Sweet bay tree, Laurus nobilis, is a tender perennial that grows to about 25 feet. A sweet bay tree may be hard to find and expensive. Be sure that you purchase Laurus nobilis becausenot all so-called bay trees are safe for culinary purposes. In Minnesota, bay is grown in pots kept outside in summer and brought in during winter, preferably near a warm, sunny window. In spring, gradually harden it off to outside conditions. Bay leaf is one of the ingredients in "bouquet garni" (along with parsley and thyme) used to flavor soups, stews, and sauces. The leaf is also used alone in many soup or stew recipes.