It only LOOKS like a banana / Bay Laurel questions…

It only LOOKS like a banana / Bay Laurel questions…

Here are a few pics of two of my backyard residents. I picked this up at Buchanan's Native Plants in Houston three years ago. It was labeled as 'Bay Laurel,' but the leaves are huge compared to the little dried ones I've picked up off of the spice rack. I'm pretty happy with its progress (about 10" a year so far) and I'm hoping to see it flower eventually, but I think it would grow a lot faster if I just put it in the ground. The fragrance from the leaves is just incredible and I cook with it all the time. If anyone can ID it I'd be grateful! Also, any general info on bay laurel care would be great. Here are some shots of my mother's philodendron... This philodendron is at least 25 years old, and it was put in the ground about five or six years ago. It really seems to like the spot its in, and it's flowering for the first time.. ever! The flower pods look like bananas, but I think they're poisonous, right? Should I not put trimmings from this plant in my compost bed?
Dahlias Blooming! Long Entry (sorry gardening gets me excited lately)

Dahlias Blooming! Long Entry (sorry gardening gets me excited lately)

lemon basil versus genovese basil

lemon basil versus genovese basil

Before

Before

A Young Girl’s Garden

A Young Girl’s Garden

apartment pics-rearanging the liv. rm

apartment pics-rearanging the liv. rm

Shhhhh

Shhhhh