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A Security Surprise at Israeli Embassy

The caladiums planted by the "Phantom Planter" are visible among the ivy in the security barriers outside the Israeli Embassy. (Amy Argetsinger/The Washington Post)

Last spring, a lone operative breached the security barriers outside the Israeli Embassy and covertly planted an unauthorized substance amid the ivy on top.

Proof of his trespass has now exploded -- into bloom! And the Phantom Planter is claiming credit for the beautiful pink-and-green caladium flowers. The man (who asked that he not be identified because, well, it would spoil the fun) told us he planted 45 caladium bulbs in the reinforced brick urns on Van Ness Street "in broad daylight."

When a guard approached to ask if he was "doing this for the embassy," the Phantom tells us he "looked him in the eye and said yes." Later, he faxed the embassy to alert them in both English and Hebrew: "Please do not call up the Reserves or send someone from Mossad to investigate. B-U-L-B-S. ... Not B-O-M-B-S."

Should it really be so easy to plant something outside one of the most secure embassies in D.C.? A spokesman told us the guard, just back from vacation, "was flattered that this gentleman would volunteer his time beautifying" the area. "If the flowers in question were henbane, however, it would be a different story."

By The Reliable Source  |  September 22, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
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Plants have a variety of parts - leaves, roots and flowers. I know the Washington Post is saving money by not having copyreaders, but surely you have someone there who can tell the difference between a leaf and a flower!!! Caladium bulbs are planted for the beauty of their leaves not flowers. Those large flat things attached to stems are leaves!! Stems by the way, are usually the thin things which attach the leaves or flowers to the rest of the plant. Nothing is in "bloom"!! There are no flowers shown in the photo, just leaves and very large obvious leaves.

Posted by: JoyceV | September 22, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

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