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    Saint-Gilles fights for greener streets with blooming vines

    Authorities in Saint-Gilles are installing vines in residents homes to make up for the lack of trees in the municipality. Credit: Commune de Saint-Gilles/Facebook

    Authorities in Saint-Gilles have put up hundreds of vines and other climbing plants on resident’s buildings as part of an ongoing mission to see its streets bloom and make up for the lack of trees in the Brussels municipality.

    Since its launch in 2015, 422 flowering climbing plants such as jasmine, passionflower or Chinese trumpet climber have been put up in the façades of apartment buildings and houses in Saint-Gilles, according to Bruzz.

    The initiative has encountered such a success that it’s caused a surge in demand that authorities have been trying to keep up with.

    “We receive around 200 applications per year and can place around 100 plants. As a result, the waiting time runs up to a year,” Jean-François Gheysen, of Saint-Gilles’ Urban Green Cell, told the outlet.

    “Paradoxically, especially exotic plants are doing well in the municipality because we are in a heat island,” he added.

    Saint-Gilles residents can submit an application to have one climbing plant of their choice to be installed in the outer façade of their house or building.

    The initiative is led by an ad-hoc body which has made it its mission to “bring nature back into the city,” and make up for the fact that there are only 700 trees in the entire municipality, according to Gheysen.

    The project is part of a wider push by municipal official to make Saint-Gilles’ neighbourhoods greener, including the creation of “mini-gardens” at the foot of planted trees.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times