Japanese skimmia (Skimmia japonica)

Well, winter is well and truly here and getting outside is not for the faint hearted. This week’s plant is not unafraid of these cold, dark days, it loves them. While other plants are in hibernation or looking a bit sad, this compact little warrior is getting ready to go into full bloom.

Skimmia japonica is a fragrant, winter-flowering plant which has dark shiny leaves and bright abundant berries. This compact, slow-growing plant reaches a mature height of 1.5m and a spread of about 2m.

You may have seen skimmias in garden centres and supermarkets at this time of year due to the rich festive colours. Do you have a friend who you are looking for gift inspiration for? Some varieties put on such a display that they would make a great living, breathing Christmas present no matter how small the garden.

Where to find it?

The skimmias natural home is the Himalayas and from Asia across to Japan so it is well capable of taking whatever our winter throws at it. It has been used in borders as specimen plants and in containers for many years hue to its ability to survive with little light and water. In fact, too much light can bleach the leaves and loose some of its rich colour so treat it mean and keep it keen!

We planted skimmia japonica along the Greenway in shrub areas around the Connswater Shopping Centre and Mersey Street Bridge. It can also be found in hedges at Dixon Playing Fields and Orangefield Park. Our few remaining birds which have not migrated such as robins will be thankful for the berries and the evergreen leaves which provide some cover and shade.

Be Part of it…

Be like the Skimmia and defy the cold weather by getting out and about on the Greenway! Look out for the Skimmia and any other hardy plants which are putting on a show.