So unable to exist for any length of time without greenery nearby, it only took a few weeks after moving to Calgary before I started accruing plants. It's only USDA zone 3 here and plants generally loose a zone or so when kept in containers. Instead of leaving my plants exposed, I'll wrap them and bring them in against the building. I don't know if this will work but I have zone 2/3 plants and it's definitely worth a try.
The garden currently consists of two varieties of Lamium, Lysimachia, Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle), Ajuga (Bugleweed), Prunus tomentosa (Nanking Cherry), willow cuttings, and Physocarpus opulifolius 'Dart's Gold' (Ninebark). A lovely purple Bougainvillea has also been added to the mix and will be kept inside for the winter. Some pansies were also tossed in for filler until the other plants grew in, which took far less time than I thought.
Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions for the future. My balcony gets 4 hours of morning sun, about 45 minutes after noon, then 2 hours of low reflected light into the late afternoon/evening.