Continuing our International theme:

Gunnera manicata

Known as Brazilian giant-rhubarb or giant rhubarb, a native to South America from Colombia to Brazil, is a species of flowering plant in the Gunneraceae family and is prolific in its appearance each summer at Minterne Gardens. Unfortunately this is not one of the edible varieties!

The leaves grow to an impressive size with diameters well in excess of 4 ft (122 cm) commonplace, with a spread of 10 ft (3 m) by 10 ft (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 e.g. by the side of garden ponds, but dislikes winter cold and wet. Given our traditional British climate the Gunnera is clearly well suited to our conditions!


Common names hydrangea or hortensia is a genus of 70–75 species of flowering plants native to southern and eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea, the Himalayas, and Indonesia) and the Americas. By far the greatest species diversity is in eastern Asia, notably China, Japan, and Korea. There are two flower arrangements in hydrangeas. Mophead flowers are large round  flowerheads resembling pom-poms or, as the name implies, the head of a mop. In contrast, lacecap flowers bear round, flat flowerheads with a center core of subdued, fertile flowers surrounded by outer rings of showy, sterile flowers. Minterne’s collection of Hydrangeas appear in blue, pink and white – very close to matching the colours of the Union Jack! Purple Hydrangeas also feature here at Minterne – we like to think there may be a spiritual element to these amazing tones!!

The Ancient Tree Forum:

The Ancient Tree Forum’s vision is for ancient and veteran trees, their wildlife, and their heritage and cultural values to be safeguarded now and in the future.  So how do we know if a tree is ancient, and where can we find ancient trees? We have every hope that during their visit to Minterne in July they will find some old and new trees in the Arborial “department”; amongst which are Metasequoia Glyptostroboides (the Dawn Redwood), with a very fluted buttress type trunk typical of the species when grown from seed, but not when vegatively propagated. It is supposed to be one of the oldest known forms of tree, as it has been found in fossils some 3 million years ago; it was thought to be extinct until some seed was found in Western China in 1947. The Minterne specimen was planted in 1949.

Joining the Dawn Redwood is a Weeping Beech, Cedrus Atlantica Glauca (the Silver Cedar) and a Cedar of Lebanon, with the Cupressus Macrocarpa, the Monterey Cypress, which was introduced from California in 1838. A small grove of Chamaecyparis Lawsoniania or Lawson Cypress, which is a native of Oregon and NW California.

Visit Minterne and walk under the dappled shade provided by these wonderful trees this summer and let us know your thoughts below:




GUNNERA – Courtesy of Jeremy Walker

HYDRANGEAS – Courtesy of Maureen Panchen

WEEPING BEECH – Courtesy of Ray Abraham


Gardens Open Daily
10am – 6pm    *    1st February to 8th November    *    Admission Price £6.00 (Children under 12 Free)
Season Tickets Available Here

Dogs welcome on leads    *    Parking is FREE for visitors in the car park opposite St Andrews Church    *    Minterne currently offers a selection of cream teas (weather permitting - please phone ahead to confirm)    *    Please note: Unfortunately, Minterne Gardens feature many uneven surfaces and are therefore NOT SUITABLE for wheelchairs    *    Minterne House itself is a private residence and therefore not open to the public without prior consent.