Sunday, September 27, 2009

Trimming The Laurier Sauce

We have a big bay laurel tree in the back corner of our yard. It's called laurier sauce in French, which means that it's edible bay leaves. The big hedge is another variety of laurier, but not edible.

The bay laurel tree before I started trimming.

So we have an endless supply of the most tasty bay leaves I've ever had. We save a good amount of the trimmings each year and dry some for cooking. The rest all get burned. What a shame, because the value of these leaves in the supermarket (especially in the US) is incredible; they are so expensive. And we burn most of ours.

Ken took this one. You can see that the tree is about 3 Walts tall.

All that notwithstanding, I still have to trim the tree each year. And it's big. I actually bought a new ladder a few years ago to help me get to the high parts, but it turns out it's not quite big enough. I spent a couple hours on Thursday teetering up on the ladder trimming this tree. I used my hedge trimmer, of course, but also a pair of loppers for the thicker branches.

Bay laurel with a mohawk!

The most difficult part, other than the top, is a result of the tree's position inside the angle of the larger hedge. I have a real hard time getting the ladder in there to get to the upper branches. It's a real pain to maneuver back there. I don't know how they did it before. I always think that I should just cut the tree down about five feet, but I never end up doing it.

Almost done. I was tired and decided I shouldn't be on the ladder any more.


  1. if you need someone to take them off your hands i'd be more than happy to send you something from normandy in exchange!!! i loooove bay leaves!!!

  2. Ah Walt, I'm realy disappointed that you didn't shape it into a chicken or something. A real topiary opportunity missed. (It would have made a fantastic cockerel.) !!

  3. I'm with Jean. Your workmanship is wonderful, but how about some imagination in the design! ;p

  4. I'm with Jean and Evol Kween, but with don't you trim the bottom part into the shape of a ladder so you can go to the top more easily?

  5. Can't type properly anymore. Of course it was ...but WHY don't you... Sorry!

  6. You do such a great job with your yard! How amazing to have a laurel bush like that. Does it smell great when you burn from it?


  7. I love the bay leaves from that laurel tree! I'm glad you got down off that ladder- maybe the Mayoress will send a cherry picker over to help with the top part next year.

    Are you finished with your yearly trimming now?

  8. I rather like it with the spikes on top.

  9. milkjam, maybe we could work something out!

    jean, you overestimate my clipping skills!

    evol, ditto.

    chm, now there's an idea an engineer could love.

    judy, yes, and it smells great when I'm up in it cutting.

    evelyn, not yet. Still a lot of clipping to do!

    michael, do as I say, not as I do, eh? ;)

  10. Bay laurel is one of my favorite herbs. I make a lot of different stews and bay leaves are also a key ingredient in preserved lemon, used in Moroccan tagines which I'm making a lot these days.


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