I bought this hybrid aster - Monch - at the end of the growing season when plants were on sale. I have been really pleased with it. The plants I bought started blooming in September but according to the internet, they will bloom in mid-summer next year and continue on into the fall. They have not been affected by the light frosts we have had so far, and I will see next week, when real frost is the order of the night, how they will manage. The flowers are larger than most asters - about 1 1/2 to 2" across and the colour is well reproduced in the photo. The lavender colour looks very well against the fallen leaves . Next year, I will pinch them back as they are tall and prone to flopping and I should get a really nice display of blooms. Zone 5, full sun is best, and well-drained soil especially in the fall.
As a postcript to Sandy, my sister who lives in New York City never lost power during the storm, but my mother in Quebec lost power for 26 hours.