Scented Clematis and Scented Climbing Plants


scented clematis

Scented Clematis and Scented Climbing Plants

To have a colourful garden is one thing, but the added pleasure of scented plants adds another even more pleasing aspect. Scents and perfumes are often remembered long after the vision of a garden has been forgotten.

The best-known scented plants are undoubtedly roses – particularly the more old-fashioned varieties such as the Pemberton Musks – and there are lots of superb climbing varieties to choose from. Rosa ‘Kathleen Harrop’ and R. ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ are both thornless with flowers in varying shades of pink, Thanks to their Bourbon parentage both of them have a wonderful perfume. They are also excellent hosts for clematis, as their lack of thorns makes the pruning of both plants much less painful.

Rosa ‘Mme Alfred Carriere’ is the classic rose for growing over and around a cottage door. It too is almost thornless (perhaps the reason it was originally chosen), and its white, slightly pink-flushed flowers have an exquisite perfume, This rose is also a wonderful host for clematis; it is seldom out of bloom, and blue clematis varieties such as Clematis ‘Lady Northcliffe’ give the rose just that little bit of extra sparkle.

Clematis in general are not among the most highly scented of plants, There is only one of the large-flowered hybrids that can make such a claim, Clematis ‘Fair Rosamund’ is supposed to have the scent of wild violets, but this may be more a case of wishful thinking than of hard fact. Some of the scented clematis species, notably C. flammula, and varieties such as C. X triternato ‘Rubro-Marginata’, have a very good perfume that also wafts in the air. On a warm summer’s evening, a single specimen of C.flammula can fill the garden with a delicious vanilla aroma. The herbaceous C. recta exudes a sweet honey scent that attracts vast numbers of insects, especially butterflies and the beneficial hoverflies. whose larvae devour huge quantities of greenfly. This species and its varieties grow to only 3 ft (1 m) in height, but can spread out to about the same width.

Of all the scented climbing plants, by far the best and the most reliable is the honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.). The many varieties of our common native honeysuckle L. periclymenum take a lot of beating. Given a good sunny position, they will fill the garden with the scents of a traditional English summer. Probably the most highly scented of all the honeysuckles is L. x americana. A cross between the European species L. caprifolium and L. etrusca, it provides a spectacular show of flowers in mid-summer,and the wonderful perfume is fully airborne.


26. September 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Climber Plants | Tags: | Comments Off on Scented Clematis and Scented Climbing Plants

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