Summer plants of interest

Discover the fascinating facts and details about some of our rare and historic plants.

Our summer plants of interest form part of 100 plants of interest identified as part of our centenary celebrations. You can pick up a map and guide at the gardens and look for the numbered markers to help you identify the plants that are of current interest.

Download the map and guide here.


Summer plants of interest

  • 37 - Catalpa bignonoides "Aurea" (Indian Bean Tree)

    Known as the Golden Indian Bean Tree, this is a stunning ‘must have’ ornamental tree, with large floppy heart shaped leaves emerging as pale green, then firming up to a beautiful butter yellow, greening up a little in summer. In autumn the leaves are back to a delicious golden yellow. The Golden Bean Tree tends to have a lower crown than the green leaved form and can spread to about 4 metres wide.  White flowers with orange and purple marking appear in conical panicles in late summer, followed by long bean like seed pods up to 20cm in length, which turn brown when they mature.

  • 38 - Cytisus battandierii (Pineapple broom)

    Named after the French pharmacist and botanist, Jules Aime Battandier, who was an authority in Northwest African plants from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, this broom was introduced into European horticulture in the early 1920s. Commonly known as the Pineapple Broom, this medium sized deciduous shrub is native to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Despite its exotic appearance, it is hardy in the UK. It has a rounded habit, with leaves composed of three elliptic leaflets, which are silky when young. Light yellow pea-like flowers open in June, bearing a potent fragrance which is reminiscent of pineapples. According to records, a specimen of this wonderful shrub was first planted at Furzey Gardens in 1934.

  • 39 - Eucryphia nymansinensis "Nymansay"

    ‘Nymansay’ is an attractive, broadly columnar quick growing evergreen tree with glossy, dark green leaves and is a cross between Eucryphia cordifolia and Eucryphia glutinosa. Glowing white rose-like flowers, 6cm across with yellow stamens, cover the tree in late summer and autumn, attracting hoverflies and bees. This tree has a reputation for being tender, but it is generally hardy in the south of the UK and it does really well in the warm shelter and fertile humus rich soil of Furzey Gardens. It is recorded that a specimen was originally first planted in the gardens in 1933.

  • 40 - Catalpa ovata

    A tree originally from China with wide spreading branches, the Chinese Catalpa has upright panicles of foxglove-like, pale yellowish-white flowers in mid to late summer. The leaves are large, pale green and handsome and have a particular smell when crushed. The bark is grey brown and peels in long, narrow plates and the hard wood of the twigs breaks easily. Eye-catching seed pods may sometimes follow the flowers, but these may only be seen after a particularly hot summer.

Eucryphia nymansinensis "Nymansay" and Catalpa bignonoides "Aurea" (Indian Bean Tree)
  • 41 - Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ostrich fern, Shuttlecock fern)

    This wonderful deciduous shuttlecock fern is at its most beautiful when the large, pale green, lacy fronds start to unfurl and filter the sunlight. It is one of the best foliage plants for areas of moist, dappled shade and works particularly well planted in groups in our pond and woodland areas here at Furzey, contrasting with the colours and shapes of hostas, candalabra primulas and the white bark of our birch trees. The dainty fronds emerge from the top of a short stem to form an open, pale-green shuttlecock of beautiful lacy design. In the winter you may find dark brown fossil-like fruiting fronds left behind, decorative in the garden.

  • 42 - Crinodendron hookerianum (Chilean Lantern Tree)

    Introduced to the UK in 1848 by Cornish plant hunter William Lobb, this is a native of Chile where it can be found growing near streams and in very humid and shady places. It bears lantern shaped, crimson to deep carmine-pink flowers, suspended from the underside of its branches from May to August, hence its common name of the Chilean Lantern Tree. A beautiful ornamental evergreen shrub or small tree, this award winning lantern tree is perfect for a partially shady woodland garden with humus rich acid soil. This particular specimen dates back to 1936.

  • 43 - Sophora japonica (Japanese pagoda tree)

    Commonly known as the Japanese pagoda tree, this Sophora is a large deciduous tree up to 25metres tall, with a rounded low branched habit. It originates from Japan and has mid green pinnate leaves (leaves arranged either side of a stem, like a feather) and fragrant creamy white pea like clusters of flowers produced in panicles in late summer. In a sunny summer, these are followed by long hanging yellowish bean like pods and in the autumn months, the foliage turns an impressive golden yellow. The open structure of twisting branches that makes up the crown looks beautiful when bare, offering architectural and decorative value during the winter months.

  • 44 - Acer nipponicum

    Acer nipponicum is an architectural looking maple tree growing up to 20 metres tall, originating from Japan. Its leaves are rough and deeply veined and can be more than palm sized with the young stems a striking green colour. Commonly known as the Nippon Maple, the trunk has smooth grey brown bark and the tree produces ornamental winged fruits that hang in long pendulous racemes. It prefers moist humus rich soil and to avoid the foliage being burnt by the sun and wind, it is best to position the tree where it will receive dappled shade and shelter.

