New England Aster
When Ontario roadsides and fields turn purple and gold in the fall, this Aster is the purple.Loved by gardeners and pollinators alike, the blooms appear in September and continue to offer up bright colours, pollen and nectar for weeks. Left to their own devices, these will self seed exuberantly, but I haven’t found individual plants to be prone to spreading at a noticeable rate once they reach a mature size of about 24” across. Height is between 30" and 48” in my gardens, although I’ve seen them get taller and floppier in rich soil and/or with irrigation. If they are planted without neighbours, they have a tendency to lean over as they come into full bloom, weighed down by the abundance of their own blossoms. Like most plants still close to their wild roots, these are happy to grow mixed in with other species that enjoy similar growing conditions -goldenrod being an obvious physically, ecologically and aesthetically, supportive companion species. They are perfectly happy in average to dry growing conditions and prefer full sun, or at least 6 hours per day, to set maximum bloom.Hugely popular with pollinators in general, the patch of these in my postage stamp urban front yard literally hums every fall, especially with bumble bees, a colony that is now into its fourth season and seeming to become more abundant each year.These continue to feed wildlife into the winter, with finches and redpolls especially enjoying the seeds.