Family Traditions Grow at Pecks

By Cindy Hadish
Mother’s Day is synonymous with flowers and for generations of families, that means a trip to Peck’s.

“We hear that a lot,” co-owner Pat Hines said of the traditional stop on Mother’s Day at Peck’s, which includes a Flower & Garden Shop, Nursery & Landscaping, all at 3990 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE.

Sons and daughters bring their mothers to buy a plant, bouquet of flowers, hanging basket or other gifts, or to stroll together through the wide selection of trees, perennials, annuals and more offered at Peck’s.

The same happens on Father’s Day, but it doesn’t have to be a holiday to enjoy a day at Peck’s. Colorful pots in all sizes, and row upon row of plants, such as “Raspberry Sundae” and “Buckeye Belle” peonies; blooming hydrangeas in pinks and blues, and “Purple Queen” bougainvillea in full bloom entice shoppers in the greenhouse and outdoor areas.

Experienced staff, including certified nursery specialists, are available to provide plant recommendations and offer plenty of “green thumb” advice.

While Peck’s is open year-round, spring is the busiest season, when customers can choose from more than 200 varieties of rosebushes, 400 varieties of perennial flowers and ground covers, a third of an acre of annuals and hanging baskets in the greenhouses, plus acres of trees and shrubs.

Indoors, the selection is just as varied, with bird baths, Isabel Bloom figurines and other garden art, Willow Tree Angels, houseplants and gifts galore. The flower shop offers stunning floral arrangements designed by professional florists and delivered throughout the metro area and beyond.

At the other end of the store, customers can purchase seeds and other necessities for growing a home garden. “It’s the number one pastime, even above baseball,” Hines said of gardening in the United States. “It’s a family thing.”

She should know. Her late parents, “Peck” and Myrtle Peckosh, founded the business in 1956, then at Center Point Road near Collins Road NE. In 1980, the second generation of the family took over the business: Hines, her brother, Ken Peckosh, and sister Pam DeSotel, along with their spouses, Russ Hines, Shirley Peckosh and Craig DeSotel. At the same time, the business moved to its current location on 20 acres at the intersection of Blairs Ferry Road and Edgewood Road NE, a spot that initially was at the edge of Cedar Rapids, but has since become a bustling hub.

The three siblings and their spouses remain involved in Peck’s, with third-generation children also involved in the family business. “Occasionally, you’ll see a great-grandchild pushing a broom or helping out at a Peck’s event,” Hines added.

Back in 1956, Peck’s initial focus was on landscaping; a core of the business that continues, with professional landscapers who build patios and other outdoor spaces. Trends in landscaping, as well as in plants, are followed closely, so Peck’s can offer the latest products and services. That includes a hot trend in fairy gardens and a comeback for terrariums.

“We search high and low for the best plants,” Hines said, adding that nursery plants also must be hardy enough to survive Iowa’s winters. She noted that Peck’s attracts customers of all ages, including new gardeners planting their first garden to people who remember when her parents had their store at its first location.

A constant at Peck’s is its employees, though Hines hesitates to call them that. “They’re really like family,” she said. “They are smart, creative and enthusiastic individuals who are all part of what makes Peck’s so special.”

Hines doesn’t hesitate when asked her favorite part of the job: “the people,” she said. “I like visiting with our customers and trying to help them solve their plant questions and floral needs.” She also enjoys spending time chatting with customers about a favorite flower or plant, such as heirloom Christmas cactus.

Hines is a home gardener, as well, and that extends indoors, too. “I don’t know that I have a plant in every room at home, but it’s pretty close,” she said.

Peck’s, located at the corner of Blairs Ferry and Edgewood Rd. NE, can be reached at 319.393.5565 or 1.800.574.5565.
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