  • 45 - Tetracentron sinense

    Tetracentron sinense, also known as the Spur leaf, is similar in appearance to a Cercidiphyllum (Katsura Tree) with alternate, elongated, heart shaped leaves. A rare, graceful small tree native to parts of Central and Western China, it was first introduced to the West in 1901 by the famous plant hunter Ernest Wilson. The leaves emerge with red tints in spring, mature to dark green in summer and turn an attractive shade of red in autumn. Tiny, yellowish-green, wind-pollinated slender catkins 10 to 15 cm long are produced in June and July.

Tetracentron sinense and Crinodendron hookerianum
  • 46 - Stewartia pseudocamellia (Deciduous camellia)

    A native of Japan, where it is known as the summer camellia, natsu-tsubaki, this small deciduous tree is, like the Camellia, a member of the Theaceae or tea family. It has multi season interest, the cupped camellia-like white flowers appear in May and June, the dark green, ovate leaves turn glowing shades of orange and red in autumn, and the lovely peeling bark, that varies in shades of grey, green and brown, can be appreciated all year round. we have both a young specimen (flowers at eye level) and a more mature specimen, here at Furzey Gardens.

  • 47 - Leptospermum scoparium (Manuka, Tea tree)

    Originating from New Zealand and a member of the myrtle family, this lovely leptospermum is an evergreen shrub with beautiful, tiny, scented leaves (when crushed) and abundant flowers, like small roses in shades of white and pink, in late spring and summer. It produces an essential teatree oil known to be antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral. The flowers are attractive to bees, which can produce Manuka honey from the blooms. This honey is prized for its health benefits, including its antibacterial and antifungal properties and anti-inflammation qualities. Leptospermum scoparium enjoys acidic well drained soil in full sun or partial shade and is deer resistant.

  • 48 - Orchis mascula (Early purple orchid)

    More commonly named as the Early Purple Orchid, this is the first of the native British orchids to flower each year, flowering from April to June. It is still fairly common and widespread in the UK and Ireland, grows to around 45cm tall and has shiny, dark green leaves, marked with large dark purple spots. The flowers are usually magenta, however occasionally white and pale pink flower spikes can be found. When first in bloom the flowers have a wonderful scent, not dissimilar to Lily-of-the-Valley tinged with blackcurrant, but as the flowers fade, they start to reek! Did you know that there is a dizzying array of local names for the Early Purple Orchid? These include adder’s meat, red butchers, goosey ganders, kecklegs, kettle cases and kite’s legs.

  • 49 - Cornus kousa Miss Satomi (Pink flowering dogwood)

    This flowering dogwood has superb, large, petal-like white bracts surrounding yellow-tipped, green flowers in early summer. The mid-green leaves have an elongated-oval shape with a pointed tip and are often described as having a ‘wavy’ edge, perfect for adding texture to any garden. In autumn, Cornus florida provides further seasonal interest with the foliage turning vibrant shades of red and purple with ornamental fruits sometimes making an appearance. This Cornus tree will grow to just 3 x 3 metres in 20 years, making it an ideal choice of ornamental tree for smaller spaces. It will thrive in all soils and prefers a sunny or partly shaded position.We have records showing that a specimen of this cornus was first planted at Furzey Gardens in 1934, costing 5 shillings!

  • 50 - Cornus florida

    This flowering dogwood has superb, large, petal-like white bracts surrounding yellow-tipped, green flowers in early summer. The mid-green leaves have an elongated-oval shape with a pointed tip and are often described as having a ‘wavy’ edge, perfect for adding texture to any garden. In autumn, Cornus florida provides further seasonal interest with the foliage turning vibrant shades of red and purple with ornamental fruits sometimes making an appearance. This Cornus tree will grow to just 3 x 3 metres in 20 years, making it an ideal choice of ornamental tree for smaller spaces. It will thrive in all soils and prefers a sunny or partly shaded position.We have records showing that a specimen of this cornus was first planted at Furzey Gardens in 1934, costing 5 shillings!

Common spotted orchid and Cornus kousa 'Miss Satomi'
  • 51 - Deutzia x hybrida "Magicien"

    This beautiful deutzia is a bushy, elegant deciduous shrub that produces an amazing flower display in late spring and early summer. Long, arching fountain-like branches hold sprays of large, fragrant, creamy white starry flowers, heavily flushed with dark pink, during early summer. It is deer resistant, low maintenance and easy to grow, so ideal for an early summer garden border. It prefers moist well-drained soil in sun or part shade. It grows to 1.8m with a spread of 1.2m.

