Plant of the Week: Raydon’s Favorite aromatic aster

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Author: 
Erika Harvey
Asters are one of the iconic flowers you see at the High Line in the fall. Raydon’s Favorite aromatic aster is a cultivar that produces prolific purple and yellow blooms that shouldn’t be missed. Photo by Patrick Cullina
 

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees — each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line’s rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today.

This week we share with you one of our gardeners’ current favorites.

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Writing about wild asters in his journal, Henry David Thoreau noted: "How ever unexpected are these later flowers! You thought that Nature had about wound up her affairs. You had seen what she could do this year, and had not noticed a few weeds by the roadside, or mistook them for the remains of summer flowers now hastening to their fall; you thought you knew every twig and leaf by the roadside; and nothing more was to be looked for there: and now to your surprise, the ditches are crowded with millions of little stars."

As Thoreau observed, asters flourish in the cooler months of fall, blooming with surprising color as other flowers are winding down. Like tartarian aster, Raydon’s Favorite aromatic aster blooms in the autumn with delicate purple-petalled flowers with yellow centers, which resemble daisies. Raydon’s Favorite differs in its form, with the plant having a bushy, mounded shape whose surface eventually fills completely with flowers.

Raydon’s Favorite aromatic aster, Aster oblongifolius 'Raydon's Favorite,' is a native of the southern United States. Its foliage is aromatic, giving off a scent of mint when brushed, and its flowers are a favorite of pollinators, making it popular with home gardeners looking to incorporate wildflowers.

WHERE TO SEE THIS PLANT
On the High Line between Gansevoort and West 15th Streets, and West 17th and West 21st Streets

Download our October Bloom Guide.