plants that can survive the winter?

Hello everyone:
I know close to nothing about plants. I have no indoor plants because of my two cats, one of which eats anything green. Eventually I'll get some hanging plants they can't reach.
Meanwhile, I do have a patio with vertical iron bars -- I would love to have plants out there that I wouldn't have to bring in during the winter, and/or some ivy or vines that would twine itself around the bars.
I'm in Washington DC, so we get every kind of weather. The patio is mostly shady.
Any ideas? Thanks!
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On 8 Sep 2004 13:25:32 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Eileen) wrote:

DC is in USDA zone 7, so check for perennials that are hardy for that zone (or lower numbers). Ivy will certainly survive, although it likes to climb on rougher surfaces -- trees, brick. Your choices may be limited if you have very little sun.
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I live in the same area. I would hardly say "we get every kind of weather".
There are several very good plant nurseries in the DC area where you can get plants. You can even check the local Lowes, Home Depot and Franks for the cheaper stuff.
You don't want to grow ivy. It will eventually become a pest that is difficult to eradicate. Look at some of the older houses and you will see what I mean.
Try Clematis, Scarlet Runner Bean or some other more amenable flowering vines. You have plenty of time to do your research before plants become available next spring.

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