I cleaned out my garden shed the other day and found this blue bottle buried under twine and dirty garden gloves dried into angry fist shapes. There was apparently attraction enough at one time for me to squirrel the bottle away into this very tiny shed, the door clasp of which has long since buckled under the strain imposed on such a magpie’s closet. Maybe at some point I was thinking of building a bottle tree. I did throw out a lot of the junk in the shed, but hesitated with the cobalt blue bottle. I didn’t put it back in the shed, but left it out on a table, hoping to force a final decision. Then, ahem, out of the blue, it occurred to me that the rusty finial lying around with the wine cork shoved into it for a previous incarnation as the crowning glory to a candelabra might just fit in the bottle. And so it did.
There would seem to be a resident flying squirrel in the garden, judging by the reflection in the bottle just under the neck in the photo below. Or, to indulge in a paranoid cliche, possibly a UFO silently glided over the garden when the photo was taken. Or, as a smarty pants in the family opined, it has something to do with a parabolic effect. I’m going with the flying squirrel. I like the M.C. Escher funhouse distortion in the bottle, the bowed ribs of the pergola against the blue glass sky.
The perfect fit of the bottle and finial started a binge into blue which was to last the next few days. Because didn’t I have some tumbled blue glass somewhere in the garden brought home from Building REsources? Yes, indeed, which I had used to outline nerine bulbs, so I wouldn’t inadvertently stomp on the bulbs in their dormant phase. I checked the gravel garden, and sure enough, there was a scattering of blue glass shards, no longer in neat outline around the nerines but strewn about and half buried in gravel. I picked up every shard and gave them a good wash. In my defense, I plead summertime. It’s long, it’s hot, and it can make eccentric activities seem like seriously worthwhile pursuits.
The blue glass mulch was left soaking in water for several days on a table in the kitchen, with no greater purpose or plan in mind. Then I became distracted redoing some plantings in the front gravel garden, moving agaves a few feet over, removing the one-off succulents and adding bigger swathes of a particular favorite, the Mexican Snowball, Echeveria elegans. For a fresh gravel surface, I cheaped out on the gravel, which is approximately the same light grey as the echeverias instead of the pricier warm buff color I had used in the past. All that work for a fairly disappointing result. Something else was needed to draw definition to the white echeverias against the grey gravel. Which just happened to be soaking in a bowl in the kitchen, freshly washed, bright and shiny.
Once the echeverias grow in a bit more, the blue glass will disappear, so it is a bit of mid-summer silliness. I do know it’s not easy to throw away a cobalt blue bottle. I couldn’t do it. But for the sake of blue glass mulch, I’m glad not everyone squirrels bottles away in their garden sheds.