Symphyotrichum oblongiflolium var. angustatus ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ has been named the 2016 Plant of the Year by The Garden Club of America (GCA). Annually since 1995, the GCA has identified a stellar North American native plant to receive its Montine McDaniel Freeman Medal: GCA Plant of the Year to highlight underutilized, but highly worthy, trees, shrubs, ground covers, vines and perennials.
Aster ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ is a cultivar named in the 1980’s and recognized for its marked improvement over most better known asters by presenting a more compact form, fragrance and a dazzling bright blue-purple flower with a yellow center in the fall. Ranging from zones 3 to 9, this cultivar can be grown in almost any sunny or partial shady location as it is tolerant of wind, heat, pollution, and soil compaction, and resistant to diseases, including powdery mildew, deer, rabbits, rodents and insects. While the aromatic compounds of this aster may make it resistant to wildlife, it is a pollinator plant attracting hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects. Commonly referred to as the aromatic aster, ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ lives up to its name as when brushed against, the plant releases a nice hint of mint. Named by Allen Bush after plantsman Raydon Alexander of San Antonio, Texas, this cultivar is believed to be originally from Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.–by the Garden Club of America.
NewTerrain February 15, 2016.