Blog: Marimurtra alive

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:

The Carl Faust Foundation launches the museological project of the 50 most remarkable specimens from the Marimurtra Botanical Garden collection

On the occasion of the International Day of Botanical Gardens (second Friday of October), the Carl Faust Foundation presents the Costa Brava Botanical Museum project, a tour of the collection of the 50 most outstanding specimens of Marimurtra that you can now enjoy through labels with QR codes distributed along the route through the Botanical Garden, which provide detailed and descriptive information on each of the specimens in the collection.

According to ICOM (the international organization that regulates museums), all botanical gardens are also considered museums. In the case of Marimurtra, in addition, the relevant arrangements will be made before the Generalitat de Catalunya to enter the register managed by the Catalan Government. The Carl Faust Foundation, manager of the Marimurtra Botanical Garden, has opted for a museum operation that is adapted to new technologies and that at the same time offers a simple operation for the user. Each of the 50 remarkable specimens in the collection is identified by a QR with the species name. When the visitor scans the QR, they access a species file where they can consult the description of the plant, what the Marimurtra specimen looks like, some curiosities about the species, some of its main uses and some botanical classifications.

Apart from the QRs, a map has also been placed at the entrance to the Garden explaining how the Museum works and the location of these 50 specimens. On the museum website, there is also a welcome video where the project is presented and a short tutorial on how to use the QR codes and how to follow the museum’s route inside the Garden.

This project aims to bring science and botany closer to visitors to Marimurtra, as well as achieve an impact and learning after their visit. Apart from being a Botanical Garden with captivating views, Marimurtra is also a center for research, dissemination and conservation of the biodiversity of species.

The Marimurtra Botanical Garden was created during the 1920s by the German businessman and philanthropist Carl Faust with the intention of being a center for research, study and conservation of botanical specimens of great interest to the scientific community. His legacy lives on today through the Carl Faust Foundation, which ensures that the Botanical Garden is kept in perfect condition for visitors and also takes Faust’s will to turn it into a space dedicated to plant conservation, study of Mediterranean biology and dissemination of scientific and environmental values.

The Marimurtra Botanical Garden is classified as a Cultural Asset of National Interest and in 2009 the Carl Faust Private Carl Foundation was awarded the Sant Jordi Cross from the Generalitat de Catalunya.

Get to know the story of the gardener Enric Omella with the Marimurtra Botanical Garden

Enric Omella, master gardener, tells us about his experience during his stay at the Marimurtra Botanical Garden in 1975.

He started in the world of gardening from a biology and geology teacher he had in high school at that time. The way the classes were taught made him motivated to study. To such an extent, at the age of sixteen, that he went to the library of the University of Barcelona to continue researching and learning about botany.

In this conversation with Jordi Fàbregas, head of the Marimurtra garden, he comments on the differences and tasks that are still valid today for the organization of the garden. The way of sorting and delimiting the plants by zones that can be found there, based on tiles, stands out. They are ordered alphabetically or by common characteristics.

He also explains his experience or collaboration between gardens where he was able to be a gardener, such as: Miramar, Cap Roig or Pinya de Rosa.

Marimurtra Botanical Garden, the protagonist of an episode of the second season of Healing gardens, a Canadian documentary series about gardens around the world

Healing Gardens is a documentary series from Vision TV, (Zoomer Television) a Canadian network, which explores the transformative capabilities of gardens. The fifth episode of this season was recorded during the spring of this year at the Marimurtra Botanical Garden.

In the episode, Charlie Dobbin, the host of the show, interviews different people who interact with Marimurtra to learn about their relationship with the Garden and how they fall in love with it.

First of all, he talks to expert ornithologist and environmental consultant Pere Alzina, who explains his task of inventorying and studying the birds that fly over Marimurtra.

The director general of the Carl Faust Private Foundation, Josep Borrell, is also interviewed. The founder of the Garden, Carl Faust, created the Foundation to ensure the continuity of his work and, in the documentary, Borrell explains how the botanical management is in this privileged place and some of the main projects of the Garden, projects that promote the dissemination, conservation and research of botany.

Anna Sans, head of the Dissemination Department of the Carl Faust Foundation, explains how the Garden is conceived as an ecosystem in which not only plant species interact, but there is a large network of relationships between insects, birds, mammals, plants , etc.; and how important it is to take care of all these relationships.

