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Tough as old boots and not bad looking if you focus your eyes in a manner that doesn’t expect to be blown away. This problem with Skimmias can also occur if planted in a position which gets too much sun.
Listing every plant we have grown over the past forty years may well include the good the bad and, well I don’t think any are exactly ugly but  I will draw a line at the unwanted, like say, dandelions!
This list is fairly taking shape, have a look at my page (A to Z of our plants) those with a plant title beside the thumbnail opens up to my post on that particular plant. Position your Skimmia in semi shade for best results, although they seem to do pretty well in full shade .add some ericaceous compost to the soil and also top dress with this if it happens to be on the alkaline side. Rubella being the male form will of course not have berries, you will have to plant a female form also if this is what you have in mind. About three months ago we were quite taken by the fact that we spotted a fox in the garden.
I know foxes get bad press and there was a dreadful case not so long ago when a fox entered a house through an open back door and mauled a baby in its cot.
We still couldn’t help ourselves from feeling sorry for him a couple of weeks ago when he turned up thirsty, hungry and badly injured. Hi Larry, it is a new format, I will check out the comment thing, dont think there is a problem. Frances, some plants are always worth taking a chance with, Skimmias always look their best in the garden centres.
Hi b-a-g, wasting food is part of the reason along with the reduced areas for wildlife to thrive.
I love the plant with its buds…I have not grown these but they seem like a good reliable plant.
Hi Alistair, good profile, I have a yellowing skimmia planted far too close to a holly that I am hoping to relocate to near the kitchen garden as the flowers are meant to be good for early pollinators. How interesting that Skimmia, which grows so well in the shade, can produce such lovely berries and flowers. I feel bad that so many of the animals that end up in our urban gardens have basically been pushed out of their wooded environments so they really have nowhere else to go.


Hi Astrid, they don’t produce the berries here in Aberdeen, but still a plant worth having. Not having a lot of shady areas in my garden, I have never grown skimmia, but it looks like a very nice plant.
I’m glad you highlighted this plant, such a reliable and lovely evergreen plant that provides so much structure to any planting border. They have been trying to trap the fox in one of those boxes where the entrance closes when the animal is inside. I agree, Skimmia Japonica is a valuable plant for the garden especially if you live coastal or exposed. I have just potted up 2 others ready for a final position when I decide but I hadn’t realised that they may need some ericaceous compost – eek!
And as for foxes….great to look at in other people’s gardens or in the street, not much fun the 2 years I had a fox family occupying my own garden. Hi Helene,very interesting information about Bowles dwarf, I expect the flower buds in winter are also a reddish colour making quite a show along with the berries. Hi Alistair, we have a Skimmia x Confusa ‘Kew Green’ and the scent from the flowers is just incredible!
The yellowing of the leaves which you see is often an indication that the soil is not quite acidic enough.
They have been grown and pruned to give the very best display of these Winter buds like the one below, I have started taking my camera with me when visiting garden centres. It’s true that we are over-run with foxes in London, I blame it on humans wasting food. My soi ph is so variable I must remember to test the place I want to plant it before I dig it up! I did notice the yellowing of leaves improved with a top dressing of ericaceous compost.I may be a bit freaked out at foxes coming into the house. Alistair, i didn’t understand you in telling me that we have sometimes need to think out of the box. I have 1 that is planted in a North facing position and can get battered by some awful winds yet it still looks pretty darned good and stays evergreen without fail.


The ericaceous compost will make your soil more acidic, I am almost convinced that this is the problem. I’ve just realised int he back of my mind that there is also a Rhododendron near the Skimmia so that may have the same sickly look to it.
It might never set the heart aflutter, but it looks fab in combination with other foliage shapes as your first photo shows.
I guess it could feel quite intimidating opening your door and being faced with a fox a few feet away. Our plants should surely be safely at rest under all this snow and there’ll be no drought for this spring at least, which is a blessing!
I have never pruned any of my skimmias, never really thought about doing that because the Rubellas are quite compact anyway.
I even had one fox walking inside trying to steal the cat food which is placed right inside at the backdoor. I will have to update the post, I dont think I suggested that Rubella has berries, better make sure though. I wondered about the lack of berries on our shrub for a while too until I read somewhere that my Skimmia is missing a male or female counterpart.
Our cities have raccoons and opossums with coyotes on the fringes, any of which I would trade for a fox now and then. I have seen a couple of foxes here in the neighbourhood over the years, but they tend to be very shy and stick to the area just west of us. When you have such a big garden as you have it is easier to leave a fox to it, but with such a small garden as I have you get too close as soon as you step outside, and when the fox isn’t afraid then either the fox or you have to leave, and often it wasn’t the fox! I have only the female version and it gets pollinated by the male Rubella which is placed next to it.



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