Blog: Marimurtra alive

The Carl Faust Foundation presents the first issue of El Jardí d’Epicur, the magazine of academic and informative articles of the Jardí Botànic Marimurtra

This is the first online publication of the Foundation’s own publishing house, Edicions de Marimurtra

The Garden of Epicurus offers a deep and reflective look at the results and knowledge generated in this “Epicurean Republic of biologists” (in Carl Faust’s own words) created a century ago. The publication highlights the importance of contemporary science which, apart from enriching botanical knowledge, also has a social impact and improves society in general.

The magazine presents a combination of scientific and informative articles, reflecting the continuous development of the Garden and its adaptation to the new times. With this publication, we seek not only to share knowledge, but also to show that Faust’s garden, as an epicurean garden, remains alive and evolving, just as its founder would have liked.

The publication wants to be seen as another of the productions and creations of gardeners, scientists and science lovers around the Costa Brava Botanical Garden. A tool to transmit scientific reflection, the deepening of botanical knowledge and the dissemination of all this knowledge that arises as another fruit of Marimurtra.

The publication can be consulted for free online at

The Carl Faust Foundation was created in 1951 by the founder of the Marimurtra Botanical Garden, Carl Faust, with the aim of continuing his work. Among its founding objectives are “…the protection and promotion of studies in Mediterranean biology, especially in botany, […] seeking cooperation and international relations for the benefit, all in all, of scientific research and dissemination…” .

Consult the magazine

Marimurtra Botanical Garden publishes Index Seminum 2023-2024 with 185 botanical taxa

The Index Seminum is a catalog that contains the available seeds. The one in Marimurtra, this year has 185 botanical taxa included in 53 families. As a novelty, this year highlights the presence of 32 traditional horticultural varieties (tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins…), most of them from Catalonia, the result of the research, conservation and dissemination objectives of the Botanical Garden.

This catalog is a network of connections between botanical gardens around the world, where research centers and universities are also linked. The objective of Index Seminum is to facilitate the free exchange of seeds between these centers to facilitate the conservation and study of plant species.
During 2023, the Marimurtra Botanical Garden published the Index Seminum with 175 taxa and 60 families, having made 33 shipments to 21 botanical gardens or research centers in 16 different countries, adding up a total of 290 batches of seeds.

Requests can be made through the form that can be found on the website, as well as consulting all the taxa and details of the Index Seminum del Jardín. Applications are accepted until April 30, 2024.

The Carl Faust Foundation was created in 1951 by the creator of the Marimurtra Botanical Garden, Carl Faust, with the aim of continuing his work. Among its founding objectives are “…the protection and promotion of Mediterranean biology studies, especially in botany […] seeking cooperation and international relations for the benefit, all of this, of scientific research and dissemination .. .”.

2023 report on the monitoring of birds in the Marimurtra Botanical Garden

The report made by the environmental consultant Pere Alzina i Bilbeny in 2023 on the ornithological monitoring in the Marimurtra Botanical Garden, in Blanes, presents detailed data on the species of birds that inhabit or visit this natural space. With an area of 16 hectares and a location between the Mediterranean Sea, forests and urban areas, the botanical garden is home to a rich variety of birds.

During the four visits carried out throughout the year 2023, a total of 35 species of birds were identified, with a special emphasis on nesting species. Several categories of nesting probability have been recorded, ranging from possible to certain, including species such as the Great-breasted Tern, the Black-breasted Tern and the Heron.

The document highlights the presence of 30 species that show signs of reproduction, among which the blue tern, the tudon and the crayfish stand out. The importance of protecting the environment and the species present is highlighted, with the aim of maintaining biological diversity.

In addition, Pere underlines Marimurtra’s involvement in environmentally sustainable practices, such as the cessation of the use of biocides and chemical fertilizers, and actions to promote ornithological fauna and their habitats.

This report contributes to a better understanding of the dynamics and richness of the ancestral fauna of the Marimurtra Botanical Garden, highlighting its importance as a space for conservation and scientific research in the context of international botanical gardens.

Download here the complete report on bird monitoring in the Marimurtra Botanical Garden 2023 by Pere Alzina.

The Marimurtra Botanical Garden has carried out the fertilization of the Encephalartos natalensis

On Sunday, December 14th, there was an exceptional event in Marimurtra: the fertilization of the two female cones of Encephalartos natalensis. The history of cicadas goes back more than 200 million years, they are prehistoric plants and in fact, they coexisted with dinosaurs. Specifically, the species Encephalartos natalensis belongs to the Zamiaceae family and forms a fundamental part of the garden’s botanical collection. The vast majority of leafhoppers are seriously threatened in their natural habitats, adding a crucial component to the importance of this event, for its significance in terms of plant conservation.

