Gardeners remove essential ivy from living artwork in Utrecht

The wall painting last year after it was unveiled. Photo: Angeliek de Jonge ANP

A living ivy plant which was part of a work of art on the side of an apartment block in Utrecht has been removed by gardeners, much to the consternation of local residents.

The ivy was supposed to creep up the side of the building on which a giraffe and  a plant had been painted, to make a living work of art.

The mural of the giraffe was unveiled last year and, said artist Jan Heinsbroek at the time, the work would improve over the years as the ivy grew.

On Wednesday, however, the ivy was removed on the instructions of housing corporation Woonin and has been replaced by a clematis plant which, the landlord said, would fix itself better to the wall.

Artist Heinsbroek, better known as JanIsDeMan, told RTV Utrecht the decision to take down the plant was “a real shame”. The ivy had been decided on together with Woonin, he said.

Three years ago there was another incident involving plant art in Utrecht, when a council worker removed all the plants which were growing between a flight of steps – not realizing that they were there to encourage wildlife.

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