Bay leaves, the dryer sheets of the food world

I have a bay leaf tree that is over 25 years old. I had another but I killed it this year, well, mother nature killed it. She got too wet for too long last fall and got the root rot and died. I was devastated. I’d already killed a 6 year old rosemary bush.

When I noticed my bay leaf tree had turned this color I knew there was trouble. I tried to save her but after weeks in my living room looking like nothing so much as a coat tree (I’d cut off the dead branches) I let her go to that great stew pot in the sky.

Bay laurel

My old bay laurel trees took a beating this spring. I have them outside in the spring, through the summer, into fall until after the first frosts. They don’t like being inside and I have them in only 2 or 3 months and they’re back out. But this spring they got used to warm weather in March and then cold temperatures in April stressed them out like I’ve never seen them. These are 2 trees I bought as little slips of plants 20 years ago. 

At the time they seemed the same but their leaves are different and have sharply different tastes. They are over 6 feet tall. This is a problem when I need to accustom them each spring to the sun. The “hardening off” process was easier when they didn’t weigh 75 pounds. In and out and in and out, little by little until, voila, they are ready to stay outside.

I’m not sure what I was thinking as far as my bay leaf usage goes. I use one a month or so. I have enough to last a few millennia.