The specimen of Encephalartos natalensis from Marimurtra is female and has produced two cones, the reproductive structures of these prehistoric gymnosperms. One of the cones has been fertilized with Encephalartos longifolius pollen, thanks to the collaboration of cicada expert Simon Lavaud from France. Simultaneously, the other cone has been fertilized with pollen from Encephalartos horridus, a species belonging to the Marimurtra Botanical Garden.
The pollination technique, carried out dry without the use of water, closely emulates natural conditions. Using an air bulb, the precise introduction of pollen into the cones has been achieved, a practice that mimics how this fertilization would happen in the wild, thanks to the role of insects.

The prospect of developing two hybrids from this fertilization is exciting, although it will take almost a year and a half to determine the success of this initiative. The scales of the cones close after allowing pollination, protecting the ovules inside as they mature into seeds. In approximately 6 months, they will have done so and will be collected. Another six to eight months of waiting will still be required before they can be sown and their viability checked, anticipating a promising spring of 2025 to know the fate of these unique hybrids.

Learn about the experience of the European volunteers in Marimurtra, Mia and Louisa

Mia and Louisa arrived in Marimurtra in October 2023. After two months of this international volunteering experience of the European Solidarity Corps program and living with the Botanical Garden, they tell us about their experience in the first person:

We are enjoying our first few weeks in Blanes to the fullest! We can now start working in the garden which is very exciting. We get on very well with the gardeners. Although we are still struggling with the language, we sometimes find a way to communicate and understand the jokes of the gardeners. Our tasks are mainly cutting plants such as palm trees and hedges, but also weeding and working with biological extracts for fertilization. In addition, we take care of the bird feeders and watch the birds in the garden.

Every Monday and Wednesday we visit the language school to learn Catalan and we can use it directly with the gardeners. This is very satisfying.

Due to the good weather lately, we often spend the afternoons on the beach enjoying the beautiful bays with less and less tourists. After discovering the urban center of Blanes, we were visited on the first weekend by a friend, who is currently staying in a village 40 km away. The three of us took a canoe trip to a nearby cove, which can only be done by boat and which we had already seen from the Botanical Garden. Also, they offered us the great opportunity to join the yoga class on Sundays at the botanical garden and we immediately decided to join the class weekly.

We also got in touch with eight very nice girls from Germany who are doing a year of volunteering in Tordera, which is very close to us. We met at the beach, had a picnic on the balcony and went to a climbing gym together. We also went to a Karaoke bar and participated in the city festival near the beach and visited the already mentioned friend in his nearby village.

Mia & Louisa

Mia und Louisa in Blanes, Spanien // 1. Bericht

Edicions de Marimurtra has published 2 new books

Francis Hallé in Marimurtra and the second volume of Marimurtra Collections on conifers and other gymnosperms are the titles published this 2024

Edicions de Marimurtra, the publishing label linked to the Carl Faust Foundation, owner and manager of the Marimurtra Botanic Garden, publishes the second volume of the botanical collection with a work dedicated to conifers and other gymnosperms. Conifers are trees with narrow or scale-shaped leaves, with rudimentary flowers, and with the particularity that their ovules and pollen are exposed, without any protection. Unlike angiosperms in which the seed is often covered inside the fruit.

Gymnosperms are plants that do not bear fruit, and reproduce through fertilization with the pollen of male specimens in the ovules of female specimens. Its seeds develop on the surface of scales or leaves, and are often modified to form cones.

This volume aims to show particularities of conifers and other gymnosperms, their importance in the environment and the species that we can see in the Marimurtra Botanical Garden. The intention is to highlight this group of woody plants, which, despite not being important in Mediterranean climates, are important because they make up the landscape and ethnobotany.

The book provides abundant photographic material with the aim of facilitating the location and identification of the conifers that can be seen during the visit to Marimurtra. But it has also had the graphic support of UrbanSketchers from Lloret de Mar, who, following a couple of visits to Marimurtra, created a series of illustrations that have given the book a very remarkable graphic and artistic added value.

The author of the work is Pere Fraga i Arguimbau, botanist and gardening specialist. Currently botanic curator and head of research at the Marimurtra Botanical Garden. For 22 years he has been working in the management of plant species in danger of extinction and in the control of their threats such as invasive exotic species EEI.

