The Kitchen Bay, Laurus nobilis, is thought to have been first cultivated in the 17th century, and has been a herb garden essential ever since. These evergreen shrubs have aromatic leaves that are a culinary staple, bringing mouthwatering depth and a rich aroma to everything from soups, stews and curries to Bolognese and roasted or barbecued meats. They''re best when plucked fresh from the bush and simply added to the pot whole and left to infuse. Fresh leaves have a lighter, more floral flavour than dried leaves and can be kept in the fridge. If dried, they have a more intense flavour. They should be removed before serving unless they're ground or chopped. Bays are often grown in pots and respond well to training into topiary shapes. However, their lush, glossy and dense foliage makes them ideal for hedging and they make excellent structural features in formal gardens. They require little more than a light trim in early spring and summer to maintain the desired shape and will happily grow in sun or partial shade in well-drained soil. They're also well suited to coastal locations.
Supplied as an established plant, 80-100 cm tall in a 20cm pot, growing to a height and spread of 10 m (33 ft) if left unpruned