'Phantom Planter' replaces public garden with art piece

Oct. 28, 2013 at 5:22 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- The "phantom planter" whose impromptu garden at a Washington Metro rail station was ripped out by officials created an artwork for "artistic closure."

Henry Docter, 52, who said he has been planting flowers in neglected public spaces around the world for years, said he planned Sunday's project after he planted 1,000 plants along the entryway to the Dupont Circle Metro station in July and the plants were removed a couple of weeks later by Metro officials, The Washington Post reported Monday.

"I needed artistic closure," Docter said.

Docter executed his closure Sunday in the form of a 6-by-6-by-4-foot boxlike sculpture bearing online comments about his garden and its removal. He used a large spool of rope to create a pulley system that crossed the entryway to the Metro station and suspended the box in the center.

The comments on the sculpture included those critical of the garden's removal and some critical of Docter himself.

"Beautification of civic space should be applauded, not crushed," one comment read.

"We cannot allow this 'phantom planter' to inspire others," another read.

A Metro spokesman said the "item was removed without incident" and Transit Police are investigating.

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