Richard G. Hawke

Richard Hawke
Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Director of Ornamental Plant Research
(847) 835-8251
Curriculum Vitae:
Research Interests:
  • Ornamental plant evaluation
  • Invasive species testing of wild-collected and ornamental plants
  • Evaluation of native and cultivated plants for green roofs

My main research is the comparative evaluation of ornamental plants, predominantly herbaceous perennials, to determine the best garden plants for the Upper Midwest and areas with similar climatic conditions. The herbaceous plants under evaluation are grown outdoors in side-by-side trials for a minimum of four years; vines and shrubs are evaluated for a minimum of six years. Plants are monitored regularly to assess their ornamental traits; cultural adaptability to the soil and environmental conditions of the test site; disease and pest problems; and winter injury.

Twenty-six comparative trials are currently underway, including trials in the Shida Evaluation Garden featuring abelias (Abelia), bugleweeds (Ajuga), bergenias (Bergenia), sedges (Carex), clematis (Clematis), hellebores (Helleborus), coral bells (Heuchera), rose of Sharons (Hibiscus syriacus), and smooth hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens). Ongoing trials in Lavin Plant Evaluation Garden include fall anemones (Anemone), masterworts (Astrantia), false indigos (Baptisia), butterfly bushes (Buddleja), hardy mums (Chrysanthemum), larkspurs (Delphinium), tufted hair grasses (Deschampsia), rose mallows (Hibiscus), torch lilies (Kniphofia), spring phloxes (Phlox), ninebarks (Physocarpus), burnets (Sanguisorba), rosinweeds (Silphium), goldenrods (Solidago), and umbellifers. 
Plant Evaluation Program

Selected Publications:

Hawke, R. 2023. High-ranking Reed Grasses. Fine Gardening, October, No. 213: 38-43.

Hawke, R. 2023. Get to Know Sweetshrubs. Fine Gardening, May/June, No. 211:38-43.

Hawke, R. 2022. Get to Know Bush Clovers. Fine Gardening, October, No. 207: 50-57.

Hawke, R. 2022. The Best Summer Alliums to Grow. Fine Gardening, August, No. 206: 20-26.

Hawke, R. 2022. Comparative Trials of Hydrangea paniculata Cultivars. Plant Evaluation Notes, Issue 47.

Hawke, R. 2022. Exciting Wild Indigos, The American Gardener, March/April, Vol. 101, No. 2: 18-23.

Hawke, R. 2021. Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium). The American Gardener, September/October, Vol. 100, No. 5: 58.

Hawke, R. 2021. Plant Trials: Perovskia spp. Nursery Management, October, pp. 25-28.

Hawke, R. et al. 2021. Green roof vegetation management alters potential for water quality and temperature mitigation. Ecohydrology.

Hawke, R. 2021. Ninebark, A Durable Shrub for Everyone. Fine Gardening, December, No. 202: 42-51.

Hawke, R. 2021. Burnet: The best plant you’re not growing. Fine Gardening, October, No. 201: 54-63.Hawke, R. 2021. Digging Deeper into Stachys. Fine Gardening, April, No. 198: 64-71.

Hawke, R. 2021. An Evaluation Study of Russian Sage Cultivars (Perovskia spp.), Plant Evaluation Notes, Issue 46.

Hawke, R. 2020. A Comparative Evaluation of Ironweeds (Vernonia spp.), Plant Evaluation Notes, Issue 45.

Hawke, R. 2020. Garden Plant of the Day, Fine Gardening blog.

Hawke, R. 2020. What’s New with Coneflowers? Fine Gardening, August, No. 194: 42-53.

Hawke, R. 2020. 10 Perennial Standouts. Fine Gardening, April, No. 192: 56-63.

Hawke, R. 2019. An Evaluation Study of Tender Salvias (Salvia spp.), Plant Evaluation Notes, Issue 44.

Hawke, R. 2019. Terrific Tender Salvias. Fine Gardening, August, No. 188: 34-43.

Hawke, R. 2019. Bluestar: A native plant for the masses. Fine Gardening, June, No. 187: 46-53.

Hawke, R. 2019. Lavenders for the North. Nursery Management, February, 35(2): 19-22.

Hawke, R. 2019. Lady and Painted Ferns. Fine Gardening, April, No. 186: 56-65.

Hawke, R. 2018. An Evaluation Study of Hardy Ornamental Grasses, Plant Evaluation Notes, Issue 43.

Hawke, R. 2018. Get to know Molinia. Fine Gardening, December, No. 184: 30-37.

Hawke, R. 2018. Persicarias Deserve Your Love. Fine Gardening, September/October, No. 183: 36-43.

Hawke, R. 2018. Geum spp. Nursery Management, July, 34 (7): 38-41.

Hawke, R. 2018. Bold, shade-loving Rodgersias. Fine Gardening, January/February, No. 179: 34-39.

