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I am in the Ottawa Valley, Canada ... compared to Milwaukee, the climate is a bit colderr, wetter and the growing season shorter though snow cover is uaually very reliable.

You didn't say if your area was full sun or shade - most of my railroad related gardening is in the shade. There are very few shade loving ground covers for a colder climate (USDA Zone 3-4). Among the successful ground covers are periwinkle, lamium, and snow on the mountain. I also like bugleweed (ajuga) though it has a rather fearful reputation in warmer climates as being totally invasive. The cold tends to keep it well checked. Native mosses in your area will also do quite well in the shade if adequate moisture is available.

In the sunshine, most ground covers are invasive so beware. Sedums and tymes are the usual choices though many have good success with scotch or irish moss. I have had no luck with the last two as the deep winter cold here seems to kill them.

Pictures and details of all these are available via Wikipedia. Checking for recommendations at your local nursery is also helpful.

Regards ... Doug
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