Woman Asked To Remove Paint After She Repaints And Replants Flower Pots

| by Jared Keever

The saying “no good deed goes unpunished” may ring a bit more true for one St. Paul, Minnesota, worker who took it upon herself Sunday to revitalize some planters in her neighborhood.

Pioneer Press reports Kathy Brookins walks by the planters every day. The plants in them were dead and their terra cotta-colored paint had grown chipped and faded. 

Brookins, 64, and her 15-year-old granddaughter decided they could spruce them up with some bright, primary-colored paint and by planting fresh flowers. 

The news website describes the mini-project as a “guerrilla” project. 

The Washington Post reports guerrilla gardening is a trend sweeping many cities in which unidentified activists plant gardens, of either flowers or food, on blighted, vacant lots in their neighborhoods. Proponents of the action say it makes good use of otherwise unused land and can provide food to impoverished areas. 

Brookins, though, didn’t have such lofty political objectives. She was simply trying to do a good deed with her granddaughter, Brookins’ daughter, Shannon Earle, said. 

Instead Brookins was greeted by an architect from a firm that sits adjacent to the row of five planters. He reportedly took down her license plate number and demanded, “politely but firmly,” that she remove the paint. When her efforts to do so failed, she went to a Home Depot and purchased paint that matched the original terra cotta color. 

The unnamed architect reportedly objected to the new plants and flowers, as well, saying that passers-by would only ruin them.

David Brooks, who owns the flower pots and a nearby vacant lot, showed up and tried to assure Brookins she didn’t have to repaint the pots a second time. But after speaking with the architect, he is said to have changed his mind. 

Brooks then gave $40 to Earle’s 15-year-old daughter with some instructions.

“Take your grandma out to dinner, and not just a burger joint but a nice restaurant,” Earle said Brooks told her daughter. 

Brookins declined to comment on the experience in any detail. 

“I don't want any story,” she said. “It was just a community activity that we did. We probably went about it a little bit wrong. There were some highs and lows.”

Sources: Pioneer Press, The Washington Post

Photo Sources: Pioneer Press