  • 52 - Cornus kousa var. chinensis (Kousa dogwood)

    This flowering Chinese dogwood is a real showstopper of a tree, with two main seasons of interest. Broadly conical in shape, it produces tiny green flowers in June, which are surrounded by showy, creamy white, petal-like bracts which fade to lovely shades of pink as they age. In autumn the dark green leaves turn crimson purple and mature trees produce strawberry like fruits which are edible although they do not taste very nice! This is an excellent specimen tree for a small garden or woodland edge. We have a specimen of Cornus kousa here dating back to 1934.

  • 53 - Stewartia sinensis (Chinese stewartia)

    Long lasting displays of white summer flowers, brightly coloured smooth flaking bark and brilliant autumn colour give the Stewartias interest for many months of the year and a specimen of this Chinese stewartia was first planted at Furzey Gardens in 1937. This small tree, as the name suggests, originates from China and has bright green oval leaves which turn red in autumn. The red-brown bark flakes to light grey or pale greenish cream and lovely fragrant white flowers, 5cm across with yellow antlers, are produced in summer. This tree enjoys a neutral to acid soil in well drained soil, with shelter from cold winds.

  • 54 - Genista aetnensis (Mount Etna broom)

    This is an original specimen of Mount Etna Broom, which we believe was first planted here in the gardens in 1932! From mid to late summer, the slender arching branches of this elegant small tree/large shrub are wreathed in small bright yellow flowers, which are wonderfully scented, followed by pods containing 2-3 seeds. Endemic to Sicily and Sardinia where it is associated with sunny, open landscapes and poor, stony soil, its graceful habit enhances its value as a specimen plant.

  • 55 - Tilia henryana

    Tilia henryana was originally found in China and was named after the Irish plantsman Augustine Henry in 1888. A number of years passed and it was not until 1901 that plant hunter Ernest Wilson introduced it to the west. This beautiful lime is a small/medium size tree that has a graceful appearance and its slow growing and upright habit make it a perfect candidate for a garden tree. The pale ovate, heart shaped serrated leaves create a lovely free flowing canopy, that gradually turns golden yellow in the autumn. Tilia henryana can put on a second flush of leaves in late summer, which can appear silvery pink in colour which can really stand out against the dark green of the mature leaves. Clusters of fragrant creamy-white flowers appear in late summer.

  • 56 - Gunnera manicata (Brazilian giant-rhubarb or Giant rhubarb)

    Gunnera manicata, known as Brazilian giant-rhubarb or giant rhubarb, is a species of flowering plant in the family Gunneraceae from Brazil. You will need a large area to grow this fantastic architectural plant as it can spread quickly and take up large amounts of space – 250,000 seeds can be produced from one single plant! Despite the common name “giant rhubarb”, this plant is not closely related to true rhubarb. It was named after a Norwegian bishop and naturalist Johan Ernst Gunnerus, who also named and published a description about the basking shark! It is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial growing to 2.5 m tall by 4 m or more, with the leaves growing to an impressively giant size. Leaves with diameters well in excess of 120 cm are commonplace, with a spread of 3 m × 3 m on a mature plant. The underside of the leaf and the whole stalk have spikes on them. In early summer it bears tiny red-green flowers in conical branched panicles, followed by small, spherical fruit. This plant grows best in damp conditions, but dislikes winter cold and wet, so the damp sheltered areas near our pond are ideal.

  • 57 - Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Common spotted orchid)

    More commonly known as the Common Spotted Orchid, this deciduous tuberous perennial is a common species of orchid that is widespread across much of Europe, with the range extending eastwards into Siberia, Mongolia and Xinjian. It grows in many different habitats, including woodland, roadside verges, hedgerows, old quarries, sand dunes and marshes, sometimes so many flowers appear together that they can carpet an area with their delicate pale pink spikes. It is in bloom between June and August.

  • 58 - Dactylorhiza praetermissa (Marsh orchid)

    With a complicated Latin name for such a little flower, Dactylorhiza praetermissa, the southern marsh orchid or leopard marsh orchid, is a commonly occurring species of European orchid, widely distributed in the southern half of the UK. Known to put on a show along riversides and in wet meadows, this purpley-pink orchid can often be found in large groups. The leaves are generally unmarked and the flowers vary considerably in colour from pale to dark pink. The markings on the lips of the flowers also vary considerably. It flowers between May and July and is pollinated by a variety of insects, and can hybridise with the Common Spotted Orchid which can make it confusing to identify.

  • 59 - Herbaceous plants and Half Hardy Perennials

    Herbaceous perennials are those that die down to the ground each year, but whose roots remain alive and send up new top growth each year. Examples of these are salvias, penstemons, gauras, cone flowers (echinacea) and Michealmas daisies . Half hardy perennials are more tender and cannot cope so well with winter wet and cold, and may be killed by frost. These include tuberous plants like dahlias, where some protection is needed, particularly in cold or wet winters. We have many of both types at Furzey Gardens which, combined with colourful annuals such as poppies and calendulas and biennials such as honesty and echiums, provide a beautiful display from early summer until well into autumn.