Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bottlebrushes : Man-made and God-made

 Product DetailsI do not recall just when I first discovered the handy-dandy little kitchen utensil called a bottle-brush, but it was probably about the time I was first scrubbing baby bottles as a teen-age baby sitter.

This was, of course, long before those plastic holder types with a disposable baggy inside. No, in the "olden days" you had to wash, scrub, and sterilize glass baby bottles. And about the only way to get all the milk scum out of the bottom of the bottle was with a bottle-brush.

I was always particularly glad to have a utensil with which to scrub the inside of anything made of breakable glass, ever since I had shattered a glass, with my hand inside it, while washing dishes when I was twelve.  Not that a person could possibly get their hand inside a baby-bottle; but it was just comforting to discover such a clever little tool.

I wonder who first thought of attaching little bristles to a wire stem, and then putting a handle on it to make it easy to use?

Could it be the idea came from someone who was spending a few minutes admiring a callistemon (the botanical name for a  bottlebrush)? 

Bottlebrush PlantIt is an odd shrub, to be sure.  No soft, smooth petals to caress.  No fluffy powder-puff balls of florets.  The stems are woody and stiff, the leaves are a little prickly, and the blossoms are unlike other flowers.  They are little bristles sticking straight out from the tip of those woody stems.  Their whole attitude is a little in-your-face.

Here I am, take a good look, because you won't see anything else like me around the garden.

And, of course, just to top off their pert appeal, they are red!

Oh, and did I mention that deer won't eat them.  They are deer-resistant.  That alone makes them a winner in my garden book.

Thus, while I think the kitchen utensil called a bottle-brush is useful and quite clever, I think the happy, bright red bottlebrushes that God makes are more than useful and clever.  They are an encouraging symbol of both beauty and endurance.

They brighten up a dull corner of the yard, they require little water (which in this drought is pretty critical) and the herbivores roaming the back yard won't eat them.

Just now I am watching what is perhaps the very best thing about having perky red bottlebrushes in the yard, hummingbirds love them! And the ones in my yard are much brighter red than the one in this picture.  Not to brag or anything.
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Somewhere, in a factory somewhere, an assembly line is turning out man-made bottle-brushes: quickly and efficiently they come rolling off the line.

But somewhere in the universe, there is a God who is thinking up things like callistemons, bright red, prickly, perky, deer-resistant, drought-tolerant, and beloved by hummingbirds everywhere.

Sure, I appreciate a clever kitchen tool, who doesn't?  But even though they are called by the same name,  the man-made one does not begin to compare with the kind God manufactures all over the world. 

Come to think of it, I am pretty sure this principle applies to more things than we know.  Just saying ...
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Have a happy spring day.  And if you can, take time to glance at a bottlebrush bush somewhere.  I guarantee it will make you smile - especially if a hummingbird happens to be snacking on it.

Until next time - your grateful gardener, Marsha


  1. I don't know if I've ever seen one of those. They are really pretty and I like the fact that the deer don't like them. God really does good work!

  2. Bottle-brush shrubs really are very pretty. God's definitely got the upper Hand over the man-made ones!!


    (Just wish I wasn't so allergic to them! Achoo...)