Little Old Lavenders
In our neighborhood, if you are not quick to shear them after bloom, lavenders get big. Five or six feet tall and wide, they eventually split open, exposing a dried out, blackish and woody center. Dead flowers hang on and turn brown. After several years of looking beautiful they can end up ugly, at which time the wise move is to yank them out and plant a fresh one, and hope you can be quick enough to shear that one, instead.
Here is an exception. These lavenders were two of the very first plants I got. They're ten years old and look just as good as they ever did. They are dwarf lavenders, about 12-18" tall and wide, and have been that size for ten years. They bloom once, in spring, and that's it for the year, so probably an L augustifolia hybrid or selection. It might be 'Lady' or 'Little Lady'--I got them so long ago I can't remember. Dwarf lavenders from now on. Too small for rabbit cover. No flopping open to expose their dead centers.
I had many lavenders on the front slope for several years. The fragrance was heavenly, but they did their big woody split-open thing, so I pulled them all out. I continue to get a seedling or two. This one was a seedling:
It came up on the edge of the driveway and has looked really good for a couple of years, with those big purple flower tops, though it is starting to sprawl. Since it's dwarfish, (no rabbit cover!) it may live on for a while. There are two small seedlings nearby, so perhaps they are equally good, equally dwarfish children of this one.
Other seedlings I've grown are far less satisfactory. Here's a big one sprawling down by the pergola, and it doesn't bloom particularly well. I'm glad I took this photo. That thing has got to come out, along with the sad one-cane-wonder rose. I've been trying to get a decent rose out of that for years. It's time to give up.
Sometimes it takes a photograph, out of the context of the garden, to show you what is right in front of your eyes.