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Skimmia: A plant for all seasons

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by The Joy of Plants • Friday September 9, 2016

Garden plants and music – there is a school of thought that believes that plants respond to music – in fact famously one of Britain's most prestigious orchestras has performed to a rather unusual audience, row upon row of plants! The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed a three-hour recital with 33 musicians.  In front of them were more than 100 different varieties of plants and shrubs in an attempt to see whether the music helps them grow!   

Of course, many people think this is all nonsense, especially when it comes to plants responding to music. But ‘mumbo-jumbo’ or not, why not create your own garden symphony?  Forget Vivaldi, we have a plant for Four Seasons for you - Throughout the year this shrub will bring you pleasure.  So, for a four season symphony, plant skimmia in September!

Four seasons

In spring the colourful buds appear and skimmias pulls out all the stops. Many small flowers appear and spread a delicious, fresh, sweet spring scent. The leathery leaves of the skimmia remain beautifully green and in summer they play the perfect ‘second fiddle’ back up your summer blooms. From August, skimmias start to show their wares and by autumn the plant is without doubt the lead violinist featuring fabulous flower buds or berries. In winter skimmia is the one of the ‘leads’ of the garden - beautiful berries nestling among lush leaves really do have a jewel-like quality and plants bearing them can be used on patios and balconies and in cool conservatories to add to the festive decorations. Why not take the opportunity at Christmas to choose an elegant pot and give a skimmia as a perfect gift?

Our Top Picks

  • Skimmia japonica reevesiana -  A compact, dwarf, evergreen shrub with crimson red fruits that stay on the plant throughout winter and are especially seasonal in December.
  • Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ - The red-margined leaves and dark red flower buds provide stacks of visual interest in autumn and winter.
  • Skimmia japonica ‘Fructo Albo’ - for gorgeous white berries this is a winner!


Visit your local garden centre to browse the range on offer, but do check if male and female are required for berries on the plants you have chosen.  Alternatively choose a hermaphrodite plant (male and female organs), which means that it will bear berries as a single plant which is a real asset when choosing a plant for a gift.


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1 comment

  • Van W. Van W. i would like to be able to include an image of Skimmia with my comment. thanks.
    Friday September 12, 2014 at 23:53

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