The other day, our wonderful gardening neighbor was lamenting the fact that her asters have done nothing this year (probably because everything else has grown so rampantly in this year's rain that the poor things are shaded out--or perhaps they've drowned, as she has actual soil and actually waters her plantings). Looking across the street at our rampaging aromatic aster
Aster oblongifolius, for some reason now renamed Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, a moniker unlikely ever to come into common use), she sighed and noted that our asters have had a good year. And they have.
In truth, our shale barren natives have been so happy that I've had to divide and keep moving the clumps to keep them from choking out everything in their path; they actually out-compete catmint and sedum, though I am hopeful that this young planting of aster, switchgrass, feather grass, and mixed agastache will simply make a nicely interwoven patch of pollinator delights when it matures.
Asters can, indeed, be thugs, but lovely ones. Common New England aster volunteers with abandon in various places (generally doing better than in the places I wanted it to grow), like this specimen that decided that it was a better choice than hummingbird mint and purple coneflower to set off a large "Fireworks" goldenrod. (It was probably right.)