Aromatic Aster

This beautiful native aster is a flowering powerhouse from mid-October until it finally settles down in November.  Its three foot long stems can be staked for a startlingly impressive show, or allowed to arch over retiring plants and smother the entire garden in bloom. Their flowers are paler and bluer than 'purple dome' and they have fine foliage that you won't even notice until September. This plant is also a butterfly magnate, a single plant can expect a constant entourage of several monarchs every day. This plant gives the last flowers of the season, and I have made Thanksgiving bouquets from it. The flowers are not scented, but the crushed foliage has a sweet, clean scent that is definitely "aromatic."

There are two common cultivars: 'October skies' and 'Raydon's favorite.' 'October skies' is slightly earlier and bluer, but both are unbelievably gorgeous and easy to grow. This plant rewards all gardeners who can delay gratification until fall.