Transforming concrete yard into beautiful green space

I have a rented flat with a small concrete yard, the floor is concrete and it is surrounded by 4 walls (one of which had some graffiti on), has a drain and that's about it. There is also some kind of noisy air con vent (at least that's what we think it is) and I live next to an electricity sub-station. I want to know what I can do to transform this space into a nice place. At the moment I only go out there to clean the cat litter tray out or to get the mop or broom (I keep them out there as my flat doesn't have any big enough cupboards or storage spaces indoors).
I'm thinking of getting some large containers from pound stretcher and some plants from the garden centre around the corner. The space doesn't get much light so I need plants, and preferably pretty flowery types of plant, that will grow without much sunlight. I have grown busy lizzies in my previous flat without much light so that is a starting point. Also I have a curious cat who likes nibbling plants so nothing poisonous to cats (I know lillies are and some others). Any ideas for me?
--
R-girl


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Containers up against a trellis. Grow beans and other flowering vines. Scarlet Runner beans have a pretty flower.
Annuals for shade: impatiens and begonia. Come in lots of colors and easy to grow. Foliage will be much easier to achieve than flowers, but foliage is great. How about ferns in containers?
I had a small concrete yard outside an apartment on the ground floor on Beacon Hill in Boston many decades ago. I came and went through my bedroom window. ;-) I put out pots and hung some off the fence that bounded the tiny space. I did get some growth and flowers from impatiens, but best of all a "community" cat made himself at home, and when the other people who were feeding him moved away, I gave him a home. His name was Sinbad, and he was an amazing cat. Great personality!
Good luck and keep us updated.
Priscilla (returning to the group after many years)
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of argument and evidence is a crucial aspect of how science works."
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On 4/15/2011 2:49 PM, Peppermint Patootie wrote:
<<big giant snip>>

Hi Priscilla, When were you around before? I used to be here fairly often about 8 years ago. I think I used my real name then too. Were you Peppermint Patootie back when you used to post? I don't remember the name.
Tony
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No, I used my real name, but I had to switch to a nom du Net when my mother started stalking me. All right, she wasn't really stalking me, but she was googling my name to see what I was up to that I wasn't telling her. *sigh*
My initials were P.B., and my last name was the same as the western wild woman played by Jane Fonda in a movie called "Cat B_____."
Did I get it across without twinging google? ;-)
I'm not sure how many years ago, but probably around 10.
PP
--
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On Apr 20, 1:57 pm, Peppermint Patootie

Ballou
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Look up "small shade gardens in the UK" . 1. a waterfall of some kind can cover the AC noise. Altho a screen with some noise absorbing material between where you sit and the AC will help too. 2. you will need to clean the grafitti, or, put your sitting area where you cant see it, or, place something in front of it. 3. Plant some "understory" trees in tubs to act as a screen. They dont need much light. 4. Yes, build or buy (or "find") containers of various sizes and shapes to hold the shade loving plants. Put little ones in bunches to pull the eye down, larger ones to pull the eye up to areas of the wall that are nice. 5. the concrete. the easiest is some sort of outdoor carpet pieces in dark color, dont try green to make it look like grass. you want the carpet to not call attention. 6. Attach found objects etc to the walls, interesting things, rusted garden things or grills, etc. I got various cut outs like a kokopelli, a butterfly, etc.
wrote:

Somewhere between zone 5 and 6 tucked along the shore of Lake Michigan on the council grounds of the Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Winnebago
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You could try some geraniums, they seem to grow anywhere. Also coleus look nice in posts; I did them one year and they're very nice.
There are specific plants that are partial to shade, will have to look them up.
--
silvery

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