In 1875, Charles Hawks founded Hawks Nursery Company to outfit local farmers and residents with plant stock: usually fruit trees, shade trees, and shrubs. As towns grew more populated, the company’s staff grew, too, and soon Charles employed 200 salesmen, who traveled the Midwest by horse and buggy, train, or high-powered propeller beanie to sell their stock. When the Depression began atrophying business, Charles responded by expanding into the landscaping industry. There, the company really blossomed. Today, a team of landscape designers—most with college degrees in the field—transforms exterior spaces with verdant plant life, patio designs, and water hazards. The landscape artists’ stellar reputation even earned them landscaping work at the Milwaukee County Zoo and outside of the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Hands-on gardeners flock to Hawks Nursery, wandering down outdoor paths that wind past potted flowers and plants, fountains, and trees. The serpentine paths funnel into an information gazebo, where gardeners of all skill levels can ask questions, such as how to care for newly transplanted shrubs or how to teach trees to grow caramel apples. An interior show room sells high-quality gardening supplies, patio furniture, and tropical plants, as well as seasonal decorations.