Blog: Marimurtra alive

One hundred years of the purchase of the first lands of Marimurtra

We don’t know when Carl Faust, the founder of Marimurtra, visited Blanes for the first time. It’s likely that it was in the middle of the first decade of the last century. He was in his thirties then, and used to take group trips to different corners of this land, usually to high mountain areas, but also along the wild Costa Brava, that dazzled and captivated him. In a letter written in 1947 he told his friend Josep Cuatrecasas, “what people see now, I already saw on my first visit“. And that was how, in 1918, at a time when business was going very well and he was beginning to think about what his future would be like, he decided to buy an initial piece of land from which the botanical garden would eventually be born.

On January 14, and before the notary Joan Coma y Cirés, he bought, for 150 pesetas, a “piece of vineyard land, in part, of third class, and uncultivated part, located in this municipal area and called San Francisco, of space, a little more or less twenty-four areas eighty and one centiareas. It is bordered to the North by the road that leads from this town to San Francisco, to the south by the Mediterranean Sea, to the East by José Vieta and to the west by Mariano Verdaguer. This was an old vineyard that, probably due to the phylloxera plague that had ravaged Catalonia twenty-five or thirty years previously, had been left unproductive and was now partially barren.

Perhaps barren from a viticultural perspective, the place was however quite special: a space of rock and sand inclined towards the sea, with a moderate thermal variability, protected from the north winds, with low salinity and a high relative humidity. Such characteristics that I would share with the other farms that, from the following year, I would acquire and so form the totality of the current garden, and that would make Marimurtra the ideal place to grow plants that, until then, had not been obtainable in any part of Europe.

Marimurtra continues to develop its sustainable gardening practices; now preparing its own fermented organic fertilizer:  Bokashi

The word Bokashi is Japanese, meaning fermented organic matter. It’s a type of fertilizer produced by aerobic fermentation of organic materials, via heat generated during decomposition.

Josep Sauleda presented this innovative method of preparing fertilizer by Jairo Restrepo to the last meeting of ‘Bad Gardeners of Marimurtra’, and with his help, we have applied it to the Gardens.
This biological fertilizer promotes self-sufficiency through the use of what nature itself provides, without requiring any chemical additives. In this way, a natural, ecological and sustainable fertilizer is ensured that enriches the soil biologically, transforming it from an inert substrate to a fertile, living soil.

In order to produce the Bokashi for Marimurtra, the following ingredients have been used: heather remains and rice husk flour as carbon sources; chicken manure from our resident flock of Catalan heritage chickens, cow dung; and ordinary garden soil, clay and rock meal.
Water with beet-sugar molasses is added until a homogeneous mixture results. Then it is covered with a tarpaulin and allowed to ferment. Since it is an aerobic process it must be stirred often to keep it oxygenated.
The fermentation is relatively rapid, taking between 15 and 20 days. It’s a fast-performing fertilizer that provides a large quantity of microorganisms to the soil.

Additions to Marimurtra’s cycad collection

Marimurtra Botanical Garden is expanding its collection of cycads thanks to collaborators Javier Garcia Pua and Simon Lavaud

The recent exchange with Javier Garcia Púa has offered Marimurtra the opportunity to acquire a very valuable specimen for the garden’s collection of cycads. A hybrid of the palms Jubaea chilensis and Butia odorata was exchanged for the cycad Encephalartos lebomboensis, a native of South Africa like most cycads. This species is in danger of extinction and is at risk of disappearing in its wild state.

Two specimens of Dioon merolae and one Macrozamia mountperriensis were also purchased. With the help of cycad specialist Simon Lavaud, these specimens have been planted in different strategic areas of the Garden.

Dioon merolae is also in danger of extinction. While the two new specimens are relatively young, specimens more than 500 years old have been found. You can determine their age by the length of the trunk, or stem. To know the sex of the plant, you must await its cone-shaped inflorescence. Males and females look different.

These species add value to the collection of cycads, which continues to increase in variety and number of species, with the aim of guaranteeing the survival of this genus, as many cycad species are in danger of extinction. The collection at Marimurtra is fast becoming one of the most important collections of cycad in Europe, with acquisition of new species included in the garden’s budget.

