The sheep ate mine. I didn't think they would - thought the strong flavour would put them off, but no such luck. The sheep lived to tell the tale. I think the bay may also still be alive. Must so something about sheep-proofing it.
I planted a tiny bay when we came here.
Told the family that it was to be the Biblical symbol of the Family ( Flourishing like the green Bay tree) For years it was a poor insect eaten scrag of a thing.
As a symbol it was an embarrassment.
I forgot about it for years; then 1 day I visited the back of the section & found it had turned into a 30 ft monster.
The family has done much the same.[:0]
I read that the culinary one is good as a mite deterrent in hens nests but unless I hid the chopped leaves under the nesting material the hens avoided those nests. not sure if the mites minded that much.
I was raised with Umbellularia californica, the California bay laurel. It's a beautiful tree and I prefer it to the 'nobel' culinary Laurel for both smell and flavor. Not toxic to stock, but if you park under it too long it will take the paint off the roof of your car. It is having a hard time in California due to disease.
I found a small Laurelis noblis on my property here, buried in overgrown plum trees. Does anyone know if the California variety has been imported to NZ?
It would be a pretty poor cook who didn't notice if their bay leaves were switched with ornamental laurel - laurel leaves are about four times the size and much darker and glossier!
As to culinary uses, they're great chucked in with corned beef when cooking it, or with any other meat you intend to use cold, and if you make salted lemons, (I do) then sticking 3-4 leaves in the jar with the lemons gives them a pleasant touch of bay.
My tree makes suckers, so I find it's very easy to propagate by just digging up a sucker with roots on and potting it up.
The down side to bay trees is their unkillability! Once had one [that a previous owner had planted right on the boundary] begin to lift next door's concrete garage [that my lovely neighbour's previous owner had built right on his boundary]. Chopped the problem bay tree to ground level, and it sprouted back up. Drilled half a dozen holes in the stump and poured neat Banvine into them: that killed about half the suckers. Eventually had to do a major excavation, including shoring up the garage slab, to get rid of the @#$$#%# thing!