The botanist’s master gardener, Jordi Fàbregas, talks about the distribution of the Garden and how they conceive their maintenance task for the more than 4,000 species from all over the world that live together in Marimurtra.

Finally, you can enjoy some short clips with extra content on the website of the documentary, among which there is an interview with Christopher Witty, one of the members of the board of trustees of the Carl Faust Foundation, who has a great passion for nature and, he affirms, that “he often understands plants better than humans”.

The documentary can be viewed here:

The Carl Faust Private Foundation was created in 1951 by Carl Faust. 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…” .

The Marimurtra Botanical Garden is classified as a Cultural Asset of National Interest and in 2009 the Carl Faust Private Carl Foundation was awarded the Sant Jordi Cross from the Generalitat de Catalunya.

Marimurtra welcomes Mia and Louisa, volunteers of the ESC European program

On October 1st, 2023, Mia and Louisa arrived in Blanes to join the Marimurtra team. They are the two German volunteers who are part of the “Volunteers for a Green Future” project, coordinated together with the German organization Naturkultur, e.V. and framed in the European program “European Solidarity Corps”.

The Carl Faust Private Foundation, host organization for this project, owner and manager of the Marimurtra Botanical Garden, welcomes two volunteers from the European Solidarity Corps from October until June. This European program aims to offer young people the opportunity to participate in volunteering projects that benefit the community that hosts them, as well as providing them with high-level non-formal learning. Specifically, this project lasts nine months and receives more than 90 requests each year.

During their stay, the volunteers participate in activities at the Botanical Garden related to sustainable conservation, education and scientific dissemination and the applied research that is carried out in Marimurtra. In addition, thanks to the collaboration with the Linguistic Standardization Consortium (CNL), the volunteers will participate in a basic level Catalan course to facilitate their integration in our home.

This is the fifth time that Marimurtra has participated in the ESC program by hosting volunteers, since it received the European quality seal in 2019, thus continuing the presence of international volunteers in its facilities in a program linked to the European Union which we can already consider consolidated.

voluntaries marimurtra esc
MLouisa (on the left) and Mia (on the right) in the pergola of the Marimurtra Botanical Garden


50th anniversary of the Manifesto ‘Catalan, language of scientific expression’

On August 20th, the event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Manifesto ‘Catalan, language of scientific expression’ took place in Prada de Conflent, in which Josep Maria Camarasa, member of the board of trustees of the Fundació Carl Faust, manager of the Marimurtra Botanical Garden.

Josep Maria Camarasa is one of the four surviving speakers of the eleven who presented the manifesto 50 years ago.

In 1973, the manifesto on the use of Catalan in scientific communication was presented, drawn up by 11 speakers of different ages and specialties who represented the different generations of Catalan scientists active at the time.

Although the manifesto was presented at the beginning of the decade of the 70s, it is contextualized in the era of ‘sixties’, which as well transcribed by Camarasa “It was a plural movement and of great vitality, which manifested itself as the expression of a very fierce collective will in which two objectives converged: the rejection of Francoism and the affirmation of culture (and language) as a defining form of Catalan identity”.

The presentation of this Manifesto was a belated manifestation of all the movements and actions that took place during the ‘sixties’: resumption of the science branches of the IEC, launch of the Great Catalan Encyclopedia with considerable attention to the topics scientists, incorporation of valuable scientists such as Enric Casassas, Ramon Margalef or Antoni Prevosti into the UB and the nascent UAB, first participation in Antarctic expeditions by Catalan scientists such as Antoni Ballester or Josefina Castellví, scientific vocabularies such as the Electronic Dictionary of Lluis Marquet (1971) or the Vocabulary of Medicine (1974) of the Academy of Medical Sciences, among other milestones.

On August 25, 1973, Oriol Casassas and Ramon Folch presented in the gymnasium of the Liceu Renouvier de Prada, in front of 300 people, the initial document they had drafted, which was approved, with some amendments, in the following weeks it was signed by numerous scientists from the Catalan Countries and was presented to the Institute of Catalan Studies.

The manifesto claims the use of the Catalan language in all areas but specifically in the scientific community and establishes different criteria for scientific publications with very solid arguments that take into account the history and use of the language.

A document that has become extremely important for the consolidation and regularization of the Catalan language in all its areas, but above all in the field of science.

The recorded memorial service can be viewed at this link.

50è aniversari del Manifest El català, llengua d'expressió científica