Innovating the detection of Red Palm Weevils

As always at Marimurtra, we work to ensure sustainability of the environment. Recently, an innovative system created by IoTrees, has been implemented to detect Red Palm Weevils (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus) which attack our palm trees. The new system consists of seismic sensors that are placed in the palm and detect the sounds weevils make as they chew their way towards the growing point or ‘heart’ of the palm. (Unlike other plants, palms have only one growing point, and if that is destroyed the palm cannot re-grow, and it dies).

marimurtraThis small insect is the culprit behind the deaths of thousands of palm trees every year in our country, and milions worldwide. The weevil has become a real plague that affects a large number of Communities in Spain, especially those located in coastal areas, and its pace of expansion has been unstoppable, and seemingly as well, the damage caused to the palm trees. The larva is the life stage that really causes the greatest damage to the palm trees. After hatching, they feed on the soft inner tissues and new growth of the tree, and it is at this moment that death begins for the palm.
In the Marimurtra Botanical Garden, a total of 4 palm trees have died due to this insect and, in order to avoid future attacks, an innovative and environmentally friendly system has been sought to help identify sufficiently in advance the specimens that suffer from this plague.

The sensors have incorporated a system that detects seismic movements. When they detect a match for a sound wave pattern coinciding with the sound of a weevil biting the palm stipule, it sends a signal to a mobile device, warning that that palm is being attacked. It is able to detect a larva of only 1 cm in length, which allows a very early detection of the attack to guarantee the survival of the specimen.

marimurtraA seismic sensor is placed in the stipule of the palm tree. In this way, it is able to detect all movements that occur in the palm tree. Its system of detection of the weevils is very effective and innovative, since it excludes the natural movements produced by the wind or the rain, but zeroes in on the movement and the vibration of the weevils chewing the palm.

In this way, the death of any specimen can be prevented by early detection. Once detected, we provide a treatment with plant extracts to eradicate the pest before it is too late. In Marimurtra, no chemicals are used and the treatment is done with Neem (Azadirachta indica) vegetable oil.

The most awaited bloom of the year in the Marimurtra Botanical Garden of the Costa Brava is now in full glory

Drossanthemum floribundum carpets the stone blocks bordering Marimurtra’s ‘Steps of Epicurus’ with a waterfall of pink.

The 81 Steps of Epicurus are one of the most significant constructions of Marimurtra, structured in 9 different levels of 9 steps each, the stairway is famed for tits majesty, for the stunning views provided, and for the color offered by the Drosanthemum during Spring. Due to its visual delight, Epicurus’ Steps during full flower has become one of the most representative images of the botanical garden on the Costa Brava.
Escales Epicur Marimurtra
Also known by the common name ‘Midday Flower’ or Queen’s Hair, this is a classic species because of the multitude of pink flowers it provides during its ephemeral flowering. Native to South Africa, and thus well adapted to wet winters and dry summers, it is commonly used in Meditarranean gardening as a living carpet. Drosanthemum’s leaves are covered with water cells and this makes them glisten as if dew-covered or freshly watered, the flowers are a pale pink color and unfortunately its flowering lasts approximately 3 weeks, between March and June. In addition, they are a great source of pollen collection by the pollinating bees of the Garden.
Drosanthemum Marimurtra

They are given the common name of ‘Midday Flower’, since they require a lot of sunlight to open up. Therefore, sunny days are ideal to enjoy this species, and especially when the sun is in its most perpendicular to the Earth, at noon. On cloudy and rainy days its flowers remain closed. The genus name Drosanthemum is derived from the Greek for dew, drosos, and flower, anthos, referring to the glittering appearance of many species. Their abundant flowering inspired another common name, ‘Queen’s Hair’, while the scientific name ‘floribundum’ is from the Latin for “many flowered”.

In addition to their botanical content interest, the Epicurus’ Steps mark the promise of love between two people. In the Marimurtra Botanical Garden weddings are held, and the spectacular descent of the bride takes place on these majestic stairs. It is a unique moment and the beginning of the path to the exclusive ceremony at the Temple of Linnaeus.

‘Fan of Marimurtra’

Last March the Carl Faust Foundation organized the photographic contest ‘H2oMarimurtra’ on social networks on the occasion of the celebration of World Water Day. The winners were awarded with the ‘Fan de Marimurtra’ card, a new project that offers visitors the chance to enjoy an annual fee to visit the botanical garden of the Costa Brava.


This project arises from the demand of some visitors that want to explore the Garden in its different stages and see how it evolves throughout the seasons of the year. A garden is a living museum that is related to the immediate physical environment and that it is connected with the changing factor of nature. Thus, the evolution of the collection of more than 4,000 species from five different continents of the Marimurtra Botanical Garden it is magic for the eyes: in the spring, most of the Mediterranean flowering species can be observed, but in winter , there are many species that reach their peak of splendor, such as aloes, euphorbiae or cactus.

The ‘Fans of Marimurtra’ will be able to acquire their accreditation at the Botanical Garden Marimurtra store. It costs € 30 and allows you to visit the Garden as many times as you wish for a natural year from the time of its acquisition. They are personal and non-transferable.

You can contact marimurtra@marimurtra.cat or at 972 33 08 26 to acquire the cards ‘Fan de Marimurtra’ or for more information.

