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City woman’s ‘bottle tree’ is a living sculpture

Published on

George Mathewson

Susan Averill was headed to her blue box with an armload of empty bottles when the inspiration struck.

Stopping short, she stuck five of them on the branches of her young catalpa tree.

Tada! Sarnia’s “bottle tree” was born.

Over the past six years the living sculpture at the corner of East and Maxwell streets has continued to grow, drawing smiles from passing motorists and anonymous bottle gifts left on Averill’s doorstep.

“I look out the window and see people stop at the corner and they’ll look and point,” she said.

“I’ve had four or five people come up to my door and say, “You know, every time I drive by this house it makes me smile and I just thought you should know that.”

The bottle tree is a seasonal thing. Each spring the catalpa produces new branches and large, heart-shaped leaves that grow out and hide the glass treasure within. Much of the year it looks like any other tree.

Come autumn, however, the leaves fall and the bottles reappear.

That’s when Averill pulls out pruning sheers to create even more holders.

Today, the tree is festooned with more than 100 colourful glass objects and ornaments.

“People just put them on my porch. Some people come and have their photo taken with the tree. One woman told me when she has a really bad day she just drives by my house,” she said.

“The other neat thing about it – on sunny days it glitters and its sparkles, and when the wind rushes through it the bottles make a howling noise.”

Despite the tree’s high visibility on a busy intersection it has never been targeted by vandals, Averill said.

“I’ve never lost a bottle or had one broken or stolen. Never. Which is really neat.”








































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