Disgruntled Groundskeeper Plants Crimson Flowers Instead of Cardinal Flowers

April 23, 2012 6:00 am
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Disgruntled Groundskeeper Plants Crimson Flowers Instead of Cardinal Flowers

Jarring. Surreal. Nightmarish. These are only a few words that have been used to describe the aftermath of disgruntled gardener John Scarborough’s rampage. Fed up and undervalued, John spent an entire weekend planting flowers all over campus that are crimson, rather than the iconic Stanford cardinal.

Earl Mackelroy, fitness enthusiast and economics professor, was the first to uncover the shocking trail of destruction on an early morning run. “I was jogging past a group of flowers and something just didn’t look right,” said Mackelroy. “Something just felt wrong—it didn’t take me long to figure out what it was. Crimson and cardinal clash horribly.”

When Mackelroy finally recovered, he was able to call the campus police, and within minutes the hunt for the culprit was on. But the search proved unnecessary.

Head Groundskeeper Theodore Schmidt discovered Scarborough’s 50 page manifesto, Painting the Roses Red: A Gardner’s Journey of Reasonable Demands and Self Discovery. In the manifesto, Scarborough threatened to switch the labels on Paper and Glass recycling cans, to replace Stanford’s block S with a “curvier, more feminine S,” and to wash chalk messages off pavement before people get a chance to read them.

Luckily, a campus SWAT team broke into Scarborough’s Palo Alto apartment and he is safely in custody. Students are encouraged to stay away from heavily flowered areas until the school can undo the damage, in a clean-up effort that may cost tens of dollars.