Hawke, R. 2017. Lavenders for Northern Gardens, Plant Evaluation Notes, Issue 42.

Hawke, R. 2017. Rodgersia. Nursery Management, November, 34(11): 6.

Hawke, R. 2017. Ironweed, the superhero of fall plants. Fine Gardening, October, No. 177: 38-45.

Hawke, R. 2017. Hibiscus. Fine Gardening, July/August, No. 176: 32-39.

Hawke, R. 2017. Why aren’t you growing more Baptisias? Fine Gardening, May/June, No. 175: 50-57.

Hawke, R. 2017. Rodgersias and Astilboides: A Comparative Trial Report. Perennial Plants, Winter, pp. 11-32.

Hawke, R. 2017. Geum spp: A Comparative Trial Report. Perennial Plants, Winter, pp. 44-62.

Hawke, R. 2017. A Comparative Evaluation Study of Geum spp., Plant Evaluation Notes, Issue 41.

Hawke, R. 2016. A Comparative Trial Report on Rodgersias and Astilboides, Plant Evaluation Notes, Issue 40.

Hawke, R. 2016. Coreopsis You Can Count On! Fine Gardening, September/October, No. 171: 44-51.

Hawke, R. 2016. The Best of the Best Hostas: Most Beautiful Blue Variety. Fine Gardening, September/October, No. 171: 31.

Hawke, R. 2016. Woodland Wonders. Nursery Management, May.

Hawke, R. 2016. Salvias That Won’t Let You Down. Fine Gardening, May/June, No. 169: 36-43.

Hawke, R. 2015. A Comparative Study of Lady Ferns and Japanese Painted Ferns (Athyrium spp.), Plant Evaluation Notes, Issue 39.

Hawke, R. 2015. An Evaluation Study of Plants for Use on Green Roofs. Perennials Plants, Fall, pp. 29-62.

Hawke, R. 2015. Awesome Asters. Fine Gardening, September/October, No. 165: 30-37.

Hawke, R. 2015. Beyond the Basic Butterfly Bush. Fine Gardening, July/August, No. 164: 30-36.

Hawke, R. 2015. Up on the Roof, American Nurseryman, July, pp. 10-15.

Hawke, R. 2015. An Evaluation Study of Plants for Use on Green Roofs, Plant Evaluation Notes, Issue 38.

Hawke, R. 2015. Kick Off the Season With This Shady Star. Fine Gardening, March/April, No. 162: 50-55.

Hawke, R. 2014 A Comparative Study of Joe Pye Weeds (Eutrochium spp.) and Their Relatives. Perennial Plants, Summer, pp. 48-63.

Hawke, R. 2014. Garden Phlox That Don’t Disappoint. Fine Gardening, July/August, No. 158: 28-35.

Hawke, R. 2014. Campanulas You Can’t Live Without. Fine Gardening, May/June, No. 157: 30-37.

Hawke, R. 2014. A Comparative Study of Cultivated Asters. Perennials Plants, Winter, pp. 14-39.

Hawke, R. 2014. Shared Wisdom: 8 Perennial Picks from a Pro. Garden Gate, February, No. 115: 8-11

Hawke, R. 2014. A Comparative Study of Joe Pye Weeds (Eutrochium spp.) and Their Relatives, Plant Evaluation Notes, Issue 37.

Hawke, R. 2013. Fabulous Phlox. Greenhouse Management, November, 33(2):44-47.

Hawke, R. 2013. Battle of the grasses. Fine Gardening, November/December, No. 154: 48-55.

Hawke, R. 2013. A Study of Phlox paniculata Cultivars. Perennial Plants, Autumn, pp. 16-41.

Hawke, R. 2013. Catmint. Fine Gardening, August, No. 152: 56-62.

Hawke, R. 2013. Which Ligularia will make your shade shine? Fine Gardening, March/April, No. 150: 44-49.

Hawke, R. 2013. A Comparative Study of Cultivated Asters, Plant Evaluation Notes, Issue 36.

Hawke, R. 2012. Big Blooming Clematis, Fine Gardening, August, No. 146: 44-51.

Hawke, R. 2012. Geraniums, The best of the best, Fine Gardening, June, No. 145: 38-45.

Hawke, R. 2012. Phlox paniculata, Nursery Management, 28(1):67-69.

Hawke, R. 2012. If you’re not growing Geums, you’re missing out, Fine Gardening, April, No. 144: 46-51.

Hawke, R. 2011. A Comparative Study of Phlox paniculata Cultivars, Plant Evaluation Notes, Issue 35.

Hawke, R. 2011. Hydrangeas, Fine Gardening, September/October, No. 141: 32-37.

Hawke, R. 2011. Bugbanes for American Gardens, The American Gardener 90 (4):26-31.

Hawke, R. 2011. Meadow Rues, Fine Gardening, May/June, No. 139: 30-35.

Hawke, R. 2011. Tradescantia, Nursery Management, 27(2):66-71.