Flowers From ‘Phantom Planter’ Popping Up at Dupont Metro Station

The work of a flower vigilante is once again in bloom along the Dupont Circle Metro escalators.

Last summer, some riders thought it was Metro who planted bright yellow flowers in the garden squares alongside the long escalators at the station's north exit.


It was Northwest D.C. resident Henry Docter, who calls himself "the phantom planter." In the fall of 2012, he planted about 150 daffodil and tulip bulbs in the squares of dirt between the cobblestones along the escalators at the Dupont station.

All last spring, he sneaked into the station in the middle of the night to tend to the squares -- by rappelling down the extraordinarily steep slopes.

In response, Metro removed the flowers, saying his chosen method of gaining access to the station was a safety hazard.

"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 spokesperson Dan Stessel told News4 last spring.

But it looks like Mother Nature didn't care. Once again, bulbs have bloomed, with daffodils popping up in the squares, providing a burst of bright yellow amid the gray stones.

"And there's more to come when the west side warms up," Docter wrote in an email to News 4 Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss.

Docter said he's "glad that the curmudgeons at Metro obviously don't know a morning glory from a marigold, didn't dig deep when they ripped out the thousand flowers last July. These bulbs survived underground!"

He said he hopes that Metro won't remove these flowers, and that he doesn't know what he'll do when they need tending.

"...I hope everyone enjoys them (and everything they represent) now while they are here," he wrote to NBC Washington.

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