The other book is Francis Hallé in Marimurtra, a book that aims to allow the visitor to complement and remember his experience in the Garden with the help of some of the most outstanding specimens by the botanist illustrator Francis Hallé. For this reason, the magnificent illustrations of this work are also accompanied by the description of the types of arboreal architecture that is related to it, a location within the Garden and a comment that helps the visitor and explorer of Marimurtra to discover these forms and structures in the Botanical Garden in a fun and interesting way.

The authors of the book are Francis Hallé, a French botanist, ecologist and explorer born in 1938. He is known for his work in plant ecology and tropical biology, and has devoted many years to the study of primary forests and biodiversity; and Carles Burguera, botanist and curator of the herbarium and germplasm bank of the Marimurtra Botanical Garden. Responsible for carrying out a line of research on the recovery, restoration and study of botanical collections and promotes scientific dissemination.

Both publications have had the support of the Diputació de Girona.

The Nomad Blackboards Project, Marimurtra’s mobile blackboards

Welcome to “The Nomad Blackboards Project” at the Marimurtra Botanical Garden—an innovative initiative aimed at highlighting specific aspects of the Garden through the lens of science. This scientific outreach project allows for the dissemination of certain species, botanical concepts, notable specimens, or prominent locations within Marimurtra in an educational manner, using a flexible format.

“The Nomad Blackboards Project” consists of placing boards with significant content along the Garden, starting with a few boards and the plan to increase their number over time. We seek to integrate scientific knowledge with the natural beauty that surrounds us, without excessively altering the visual aspect of the Garden, offering a captivating experience for visitors.

The specific objectives of the project are to facilitate scientific education, highlight the importance of biodiversity, foster curiosity, and forge meaningful connections between visitors and the natural world. This initiative uses a flexible system that allows for periodic updates and content renewal, ensuring that the project remains dynamic, fresh, and relevant over time.

Each blackboard features a QR code—an interactive gateway to additional online information. By scanning the QR code, you’ll access supplemental knowledge, deepening your understanding of the scientific marvels and natural beauty that surround you.

Explore our online content to find not only more information but also, in some cases, scientific studies conducted on the highlighted topics. Join us on this scientific exploration as we use blackboards to present valuable information, share research findings, and create connections between the enchanting world of the Botanical Garden and the fascinating realms of science.

This project has been undertaken in collaboration with European volunteers, enriching the educational experience not only for our visitors but also for the volunteers themselves. Their dedication and contribution have played a vital role in bringing this project to life, fostering a vibrant exchange of ideas and perspectives. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to these volunteers, whose involvement has added a layer of depth and diversity to “The Nomad Blackboard Project.”

Science Week 2023 at the Marimurtra Botanical Garden

In November 2023, Science Week promoted by the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation (FCRI) was celebrated. Once again, the Marimurtra Botanical Garden joined in the celebration of science week with different events.

Science Week is aimed at all audiences and has as its fundamental objectives to bring science and technology closer to citizens and to encourage scientific vocations among the youngest.

In this edition, the Generalitat de Catalunya promoted the commemoration of Joan Oró Year, on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of the biochemist Joan Oró i Florensa. As part of this initiative, the figure and scientific career of this famous researcher from Lleida, an international reference in the study of the origin of life, will become the guiding thread of Science Week.

The Jardí Botànic Marimurtra made a proposal where experts and fans made their knowledge and experience of science and botany available to the public in three different days.

Download the poster

Thursday, November 16th

The first day of the week consisted of a technical morning by Mariano Sánchez, curator and head of the gardening and arboriculture unit of the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid – CSIC and co-director of the Urban Arboriculture Master at the Complutense University of Madrid . The day was divided into a theoretical part, where Mariano explained his learnings throughout his professional experience, as well as different botanical concepts in relation to the world of arboriculture.

Saturday November 18th

Marimurtra + scientific is a day to highlight some of the research, research and dissemination work carried out by different students, volunteers and collaborators at the Marimurtra Botanical Garden. Carles Burguera, responsible for the herbarium and germplasm bank of Marimurtra, participated in the first part of micro-presentations; Mia and Louisa, the two German volunteers of the European Solidarity Corps program; Anna Sans, head of the scientific dissemination department of the Marimurtra Botanical Garden and Josep Borrell, general director of the Carl Faust Foundation.
The second part consisted of a conference on biodiversity by Anna Sans, followed by ‘Birds of Marimurtra’ by expert ornithologist and environmental consultant Pere Alzina, responsible for the botanical bird inventory.

