Skimmia ‘Rubella’: Will cheer up any garden.
What is it? Gardeners are a demanding bunch. When asked what we’d like out of a new plant, we call for a compact, low-maintenance plant that grows in shade, looks good all year, has fragrant flowers and is wildlife-friendly. Impossible? Thankfully not. An evergreen mound of Skimmia ‘Rubella’, with its red buds in winter opening to fragrant white flowers in April and May, will cheer up any garden. Height and spread 80cm each way.
Plant it with? This is a classic plant for a winter pot arrangement, surrounded by the colourful foliage of heucheras. Grow next to a compact variegated holly such as Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’, or extend the season of scent by partnering it with sweet box, Sarcococca confusa, which flowers from December to March.
And where? Well, I did say it will grow in shade, but skimmias appreciate a touch of brightness – let’s call it partial shade – so don’t plonk it under a leylandii. Make sure the soil is fertile with a pH that is neutral to acid. Mix in lots of organic matter at planting time.
Any drawbacks? Unlike other skimmias, ‘Rubella’ does not produce red berries.
What else does it do? ‘Rubella’ has an RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Buy it Order one 9cm potted plant for £13.99 or two for £17.98 (all prices include free UK mainland p&p). To order, call 0330 333 6856, quoting ref GU185, or visit our Reader Offers page. Delivery April-May.