I’ve told this story on here before but every time I pass by this bay leaf tree, I say “thank you”. Vince thinks I’m crazy but this little tree had to fight hard to survive and it made it.
I can’t even remember how I ended up with it but I had a bay leaf tree when I lived in Louisiana. It was in a pot and I moved it around from house to house. Winters didn’t get cold enough for it to die but then we moved to Kentucky. I brought it in on cold nights until one night I forgot. They are supposed to be ok down to 20 degrees but one night, it got really cold, apparently colder than 20 degrees, and I forgot to bring it in and it died. I was so sad because it had been with me for at least 10 years. Vince said “We’ll get another one” but we couldn’t find one. I looked everywhere around Owensboro, KY and Evansville, IN. We were in Nashville once and tracked down a big nursery, called and no, they didn’t have one.
When we lived in MO the first time, I was always looking for one and couldn’t find it. In Texas, someone told me they thought a nursery in Abilene had them so I called. They did and we made a trip to Abilene and bought two.
I pampered and babied them and they grew. I repotted them several times, I kept them in the greenhouse through the winter but one of the trees looked like it wasn’t going to make it. It kept looking worse and worse. I did everything I could to revive it but it finally looked and felt totally dead. I tossed it outside the greenhouse. That spring, I wanted the pot for something else so I dumped the dead trunk, the roots and the dirt out, washed the pot, sprayed it with Clorox and left it out in the sun for a week or so. A few days later, I picked up the debris from the “dead” tree and threw it on the burn pile.
Maybe a month later, I walked by the burn pile, which thankfully hadn’t been burned because we always had a burn ban there, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw something green. I looked and that dead bay leaf tree was growing! I grabbed it, sprayed it with water, cut it back to about 10″, got the old pot it had been in and repotted it. I kept it on the back porch so I could watch it every day. It began to grow and now, it’s about up to my shoulders. It totally caught up with the other tree! I can only tell them apart because the one that I cut back has that weird look where it was cut back.
Every time I walk by it, I can’t believe how close it was to being gone and now it’s a beautiful, healthy, totally recovered tree. I do have the two trees and I’ve given away probably 20 or more cuttings from these two trees so they hopefully have lots of offsprings around Texas and Missouri.
They are so heavy that Vince can hardly pick them up. I’ve asked him if he would build a little wagon (of sorts) that they can both fit in and on the nights when the temps are going to be too low for them to stay out, we can roll them into the garage. Vince struggled to get them into the garage this winter and as they get bigger and we get older, we don’t need to be lifting them.
I do love the bay leaf trees.