People Are Planting Flowers in Potholes Worldwide: See the Creative Protest Taking Place in Montreal, Ukraine & Beyond

In 2015, Paige Bre­i­thart, an artist and stu­dent liv­ing in Ham­tram­ck, Michi­gan, had grown tired of the count­less pot­holes mar­ring Ham­tram­ck­’s streets. So she took mat­ters into her own hands, and drove around town, fill­ing the pot­holes with flow­ers, replac­ing the decay with sym­bols of growth and beau­ty. The sto­ry went viral, and Bre­i­thart’s aes­thet­ic treat­ment has since caught on. Look around Twit­ter, and you’ll find sto­ries about flow­ers fill­ing pot­holes around the Unit­ed States, and indeed around the world.

In some cas­es, these gueril­la projects aren’t just dec­o­ra­tive, a sim­ple way to spruce up a neigh­bor­hood. There’s an activist ele­ment to them. In Bath, Eng­land, one flower pot vig­i­lante said:

In an area of Amer­i­ca there were a load of pot­holes filled in with pot plants, although that’s not what we are doing here. We think it’s a good thing to do but it’s more than about mak­ing peo­ple smile. Pot­holes are a real prob­lem and have the poten­tial to be death traps for bik­ers and cyclists and with cars there is an issue with blow-outs to wheels. The whole point is to raise aware­ness of them.

And local gov­ern­ments are tak­ing notice, though not always hap­pi­ly. Con­cerned that dri­vers might get sur­prised or dis­tract­ed by flow­ers sud­den­ly appear­ing in the mid­dle of a road, politi­cians are dis­cour­ag­ing this form of protest. But you can’t argue with the results. Once pro­test­ers call atten­tion to them, the pot­holes have a mag­i­cal way of get­ting prop­er­ly paved and filled. Quick­ly.

Below you can see a gallery of pot­holes around the world that have got­ten the flower treatment–from Mis­soula, Mon­tana, to Mon­tre­al, Bath, Bosnia and Ukraine. Maybe the artist from Chica­go (see image at bot­tom) is the one who got it right?

Wet­zel Coun­ty, West Vir­ginia


Mis­soula, Mon­tana


Mon­tre­al, Cana­da


Cor­ner Brook, Cana­da


Bath, Eng­land


Berwick­shire, Scot­land


Edin­burgh, Scot­land







via Twist­ed Sifter/My Mod­ern Met

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Comments (3)
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  • Chantal says:

    I just fin­ished a 34 day road trip on my motor­cy­cle and let me tell you there are some dan­ger­ous pot­holes out there on city streets and high­ways. See­ing flow­ers in the road would be less dan­ger­ous and dis­tract­ing than my front tire blow­ing out or me los­ing con­trol because of a pot­hole. How­ev­er, I do think those putting the ter­ra­cot­ta pot in the pot­holes have gone too far.
    When city admin­is­tra­tors say cit­i­zens should report pot­holes rather than plant flow­ers they’re not tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion that most of these “urban vig­i­lantes” have tak­en such dras­tic mea­sures because the prop­er report­ing pro­ce­dures have not reme­died the prob­lem. In my opin­ion, most of the gar­den­ing road war­riors must feel like they’ve been left with no oth­er choice but to take action and force the issue.

  • Steffan Joseph says:

    Wow! I have nev­er thought that this thing can also be done. Real­ly amaz­ing. Thanks for shar­ing such a great post.

  • Deb says:

    My daugh­ter is a bicy­cle couri­er in Philadel­phia and I’d appre­ci­ate if she could see road haz­ards like pot­holes. When she was young I told her ‘The Leg­end of the Pot­hole Planter’ which I’d heard some­time in the 80’s so the idea lives anew

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