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BNA Gardens & Planters

The Gardens and Planters is a team of volunteers, led by Diane Witte, that develops and maintains gardens, planters, hanging baskets, and hayracks located throughout the city. Below is additional information about each park and how YOU can get involved and help as a volunteer gardener! Maintaining these beautiful spaces are a combined effort from city staff as well as volunteers.

Garden volunteers are needed to water, weed (see list below), dead-head, clear brush/dead branches, mulch and plant in these areas.


Parks & Gardens

BNA Garden Locations 

See These? 
Weed them Out! 

Our Gardens take a LOT of help to maintain them in a beautiful condition.

Below are some of the most common weeds that pop up in our gardens.

If you see them, please help us by pulling them out of the ground from the roots.


See any other common weeds that we should keep an eye out for and add to our site?

Message us (at with a picture and caption, and we’ll add it to our site! 


The Common Dandelion

This perennial has a rosette of leaves at the base of the plant; a deep taproot; a smooth, hollow stem; leaves that may be nearly smooth-margined, toothed, or deeply cut; and a solitary yellow flower head composed only of ray flowers (no disk flowers). The fruit is a ball-shaped cluster of many small, tufted, one-seeded fruits.


These perennial weeds grow from a thick taproot and can get up to 10FT tall with distinct red stems, if left unattended. They produce bunched flowers and dark purple berries. "Birds love the fruit and then spread the seed everywhere in their droppings. So pokeweed can show up in many new places each year."

Broadleaf Plantain Weed

The Broadleaf Plantain

This perennial weed has a “rosette of smooth, elliptic to oval leaves, up to 7 in long and 4 in wide.  Leaves have prominent veins and usually inconspicuous hairs.  As leaves mature the margins tend to get wavy.  Flowers are inconspicuous, produced on a leafless stalk up to 10 in long.” This plant does have a fibrous instead of tap root system so you may find yourself pulling up a network of roots with the plant. This plant does reproduce by seed so eliminating it before it flowers would help reduce it from spreading the following year.

Credit: Meaghan Anderson & Bob Hartzler,Iowa State University,

Crab Grass

This annual grass that “pops up in spring and develops into large, flat, thick clumps that spread widely, crowding out surrounding lawn grass and other plants. Because it's an annual, crabgrass dies after the first frost in autumn, which leaves behind patchy, bare spots in your lawn. If left untreated, those bare spots will fill in with more crabgrass or other weeds next spring when their seeds sprout.” This plant does have shallow roots and can be best removed using a trowel.


Common Blue Violet

This “low-growing, colony forming” perennial “has smooth green heart-shaped leaves. It flowers from April through June. The flowers are usually deep purple or blue, but may also be gray, white, or light violet. The flower has 5 petals and the 2 lateral petals are bearded. Flowers arise on leafless stalks.” While we don’t mind this plant in the natural wooded area around The Grandview Steps, we prefer to remove it from our other gardens to prevent it from crowding out our other plants. “It spreads by seed or short, stout rhizomes,” so care must be taken when pulling this weed from the root as it breaks easily, which can cause the plant to regrow in the future.

Credit: University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “Common Blue Violet in Lawns.”

Honeyvine Milkweed

This perennial has a thin stem that can wind its way around surrounding plants as it grows upto 10ft. It produces heart-shaped leaves with white veins that are arranged oppposite each other, and clusters of small white flowers that grow into seed pods that look similar to the common milkweed but have a smooth surface instead. While this is a native species, it can choke out existing plants in our garden if left unattended so we weed them out by pulling the networked, fibrous roots in areas next to plants, but wouldn’t mind them growing next to fences or trellis areas.

Credit: Meaghan Anderson & Bob Hartzler,Iowa State University,  “Honeyvine milkweed”


Spotted Spurge

This weed has a red stem and oval shaped leaves that grow out from a center taproot and remain low to the ground, similar to ground cover. While it’s always recommended to wear gloves while weeding, it’s especially recommended for weeding this plant as its milky white sap can irritate skin. This weed can regrow from pieces of its broken taproot or from its hardy seeds so the most effective way to manage it is to weed early and often.

Credit: Rhoades, Heather, “Tips For Spotted Spurge Control” Gardening Know How.

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