Superstar skimmia

There are some plants that every garden should have, they are simply so rewarding. In my view, the Skimmia is one of them, especially here in Denmark where our dark northern winters seem to stretch to more than half the year.

These plants have flower heads that remain tightly packed through the winter with a delicate pink blush, bursting open at this time of year in a mass of flower heads. We have had this one in a pot by our front door all year. 

What you can’t see in this photo is of course the fantastic spicy scent. On a slightly humid April evening it wafts along the garden paths. If I could I would create and wear a perfume like it. Absolutely glorious and there are often bees and other insects buzzing about it so clearly it’s very attractive to pollinators too. 

I have cut a few sprigs and put them in a vase in the house where they are again mildly perfuming the air. I liked this combination with another of my superstar plants, Cornus Alba, Red dogwood about to blossom outside and therefore definitely ready for some pruning. The other plant is I think some kind of flowering current, it has rather unobtrusive pale green flowers which pollinators again seem to like, but no real scent. 

We have several different skimmia said in the garden, the remainder are smaller, their flowers seem to miss the pinkish accents and I don’t detect such a strong scent, so this could be a specific variety, perhaps Skimmia Japonica ‘fragrans’ (fragrant cloud).

They don’t seem to like full sun though and as our large pot is now getting a great deal of sun (finally, as the sun gets higher), it will soon be time to move it in to the partial shade for the summer and find something else to bring joy to the front step. 

The only mystery with Skimmias is where on earth are all the female plants? They have attractive red berries through winter, but I have rarely seen them for sale here. The pannicles of buds seem to be the preferred decorative option. I have exactly the right spot for a red-berried shrub, so I shall keep looking… 


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