Sunday November 19

This edition of Science Week concluded with the guided tour ‘The Biodiversity of Marimurtra’, a visit that emphasizes the biodiversity that exists in Marimurtra and the actions carried out to promote it through management ecological and sustainable nature of the Garden, as well as the promotion of relationships between the plants and the auxiliary fauna that live there.

4th Mediterranean Plant Conservation Week

Marimurtra attended the 4th Mediterranean Plant Conservation Week in the Botanical Garden of Valencia. It is a congress intended to share and exchange knowledge with other organizations, entities and projects that work on the conservation and increase of the biodiversity of Mediterranean climate plants.

The congress program addressed topics such as the conservation of flora in Mediterranean habitats, the preservation of the seed bank and germplasm of species for future use, the reintegration of species in situ and ex situ, the analysis and actions in relation to invasive species for habitat restoration, the international cooperation network for the conservation of Mediterranean flora and tools for education, dissemination and communication of plant conservation.

Entities from different countries have participated in the congress, such as Cyprus, Malta, Portugal, Italy, Armenia, Lebanon, Serbia, Cape Verde, Greece, among others.

Pere Fraga, botanical conservator of Marimurtra, presented a micro-conference on the conservation of Menorcan flora and a poster on ‘Threatened coastal plant species of Catalonia: improving knowledge and ex situ conservation’ (see the poster here), while Anna Sans , scientific popularizer of Marimurtra, presented a poster on ‘A botanical garden and a wide variety of audiences, a commitment to the public and the promotion of scientific vocations. The case of the school public’ (see the poster here).

The presence of Marimurtra in these congresses is of great importance, as it opens the doors to international cooperation, one of the fundamental objectives of the Carl Faust Foundation, and brings new approaches to the task of conserving the biodiversity of species. In addition, it allows to publicize the conservation, research and dissemination work carried out by the Marimurtra Botanical Garden.

During the congress, a day was held to discuss the different strategies aimed at disseminating scientific research to citizens and making them participate in the conservation of plant biodiversity, as well as focusing on their own values or creating them new in relation to this current.

The Forestry Research and Experimentation Center (CIEF) and the Botanical Garden of the University of Valencia are mainly responsible for the organization of this 4th edition, in close collaboration with some units of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Fund for the Critical Ecosystem Association (CEPF).

The traditional garden varieties

varietats hortícoles marimurtra

Tomato plants, bean plants, artichoke plants, pepper plants, pumpkin plants, cabbages, lettuces, carrots… since humans began to grow plants for consumption, seeds and cuttings were the object of exchange or sale with which the different cultures have been integrating their products into their diet. In this way, nowadays wheat is cultivated, originally from the Middle East; aubergines, from northern India; citrus fruits, from the tropical and subtropical areas of Asia or potatoes, from South America.

With each new planting, the farmer selected the largest and best fruits and the plants most resistant to pests, inclement weather or those most adapted to the types of sun. In this way, year after year there has been a selection of the seeds destined for the plantations for the following season and without realizing it, we have carried out an artificial selection. So, in each area of the territory, people cultivate local varieties of tomatoes, beans or melons, the result of the history of the domestication of vegetables. These traditional varieties stand out for their taste, the great variety of colors or shapes, and sometimes also for the specific uses of some of their fruits.

The extension of agriculture and the use of monocultures break a little with this mosaic of local varieties, where seeds are often bought from large companies that distribute simultaneously to many countries. This uniformity of cultivated species presents a lower adaptability to the territory, and many times it is necessary for the farmer to use chemical products in order to eradicate pests or promote the development of plants. In this way, more and more, many of the varieties of all life are harder to find or, in some cases, end up being lost. The presence of these varieties in the market has also managed to revalue some of these plants, such as Santa Pau beans, crochet beans, Berguedà black peas, bull’s heart tomatoes or Montserrat tomatoes or calabash squash of angel, among many others. We must also think that these vegetables, fruits and vegetables are part of our plant, cultural and historical heritage.

The Jardí Botànic Marimurtra carries out activities and objectives of conservation and dissemination of the flora of the territory, ensuring that a large part of the wild and horticultural flora of Catalonia can be preserved. This year we have sown a wide variety of traditional horticultural species of pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, corn, courgettes, lettuce… coming from the Vallès Oriental Seed Bank, the Les Refardes association or other farmers. You will be able to find many of these specimens in the garden area of the garden or distributed in different places throughout the visit.

See all the horticultural variety files: