Pee Wee Gardens

There is an amazing peony garden in Council Bluffs. It’s located on Old Lincoln Hwy or N Broadway, directly across the street from Kimball Park. There is a large sign that says “Pee Wee Gardens – Flowers and More Since 94.”

I googled this name and found a story about Oscar Kilnoski, the man most likely behind this garden. According to the article, Oscar’s first establishment, the Pee Wee Store, opened in 1940 where he sold everything from candy to appliances.

Oscar died in 2003 but his peonies continue to live on long after his death.

His son Bud Kilnoski was quoted in the article saying Oscar was a “master gardener who especially liked peonies. He would spend hours cultivating these flowers and he took great pride in doing this.”

What a wonderful legacy. If any of my local master gardener friends know more about this story, please comment below! It’s not every day when you Google something and you can’t find much information. I would love to include more info on Mr. Kilnoski or this peony garden if anyone can help.

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The last line in the article is Bud saying that his father “had a good life.”

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Here is a Google map of the area if you are going to try to find it. It’s that blank spot right across the street from Kimball Park. Pee Wee Gardens, 2400 N. Broadway.

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Jane says:

    Melissa aren’t they beautiful? You have found a CB history nugget. The house is also a century house. Bud is part owner of Hoy-Kilnoski Funeral home. They used to sell the peonies from there for Memorial Day cemetery bouquets. And I remember going for their gardens. . . for city kids it was a good place for rhubarb and asparagus. At the time, this was the edge of town.

    Bud’s Hobby was such a treat to visit on a hot summer day– models to assemble, toys, games, etc. etc. It was located near the new TS Bank by the bar.

    Also research Wilcox Greenhouses, now the location of Kirn Jr. High. I used to help Margaret Wilcox sell peonies on the corner of Kenmore and Pierce St for the nearby cemetery visitors. The heavenly scent of those filled metal containers remains a vivid memory.

    It is why I love perennial gardening. Unless the new owners use RoundUp, your planting remains a legacy. Thanks for the lovely photos. Yep, I’m old. 😉

    1. Melissa Peterson says:

      Of course you knew more about this. I should have known! Thank you for your comments and your knowledge Jane, as always!

      1. Jane says:

        A very happy memory for me going with Mom and Mrs Galvani. Thanks!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Call hoy -Kilnoski funeral home tm. Bud will answer your questions.

  3. Beth says:

    That’s an amazing peony garden — did you knock at the house and ask whose garden it is? I think you’re right — an address search shows that at least one Kilnoski lived at that address. I wonder how long the peonies have been growing there? Iowa DNR aerial photos show an orchard there planted in the 1950s, but partly gone by the 1970s, and it’s hard to tell in Google Pro photos whether the peonies had been planted in 1990 or not. (I’ve been working on a book about historic gardens in Iowa for the past few years, and developed ways of guessing at a garden’s history through aerial photos.) You should definitely try to find out more about the gardens there. Thanks for sharing this amazing and unexpected garden! -Beth

    1. Melissa Peterson says:

      Beth, You are full of knowledge! What a fun project you have on your hands. I’ll see what other comments come from this blog post and then look into it some more. Thank you!

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    Wow! The scent must have been heavenly!

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