If you’ve ever been to Lovegrove Gallery & Gardens, you know that we only sell Saratoga Natural Spring Water. Made in Saratoga Springs, Saratoga Natural Spring Water is packaged in iconic cobalt blue glass bottles. The crisp, clean taste and low mineral content makes it a light and refreshing beverage for any occasion.

Most people leave behind the bottles when they leave – lots and lots of empty bottles. Thousands, in fact. And as an artist who regularly incorporates found objects into my mixed media and collage artworks, I couldn’t just toss them into the recycle bin. I had to do something with them, and so today, the dock and walkways that bisect my botanical gardens are lined with dozens of midnight blue bottle trees that give the grounds an Alice in Wonderland aura. You’ll even see a fence or area divider that’s made of Saratoga Natural Spring Water bottles here and there.

Sometimes we have events at the gallery or in the gardens that take place or end after dark. Rather than lighting the bottle trees with spot, fluorescent or rope lights, I’ve painted the bottom of each bottle with fluorescent paint. At night, the fluorescent-trimmed white bottoms glow in the dark, adding to the gardens’ ambiance and mystic.

My inspiration for the bottle trees is my sister. She died of cancer a number of years ago. My sister embraced a healthy lifestyle. She did not smoke, watched what she ate and always kept hydrated with bottled water. I’ve always wondered if the chemicals from the plastic caused the cancer. I realize there are people who argue both sides of this question, but in my opinion there’s enough evidence that a chemical known as Bisphenol A (or BSA) that is employed to keep plastic bottles from cracking can leach into the water inside the bottles in the presence of heat.

Ever left a bottled water in your car or a case of the bottles in your garage? That’s all it takes. And more than one study has linked BSA to ovarian, breast and prostate cancer. I don’t know if these studies are accurate or not, but I just won’t take the chance that the water I serve you when you visit my gallery and gardens could cause you to get sick. I just won’t. And that’s why we buy water in glass bottles from Saratoga Natural Spring Water. (It tastes better too.)

I know it makes my sister happy on those occasions when she checks on me too. There’s a little bit of her every bottle tree inside of my gardens Island here on Matlacha.