Probably about in 1985, I bought a bay leaf tree. The name of it is “laurus nobilis” and I’ve always heard it called “bay laurel”. I kept my bay leaf tree in a pot and repotted it every few years so it had grown quite tall and was in a pretty big pot. When we lived in Kentucky, I forgot to bring it in one cold night and it froze. I was so sad because I loved having that tree and loved having home grown, pungent bay leaves. They’re so much better than the dried ones I can buy. I grieved the loss of that bay leaf tree for years and have always been on the lookout for another one.
About four months ago, a friend in Louisiana was dividing some of his and offered to give them away about 10 little trees. I figured it would be too hard for him to ship them here so I promised myself I was going to find myself a new bay leaf tree. A friend here told me she thought one of the garden centers in Abilene had them.
Yesterday, we had passed that garden center on our way to eat lunch. I was asking Vince if we could please stop by there on the way back towards getting Rita so I could get a bay leaf tree. He suggested I call to make sure they have them so I did and they did. I had talked to a lady and she told me they were in 1 gallon pots and $16.99.
We got there and saw a man and he asked if he could help us. I said “We’re looking for a bay leaf tree.” He told us to walk into the “shade room” which was about half the size of a football field. We were wandering around like little lost sheep. There were three men working in there.
First man: Can I help you?
Me: We’re looking for a bay leaf tree.
First man: We don’t have those.
Me: I just called and the lady said you do.
First man called second man over.
First man to second man: She’s looking for a bay leaf tree.
Second man: We don’t have them!
Me: I just called and the lady said you do!
First man: Who is the “the lady”?
Me: The lady who answered the phone.
Second man: It’s just us.
I pulled out my phone, brought up the phone number, showed them the phone number.
Second man: That’s us!
Second man called third man over.
Second man: She’s looking for a bay leaf tree.
Third man: We don’t have them.
Me: I just called and the lady said you do!
Third man: We have sweet bay trees.
Me: I’ve always known them as bay laurel.
Third man: These are mountain laurel.
Me: I don’t think mountain laurel are edible.
At this point, I held my hand up like “STOP!” and redialed the number. The lady answered.
Me: I just called you about the bay leaf tree. I’m here . . towards the back . . and no one can find them.
Lady: What room are you in?
Me: Shade room.
Lady: Who said we don’t have them?
Me: Three men!
Lady: See the log cabin?
I’m saying to the guys . . where’s the log cabin? They told me.
Me: Yes, I see the log cabin.
She told me to walk towards it and look to my left just before I get to it.
Found them! They are called sweet bay but it says laurus nobilis so the “bay” and “laurus” sounded enough like “bay laurel” that I googled it and found they were exactly what I was looking for.
Two little bay leaf trees. I will take good care of these little treasures. I will not let them freeze. Think how big my tree from KY would be if it had not frozen 20 years ago. Oh well . . can’t change history but I’m so glad to have these trees.
And, they were $12.99, not $16.99 so Vince felt like he was getting a bargain and he was very happy too.
Along with fertilizer, pre-emergent (which I’ve never used before and swore I’d never use but have to do something about the grass burrs), and the bay leaf trees, I just spent 3 months of my “garden supplies” budget. Bad Judy!
Liz (in OK) says
They are beautiful and a great price for the size of them! I am so jealous!
What garden center did you get them at because if it is a chain, I’m going to look for them here in OK. Or maybe even take a trip to Texas in the spring – we can meet in Abilene for lunch!
I once found a herb shop that sold a large bag of the bay leaves for a good price and I have bay leaves in closets and my pantry since the smell is supposed to scare away nasty bugs.
Not to make it more confusing, but there is a California Bay tree too. Umbellularia californica is also known as a Bay Laurel. They grow quite large and the leaves can be used as seasoning, same as its cousin, laurus nobilis.
oh that cracked me up!
Beautiful bargains, I think! That was such a funny story! LOL How smart you were to stop and call her again!
20+ years ago I bought a little bay plant in a 4″ pot. The first few years, I brought it inside during the winter. Once it got bigger and was in the ground, it stayed. Survived some freezes and got over 6 feet tall. When we moved it was one of the plants I was sorry had to stay behind.