Posted by: briellethefirst | June 3, 2011

Bay


Bay (Laurus nobilis), also called Sweet Bay, Grecian Laurel, or just Laurel and Daphne is the Greek name for the tree. I don’t have a Bay tree. I tried growing one once but it didn’t survive the move to Arizona from Florida. As soon as I can afford to get another from Nichols Garden Nursery I’ll try harder.You can grow it in a flowerpot, a barrel or in the ground depending on where you live. You can also let it grow wild or clip it into formal shapes. If allowed to just grow it can eventually reach 30 to 50 feet tall, but if clipped you can keep it manageable, under 8 feet or even bonsai it. While it’s young keep it in partial shade, maybe the east or west side of the house. The north side will probably get too much shade and the south side sun could burn it. If it’s in a pot you can move it around to the best spot according to the season and weather and bring it inside when it gets frosty. Once established it doesn’t need much care, especially if planted in the ground.The tree is disease and pest resistant and may help discourage pests from bothering nearby plants.

Baby Bay

Baby Bay

The leaves can be harvested anytime and dried for later use or used fresh. The young ones have the most flavour. To keep the leaves from curling when you dry them put them between 2 spatter screens and clamp them together. When they’re dry store them in jars.

Use it in roasts, soups, stews, sauces and marinades. Bay leaves are usually removed before serving. A few leaves in the dog or cat’s bed can repel fleas and in stored clothes they can discourage moths. A leaf in the flour, rice or pasta canister keeps weevils away. You can make a pale green dye from the leaves.

Apollo was smitten with the nymph Daphne, so to avoid him she asked her father, the river God Peneus, to change her into a tree and thus the Laurel came into being.  Wreaths were given as prizes at the Pythian Games in honour of Apollo and have come to symbolize fame, prosperity and achievement through the ages to modern times. Baccalaureate and Poet laureate are derived from the name of this tree as is the expression ‘resting on one’s laurels’. It was believed that standing under the tree would shield you from lightning, the plague and witches.

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