Growing Bottle Trees

Reuse. Reduce. Recycle. That’s Dale Wayne’s motto on merging the arts and the environment.
    This summer’s artist in residence borrows from the African tradition of bottle-trees — whose branches have been capped with bottles. Her bottle blossom trees are made from plastic bottles salvaged from Calvert County’s Appeal landfill.
    Nothing goes to waste making these blossoms grow.
    Cut, curled and glittered, the bottle body becomes a flower. The bottoms turn into buttons, pins and Christmas ornaments. Even the caps find a second life next to a colorful mix of recycled items like plastic Easter eggs on a wall mural.
    The growth of these trees depends on you. Both young and old can help them bloom. All materials are provided; you can glitter-glue to your heart’s content.
    “I figure the more people, the fewer bottles hit the landfill,” Wayne says.
    Traditional bottle-trees are said to keep imps and genies away. These bottle-trees bring inspiration in. “One woman shook my hand and said this has changed her life,” Wayne said.
    One completed tree already stands in the garden, glistening in the sun.
    Make bottle trees at artLAB every Sunday thru Friday from 1 to 4pm, thru Aug. 26. If you want to meet Wayne, hurry. The artist in residence heads home to Orlando in early August. Free with $3 Garden admission: 410-326-4640;