Can anyone suggest anything? I have a few climbing areas to cover in my garden. Every year I plant clematis, ranging from cheap to expensive and they just do not thrive! We do not have beds, it's all pots due to renting.
Clematis like a cool root run, so pots are only good if the roots are in the shade and kept moist. The stems and leaves can be in sunshine though.
Depending on where you are, Trachelospermum jasminoides is lovely and the flowers have a fab scent. I'd say it's borderline hardy anywhere north of Bristol though, but worth a try.
Seconded on Passion flower though again be careful as some of them are only hardy down to -5ºC or so. Ditto honeysuckles - there are some absolutely beautiful hybrids out there. You could have a climbing rose eg Rambling Rector which iirc has good scent and pretty little white flowers. Noisette also good and pretty.
If you have space to grow seeds, try a few 'cup and saucer' plants - Cobaea scandens. This is a half-hardy annual but it'll cover quite a large area in a few months and the flowers are fascinating. You could also try perennial sweet peas.