As well as providing a background for plants in the borders, climbers and wall shrubs bring us colour and often fragrance too. The still conditions close to a wall or fence help ensure that scent hangs in the air, so we appreciate it more fully. This choice of mostly evergreen Award of Garden Merit (AGM) climbers and wall shrubs from across the seasons provides a range of appealing scents as well as attractive flowers.
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This twining not-quite-evergreen climber has elliptical, dark green leaves that develop bluish tints at the end of the summer and into autumn. Through the summer, curved pink buds open to fragrant orange flowers creating unusual two-tone clusters of flowers. Red berries sometimes follow and are popular with birds. Height to 4m (13ft), RHS hardiness rating H5.
Choisyas are known for their long flowering season, their citrus scented clusters of flowers and the cover that their dense evergreen foliage provides for nesting birds. But recent hybrids, including ‘Aztec Pearl’, add a delicacy of leaf that significantly improves the overall look of the plant. Best in full sun, it blooms in late spring and again in summer and autumn. 2.4m (8ft), RHS hardiness rating H4.
This is a delightful self-clinging climber but also a vigorous one. From midsummer almost to winter, sprays of dainty, pale yellow bells open with a fragrance reminiscent of cowslips that can fill the garden. It make a great deal of growth so needs plenty of space, though can be pruned back in spring. Can be allowed to climb into a tree, and on stout fence as support. Height to 6m (20ft), RHS hardiness rating H5.
We don’t always think of camellias as scented, or as needing a wall or fence, but this lovely plant gives its best with a little protection from a wall - and it also takes more sun than many camellias. In autumn, the fragrant, pink-tinted white flowers are beautifully shown off by the glossy, dark green foliage. Height to 3m (10ft), RHS hardiness rating H4.
The fragrance of this prolific deciduous shrub develops its power in the evening and at night so is best planted near where you sit out on a summer or autumn evenings. The clusters of tubular yellow flowers are followed by purple berries. Best on a sunny wall, but may still be cut back in winter although it re-grows from the base. Height to 2m (6.5ft), RHS hardiness rating H3.
Dark, leathery, rhododendron-like foliage shows off the clusters of creamy, well-scented flowers which open in loose clusters in the shoot tips in spring and early summer. Can outgrow its space when happy, but fierce winters may cut it back. Prune thoughtfully after flowering, especially if frosted, cutting back to new shoots. Height to 4m (13ft), RHS hardiness rating H4.
Unjustly passed over by many gardeners, this deciduous shrub features impressive rich, purplish red autumn foliage which follows its long, drooping spikes of fragrant white flowers in early summer. Cut out some of the oldest growth each year, as the younger shoots produce the best flowers and richest autumn colour. Height to 2m (6.5ft), RHS hardiness rating H5.
Magnolia grandiflora is a dramatic and imposing evergreen tree: the problem is that it can reach 18m and may wait some years after planting before it blooms. ‘Kay Parris’ makes a much smaller plant, and opens its huge, white spicily lemon scented flowers when still young. Best on a sunny wall, but takes some shade. Height to 2m (6.5ft), RHS hardiness rating H5.
This twining evergreen features clusters of heavily scented white flowers, fading to cream, and set against dark glossy foliage which develops bronze tints in winter. Once grown in conservatories but now proven hardier than was thought and so becoming popular. Easily pruned in early spring to keep to the size needed. The variegated form, ‘Variegatum’, also has an AGM. Height to 6m (20ft), occasionally more, RHS hardiness rating H4.
This vigorous deciduous shrub with dark, neatly pointed, aromatic foliage needs a sunny wall to flower well but given that and any reasonable well-drained soil is usually covered with a profusion of 15cm spikes of fragrant, lilac-blue flowers in September and October. Best pruned back to a framework each spring 3m (10ft), RHS hardiness rating H5.