It’s the final day of our Christmas Apothecary’s Advent – happy Christmas!
We’re ending with bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) the herb of the Oracle of Delphi, who used to eat a leaf before making her prophecies. It was associated with protection (people wore it to avoid getting struck by lightning!), cleansing, and prophecy.
Garlands of laurels were awarded for athletic and scholastic achievements and today, a tradition which continues for Grand Prix race winners.
Tradition has it that if you want to ensure that an unwanted guests never returns to your home, you should sweep their steps to the door and burn bay leaves to fumigate your house of their presence!
Bays are easy to grow either in a container or outside, but ensure it is protected against cold winds and frost – we lost our first bay when an especially cold snap blackened the leaves and it died. But it’s a terrific plant for the herb garden and as its evergreen, gives structure and colour year round.