Pictured on your left is an image of the New England aster, known to scientists as Symphyotrichum novae-angliae. I have been seeing these on the roadsides the last week or two, and my sharp-eyed wife correctly identified them as a member of the aster family until I could research the flowers on these here Intarwebs.
The New England aster is native to much of North America east of the Rocky Mountains, and it is quite a hardy perennial. My only goal is to procure some of these flowers from a roadside or a ditch, and then to see how well they can tolerate the paw traffic and restroom proclivities of my dogs. The mums I planted did not fare so well this year, and I am always a sucker for wildflowers that propagate and spread in semi-shady areas.
I would have pulled over and dug myself up some New England asters, but we were attending a wedding in Michigan, and I figured the plants would not appreciate sitting in the car for six hours. That, and I had on a suit - I think it is bad form to arrive at a wedding covered in soil and burrs.