20 years ago when planting the front of our new house nestled in the shade of big White Pine trees we needed a low growing plant that wouldn’t block our view to the garden. We decided on the Japanese Skimmia (Skimmia japonica). This beautiful, broadleaf evergreen has thrived and grown from a 2 gal. container to be a bush that is 3′ x 3′ and only 18″ tall.
It has dark green shiny foliage with red berries on the female plants throughout the winter. We only had to place one male plant in the bed of female plants to guarantee us a generous crop of red berries. The flower of the male plant in the spring is much bigger than the females and is most interesting.
The literature rates Skimmia japonica as a Zone 7 plant, but from my experience, I would give it a safe 6b for I have never had any winter damage. I would not however, expose this plant to drying winter winds in a sunny location for this might cause failure.
Another big bonus to this plant is that it’s not eaten by deer and when rated by Rutgers University it was given the highest rating for deer resistance. It’s truly a four season plant for it always looks good.