'Flower Vigilante' Told to Stop Tending Metro Garden Squares

By Adam Tuss
|  Friday, Jun 21, 2013  |  Updated 8:53 PM EDT
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A northwest D.C. resident wants to continue caring for flowers he planted at the Dupont Circle Metro Station, but Metro has safety concerns. News4 transportation reporter Adam Tuss has details and reaction from Metro riders.

Adam Tuss

A northwest D.C. resident wants to continue caring for flowers he planted at the Dupont Circle Metro Station, but Metro has safety concerns. News4 transportation reporter Adam Tuss has details and reaction from Metro riders.

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As you made your way up and down the long Dupont Circle Metro escalators recently, the Metro station was in bloom.

Some riders thought it was Metro who planted growing, bright yellow flowers in the garden squares alongside the escalators at the busy station. But it turns out it was the work of a flower vigilante -- someone trying to give the Dupont Circle station flower power.

Henry Docter, a northwest D.C. resident, is behind it all. Docter planted about 100 bulbs in the squares last fall. And this spring, he's visited in the middle of the night to tend to the garden squares, rappelling down the extraordinarily steep slopes.

But now he's been told by Metro to stop taking care of the flowers.

"It's a safety issue, and it's a liability issue. So, while we appreciate Mr. Docter's obvious passion for flowers, our passion for safety is stronger," Metro Chief Spokesperson Dan Stessel tells News4.

The flowers are now withering.

So the flower doctor has now started an online petition called Let My Flowers Grow.

"If I stop, the flowers will die before they bloom," Docter said on the site.

His petition reads: 

"Out of the goodness of my heart, last Fall I planted over 100 bulbs in the very same neglected garden squares. Months later they bloomed, sharing their joy and beauty with fellow Metro Riders.

This Spring I returned. I weeded and two trash bags were filled with more than 300 discarded cigarette butts, shards of glass, wads of gum, tree branches and assorted fast food restaurant garbage."

Docter, who didn't want to be interviewed for this report, said online that he was willing to sign a waiver "to hold Metro harmless as I recognize your concerns are part of the fear filled society we currently live in."

"But flowers are nature's way of affirming how beautiful life can be," he said.

Other riders share that thought.

"I noticed them yesterday and I thought they were pretty cool, said Metro rider Ali Dascher. "I loved them!"

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