Friday, August 30, 2013

Herb Trees: The Bay Laurel

Probably every kitchen has a few dried bay leaves
for seasoning soups and sauces.
I have a small bag full, and it's a good thing they last a long time
because I generally can't use them all up in one winter soup season.

Some recommendations I've read for bay leaves
is to use them in potpourri or as way to repel bugs and mice.
I have tried herbal remedies for insects and mice 
in places I've lived in the past
and the pests were never once deterred.
In fact, I suspect they lolled in the herbs in their leisure moments.
My advice in that regard is to call a professional exterminator.
Scattering a few bay leaves is only going to make the vermin laugh behind your back.

Bay leaves may have limited use beyond the kitchen 
but I still have tried to grow a small bay laurel tree in a pot.
Containers are supposed to be a good way to grow it,
but I've never had success once I've brought it into the house in the late autumn.

Grow a Bay Tree

has these recommendations for successful indoor growing:
First, avoid terra cotta because the soil will dry out too quickly
and the bay tree needs uniform moisture.
On the other hand, I've read on some web sites that the bay laurel 
is tolerant of dry conditions as long as the dry spells don't extend too long.
Second consideration: the bay laurel needs lots of light and warmth.
Dry winter air and dark rooms will not be good for a bay tree.
Finally, avoid cold drafts and hot spots, 
meaning avoid placing it near doors and heating vents.

Lately, I've been thinking a tall Meyer lemon or bay laurel tree topiary
would make a good addition to my breakfast room table--
although it is near a door and a heating vent.
At some point, I'll try it anyway.
It won't be the first time I've watched the leaves fall off of a houseplant.
And who knows, a little bay laurel tree might just make it.

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