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Skimmia Japonica ssp reevesianum - January 12th 

Skimmia japonicum ssp Reevesianum doesn't have to go too far on its annual fling at procreation, for it has both male and female flowers on the same plant (hermaphrodite)! 

 Utopia for those of us who like berried plants, for it means that you simply need one plant. Normally, for successful berrying of the Skimmia group, you need a male and female plant in close proximity. If you have the male plant, tough! (You don't get the berries.)

 A great 'plus' is the fact that birds don't seem to like the berries, so they usually stay on the shrub though until March/April.

Skimmia japonica reevesianum berriesThere are varying ideas as to how high it grows. I know it as a dwarfish mound-for

ming, dense shrub - height to around 60cm (2ft), with a spread of 1.2m (4ft) eventually.  The RHS A-Z Encyclopedia has it at a height of up to 7m with a spr

ead of 90cm. That would need one heck of a cane! (Sorry RHS, it just does not happen that way.)

This evergreen Skimmia will grow in virtually any soil - other than chalk where it will be unhappy; in full sun or partial shade; and is a good ground-cover plant. As you see in this picture, the next crop of berries - by way of new flower buds - is on the way. These will open fully in April/May. 

At the size that I quote, this plant should be able to fit into most gardens without any pruning, but if you have to snip away, then be prepared to lose one season's berries.

Don't eat the berries - they can cause a mild tummy upset.

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