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Skimmia The best one for containers in winter and spring is Skimmia japonica, which produces clusters of fragrant, white or pink-tinted spring flowers opening from red buds.
Skimmia can tolerate periods of drought if grown in open ground, although they prefer a shadier spot as the hot sun can turn their leathery leaves yellow.
Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' is a widely sold male with bright red flower buds.
However, there are some self-fertile varieties such as skimmia 'Temptation' and gaultheria 'Bell's T Seedling' if you've only room for one.
Expert tip: Most varieties need male and female flowers but skimmia reevesiana can produce without a mate
Gather various foliages from your garden such as ivy, viburnums, pine, seneccio, holly, skimmia, hebe and eucalyptus.
BEST OF THE BUNCH Skimmia In a container display or border, skimmia is an invaluable small evergreen shrub providing winter interest with its red flower buds or big red berries.
It was the skimmia - planted there to add form to the ivy, carex and bergenia nestling with it in a magnificent combination.
Harris also suggests holly and Skimmia japonica because of their festive red berries, and boxwood, hydrangea, lavender, rosemary, and the leaves and berries of other kinds of eucalyptus.
Good candidates include Skimmia 'Rubella',' violas and winter-flowering pansies, which should flower until the worst weather hits but will re-emerge to bloom again in spring.
3 EXTEND THE SEASON A LARGE skimmia, which is an evergreen shrub with clusters of attractive flowers and berries, makes a great focal point.
Skimmia is a gentle evergreen shrub with masses of emerald oval leaves and berries.