This flower is several months early, no doubt because this plant knows it is dying and has decided that it must set seed now before it is in such poor condition that it can't set seed at all.
I suspect it has a botrytis blight of some kind. This same condition occurred on one of six of these asters last year, but I stuck my head in the compost bin and ignored it.
There is no ignoring it now with five of six clumps of this aster clearly infected.
Instead, I cut off what looks like the diseased stems or remove the plant.
"Seeing as how" removing a few stems infected last year did nothing and now it is a bigger problem, I no longer think that will work. I'm moving on to the other option. This weekend, I'm digging these asters up and throwing them in the trash.
I'm starting to think about replacements and *gasp*, I'm actually thinking about smaller bluish grasses. We'll see.