Winter Depression in the midwest and saving my garden

Hello everyone,
I live in an apartment building in the midwest. Like many people, I get the blues when the sun isn't out as often. But I also get the blues because the landscape changes drastically.
Every year I have a potted garden on my balcony that faces south. Is there any way to cover the balcony? Is there any sort of covering I can purchase and attach to the balcony so that I can enclose it? Perhaps some sort of substance that blocks the extreme cold and can be hammered into the wood?
I have a gorgeous mandevilla that I got at the end of spring. It was a tiny, flowering plant and has since grown like crazy and has wrapped itself around anything and everything it can find. If I can't somehow enclose my back porch, then I'm going to have to take the mandevilla indoors. Any suggestions for what to do with it? I will have to untangle it and then what do I do when I bring it indoors?
I'm half-tempted to load up a moving truck and take my garden west and leave it with friends for the winter....
I intend to move within the year.
Thanks for any input and sorry for my lack of knowledge.
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what about some sort of plastic awning you can nail up or attach using hooks? You see them on the front of restaurants or bars sometimes for alfresco dining. They come in clear plastic to let light in but will keep things like wind and (some) frosts out.
rob
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