street from the Old Time Pottery that’s near me. Thanks for reminding me of the lights, love that idea!

  14. There is a wonderful old movie, Because of Winn
    Dixie, where Gloria Dump (Cicely Tyson), is a recovering alcoholic. She has bottles hanging from a tree in her yard that she calls her ” mistake tree. She says they represent the ghosts of all things she has done wrong”. When reading your post today, I immediately thought of this movie. Another take on a bottle tree! Great movie that I highly recommend.

    • Ahhh, that’s kinda sad, a constant reminder of one’s past mistakes. I think if I were her, I’d go smash all those bottles with a baseball bat, and put the past in the past. 🙂

  15. Michelle Hey says

    Such a pretty bottle tree! Thank you for sharing the folklore! Where did you purchase your bottle tree?

  16. I doubt the ACC would allow me to get one but I would love one. I know they fine steeply for doing anything or I would jump on it. I asked to put a wrought iron trellis behind a plant and to do so I must request by form and a young woman who looks 12 comes out and decides if she will approve it. We so need to move! I just wish they would approve us to replace our poor roof. So far it has been almost a week since we turned in the paperwork and now a tropical system is coming. I didn’t know we needed one but now that I know we are in the fate of the all and powerful OZ who is really getting on my nerves.

  17. Your hydrangeas might like having a soaker hose on a timer, especially if you go out of town and rain isn’t in the forecast. It’s very easy to set up and very water efficient.

    • That’s a great idea, I need to figure out how to do that up here on the deck. I hate to leave the water on at the hose though…might spring a leak or something and get a huge water bill. The county I live in is brutal when you use a lot of water…they increase the rate per gallon A LOT if you cross a particular threshold…learned that the hard way when I landscaped my front yard.

  18. I have always admired your bottle tree. Where did you get the tree stand? It is awesome and looks so sturdy compared to some I have seen for sale recently. I imagine it is a lot of work to clean all those bottles but you have more energy to get things done than most people! Love reading your posts.

    • I found it in the Ballard Designs Outlet in Atlanta in the summer of 2011. Not sure if they still carry the trees online or in their catalog.
      Thanks, Karen!

  19. Regarding painting the deck rails… when I lived in Greenville, SC the local Sherwin Williams paint store recommended painting deck rails and wooden privacy fences a beautiful shade of brown/dark olive green with a mildewcide added to the paint. My husband refused and spent lots of money over the years paying others to clean and repaint them white, then became irate when the work never lasted a month. AFTER I filed for divorce, I painted them all this recommended color and the visual results were stunning! There was no mildew, no discoloration. Even during pollen season, no trace! I had strangers stopping by to ask me the paint color and why the fence and deck looked so good even with trees all over. A year after we separated, my now ex-husband left me a message in the mailbox complaining he was angry it all looked so good and clean, but worse- that I was right! LOL Sorry I don’t remember the color name to share with you, but it was the top grade exterior SW semi-gloss paint that you add their mildewcide powder to it.

  20. donna zoltanski says

    I too love your pretty bottle tree. It really adds a fun vibe to your pretty porch. If I ever find some pretty bottles, I will send them to you! Happy Memorial Day to you!

  21. BonnieBee says

    Susan, i am still feeling all the joy of cleaning my deck this weekend..LOL.. i did find a product at Home Depot that really made the work go much much easier.. 30 Second Outdoor Cleaner.. worked great on the deck, railings and the concrete driveway…. although ypur deck and porch always look like ypu have just scrubbed them clean.. enjoy your summer and all lf the beautiful colors in the bottle tree…

    • Thanks for sharing that product, Bonnie. I was thinking of using this stuff I used several years ago that I found in Lowes, but it’s such a long drive to my nearest Lowes, and HD is really close by. So I think I’ll check out that cleaner! Thanks again!

  22. Cheryl Thomas says

    Hi Susan, Love your deck bottle tree and of course your deck looks fabulous.
    I cleaned my windows in the dining room the other day with the product you recommended several years ago and they look sparkly. I will tree and send a pitucre of my “bottle bush” in my dogwood bed.

    • Oh, I think I just got the picture, love your bottle tree, Cheryl! I really like it near the bench! 🙂 Beautiful hostas, too! Where did you find the bottles for your tree?

  23. Kathleen says

    Love the bottle tree. I just have bottles on hanging hooks and I made a junk flower bed where I use old garden tools to hold bottles. Mine are all green and blue because it is hard to find colored glass that isn’t painted. I recently found a peacock frame that holds bottles. I added glass gems to the bottles for some sparkle. If you like cobalt blue you can buy beer in that color. Sorry your hydrangeas were dried out. Glad they are making a comeback!

  24. Hi Susan, we used to have a house that was on 3/4 of an acre. We turned most of the useable space into gardens. Inone of the 10’ x 10’ raisedbeds I had a bottle tree.
    Now when I decided this bed needed more color I decided to plant a bottle tree. Now I had never seen one like the one you have. My tree was a 7’ tall piece of lumber with wooden dowels for the bottles to rest on. I had never seen a metal tree until I saw yours. Much more practical because the whether won’t ruin it. I used to hunt for bottles at antique stores and local flea markets.

  25. The stuff on your bottles is caused by aphids that feed on hardwood trees and their sticky droppings all over your bottles is called Honeydew. We ended up cutting down a maple b/c of the mess it was making on the cars.

  26. Everything is looking beautiful! I didn’t know the folklore behind the bottle trees. Thanks for sharing, and hosting!

  27. Dorie F. says

    It looks terrific!!! Where can I buy a similar bottle tree? Or what keywords do I put for a Google search? Searching for “bottle tree” just brings up the type that are a single pole with “leaves” off of it…thanks!

  28. I love your bottle tree. My cousin has one and she ran lights in and out of the bottles. It’s perfectly beautiful at night. I love the blue glass bottles they are so pretty in the sun. Hope you can find some pretty color glass!

  29. Darlene Gardner says

    Susan, we have a really great bottle tree that actually has the shape of a Maple tree. It was a gift to my husband and he changes the bottles every month – always featuring different colors. Some are colored glass and some he has spray painted. For instance, for July the bottles are all red, white and blue. It truly is unique. Wish I could send you a photo. Bottle trees are fun to add to the landscape for sure!

  30. Hello, could you let me know where to find that type of bottle tree? The Internet searches I do come back with stuck-like trees. Thanks!

  31. Your deck is looking mighty fine already! I have a small bottle tree out in my front garden. It only holds 9 bottles, but it is the perfect size. It also has tiny solar lights that shine through the bottles at night. Can’t wait to see your next blog! I really enjoy them. Anne

  32. SharonFromMichigan says

    Love the bottle tree! I have an inexpensive one in my garden, but a local fella who’s a retired welder makes them (good and sturdy) so I might try to get in contact with him and buy a really good one. When I wash my windows, I use Rain-X on them afterwards to keep them clean longer. I wonder if Rain-X on the bottles would work?

  33. Hello, so I had previously inquired on the name or type of bottle tree you have…if you just Google “bottle tree” it returns a different sort. So I finally did find out what the name of the type you have (and the one shown in the book), it is called a French bottle drying rack. So if anyone was trying to find one, that is what you need to search under. 🙂

  34. Nina Leone says

    Where did you get the frame for your bottle tree? I love it and just finished making one from wood and long nails.

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