Please can you help me identify this plant. The flowers are soft to touch.
Edit: I retract my opinion on the ID. I think it is Persicaria orientalis as stated in the newer answers. Good catch
Actually, it's not a tree at all, but an herbaceous annual, called Love Lies Bleeding. It's Amaranthus caudatus.
It is a common ornamental plant that lasts only a year, but will frequently reseed itself, and return year after year that way. It can even become an obnoxious weed. It originated in South America, but has spread throughout the many parts of the world.
All parts of the plant are edible, and the leaves can be used as spinach. The seeds can be used in baking.
Here are comparison pics of similar plants:
Without disrepsect for your answer, @J. Musser, This plant is actually Persicaria orientalis, formerly Polygonum orientale as noted by @Mayra, commonly known as "Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate".
Persicaria is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the knotweed family, Polygonaceae. Plants of the genus are known commonly as knotweeds or smartweeds. It has a cosmopolitan distribution, with species occurring nearly worldwide.
General Info with Photos: http://www.anniesannuals.com/plants/view/?id=852