Sweet Autumn Clematis – A Fragrant, Evergreen Vine That Grows in Partial Shade

I love the smell of old roses, and I would love to plant them all around my porch–close to where I sit. But my porch doesn’t get much sunshine at all–and every rose needs a lot of sun. In mid-summer, it is too hot to sit outside during the day, but I love to sit outside and sip a glass of wine while I watch the sun wave goodbye to the day. Because I want to smell sweet things wafting through the air while I do this, I began looking for another fragrant plant that would work around my porch area. It appears that Sweet Autumn Clematis might be perfect for my needs.

Better Homes & Gardens lists Sweet Autumn Clematis as one of the most fragrant of garden plants:

“Want to make a big statement at the end of the season? Try sweet autumn clematis. This large vine (it can climb to more than 25 feet once established) literally covers itself in masses of starry white, fragrant flowers. You can smell it from across the yard on warm, sunny days.” BHG 

Image result for sweet autumn clematis trellis

BHG says that Sweet Autumn literally covers itself with blooms, and that suggests another reason that I am planting it. My neighbor’s yard seems to be a little bit too close to mine, and I am also planting Sweet Autumn to serve as a screen.

I bought my first Sweet Autumn on clearance last year, at the end of fall. My soil is extremely rocky, and I doubted that the plant would be able to snuggle down deeply enough to survive through the rather cold, Northern Arkansas, Ozark Mountain winter, but it did. In fact, the foliage remained green all winter, and by the end of March, it had begun its growth for this year.

Better Homes & Gardens also offers a Free Plan for a Fragrant Moon Garden, and that is essentially what I want–a place to enjoy my garden during the evening.

“There is something quite magical about a garden at night. To truly appreciate it, you have to sit down and let the worries of the day fade for at least 10 minutes until your eyes adjust to the dark. Light colors and white take on a new glow, and many blooms appear to float because the green stems and leaves fade into the darkness. What¿s more, the lighter colors of variegated plants become more pronounced in the evening.

“Although a moon garden is often conceived as a summer garden, don’t neglect plants that can be enjoyed in other seasons. Plants with interesting architectural form, such as the Harry Lauder’s walking stick in this garden, offer interest even in the dead of winter.

Night-bloomers such as moonflowers, four-o’clocks, and angels’ trumpets, add their own unique qualities to the garden; their fragrances attract night pollinators. Sound is another element to consider. At sunset, when temperatures cool and breezes whip up, there’s nothing quite like the swishing foliage of grasses, bamboos, and even pine trees as they flutter in the wind.

“One of the most important components of a moon garden is a place to sit and take in the view. You can put a chair in the middle of the garden or place a bench along the perimeter. There is no right or wrong spot; just make sure it’s comfortable. No matter how good that wrought-iron love seat looks, it won’t get much use without cushions to soften the perch.” BHG

L ‘Sunday Gloves’ daylily (Hemerocallis spp.), 30×18 inches, Zones 3-10, three plants
M Blue fescue (Festuca glauca), 12×12 inches, Zones 4-8, five plants
N ‘Munstead’ lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), 18×24 inches, Zones 5-8, six plants – best in full sun
O Snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata), 3 feet x 18 inches, self-seeding annual, three plants
P White cleome (Cleome hassleriana), 5 feet x 18 inches, annual, five plants
Q Clematis ‘Henryi,‘ Zones 4-9, two plants
R White climbing rose (Rosa spp.), hardiness depends on cultivar, one plant
S Angels’ trumpets (Brugmansia arborea), 7×5 feet, annual, one plant
T Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris), 5×2 feet, annual, six plants
U Blue lobelia (Lobelia erinus), 6×6 inches, annual, five plants

B Variegated yucca (Yucca filamentosa ‘Variegata’), 30 inches x5 feet, Zones 5-10, three plants
C Moonflower (Ipomoea alba), 12-15 feet, annual, five plants Needs as much sun as possible
D Cardinal climber (Ipomoea x multifida), 6-10 feet, annual, five plants – prefers full sun
E Coleus ‘The Line‘ (Solenostemon scutellarioides), 30×30 inches, annual, five plants
F ‘Bitsy’ daylily (Hemerocallis spp.), 18×12 inches, Zones 3-10, three plants
G Golden Hakonechloa grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’), 14×16 inches, Zones 5-9, seven plants – Shade
H ‘Albert Greenberg’ waterlily (Nymphaea spp.), 2 feet tall, Zones 8-11 or annual, one plant
I Lamb’s-ears (Stachys byzantina), 18 inches x 2 feet, Zones 4-8, five plants – wants full sun
J Hosta ‘Patriot,’ foliage: 2×3 feet, flowers: 30 inches, Zones 3-8, three plants
K Four-o’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa), 3×2 feet, self-seeding annual, five plants – Best in full sun

A Harry Lauder’s walking stick (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’), 12-15 feet, Zones 3-9, one plant
K Four-o’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa), 3×2 feet, self-seeding annual, five plants
L ‘Sunday Gloves’ daylily (Hemerocallis spp.), 30×18 inches, Zones 3-10, three plants P White cleome (Cleome hassleriana), 5 feet x 18 inches, annual, five plants
Q Clematis ‘Henryi,‘ Zones 4-9, two plants
R White climbing rose (Rosa spp.), hardiness depends on cultivar, one plant