Water in Marimurtra Botanical Garden

Marimrutra Botanical Garden benefits from new projects themed around the importance and benefits of water

Water is an element of nature, integral to natural ecosystems, fundamental for reproducing life on the planet. It is indispensable in making possible the development of biological processes.

At Marimurtra Botanical Garden, we are very aware of both the need and importance of water: not only for the hydration and nutrients that it offers to the Garden, but also in a visual and sensory sense. We have begun a series of changes in our water systems and devices.
On the operational side, the Garden’s rainwater catchment system has been rehabilitated to optimize our use of water. Recovering the knowledge and practices of our ancestors, using basic materials and tools, a mechanism has been created to keep the rainwater and the underground water from being lost, we use this very efficiently, to the last drop.

La mina del Jardí Botànic Marimurtra
Botanical Garden Marimurtra’s mine

Therefore, at a time when there is an increasing scarcity of water resources, the improved efficiency achieved thanks to the collection system will provide significant environmental and economic benefits. Our irrigation supplies will gain from the 1.402.373,4 liters of collected water per year.

On the experiential side, we recognize that ‘water is life’ and the sounds produced by its movement helps to create a healing sensation of peace and calm for the visitor. The sources of the Garden are an essential element in this process, especially at the landscape level.

Marimurtra will create a new space of peace and relaxation through the fountains installed in the third garden: with the addition of three pumps, water will be able to circulate throughout the space. This will create the relaxing atmosphere, while being on-hand for some irrigation. By circulating continuously, stagnation is prevented, and mosquitoes are prevented.

Recognizing the importance of water for sustainability of the environment, Marimurtra Botanical Garden is organizing a photo contest on social networks (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) in which the main theme is water in Marimurtra.

Express yourself with the hashtags #h2omarimurtra and #marimurtra and share with us your creative perception of the water inside the garden. The contest will be active until Sunday, March 25th at 11:59 p.m. The 5 most original photographs will be selected, of which 4 finalists will be awarded and one winner. The winner can enjoy an annual subscription to visit the Marimurtra Botanical Garden, a breakfast for two in the garden’s café area and a gift from a selction of Km0 craft products from Marimurtra.

Liven up and do not let your opportunity escape!

Check the contest rules here.

 

 

El Jardí Botànic Marimurtra va rebre el 2017 un total de 119.390 persones

Aquesta dada significa un increment de 12.125 persones respecte el 2016 i és la millor registrada des del 2003

El Jardí Botànic Marimurtra, a Blanes, va rebre durant el 2017 un total de 119.390 visitants, xifra que representa un increment de l’11% respecte el 2016. La pujada és encara més destacable si es compara amb l’exercici de 2015, any en què van visitar Marimurtra 95.374 persones. La dada de visitants que Marimurtra va rebre el passat 2017 és la millor registrada des del 2003.

El grup més destacat de visitants que va rebre Marimurtra va ser el d’origen francès, seguit del català i, ja a més distància, el rus i el polonès.

  • Públic francès: 25.296 visitants
  • Públic català: 25.163 visitants
  • Públic rus: 13.539 visitants
  • Públic polonès: 10.785 visitants
Imatge de l’entrada al Jardí Botànic Marimurtra l’estiu de 2017

La visita al Jardí Botànic Marimurtra, un dels dos únics de Catalunya i l’únic de la Costa Brava, continua presentant unes dades d’estacionalitat molt elevada, tal i com indica la dada de que el 83% dels visitants van anar a Marimurtra en el període de primavera i estiu (abril-setembre) mentre que nomes el 17% ho van fer la resta de mesos. En aquest sentit, la Fundació Carl Faust ha preparat un seguit d’accions per fer més atractiva la visita en els mesos que cauen fora de al temporada alta. Aquestes accions estan pensades també per promoure la vessant pedagògica de Marimurtra, i consisteixen en posar a disposició dels visitants uns materials lúdics i didàctics per fer en família i que es poden descarregar gratuïtament del web del Jardí Botànic http://www.marimurtra.cat/recursos-educatius/www.marimurtra.cat

La Fundació Carl Faust, propietària i gestora del Jardí Botànic Marimurtra, valora molt positivament aquestes xifres en un context de recuperació del turisme a Catalunya i de la Costa Brava en particular. També en la revitalització d’un interès pels paratges més icònics i significatius de casa nostra, entre els quals destaca Marimurtra, una proposta lúdica i cultural amb un gran interès botànic i paisatgístic.

La Fundació Carl Faust és una fundació privada sense ànim de lucre que el 2009 va rebre la Creu de Sant Jordi de la Generalitat de Catalunya. El Jardí Botànic Marimurtra està classificat com a Bé Cultural d’Interès Nacional per la Generalitat de Catalunya.

El Rebost de Marimurtra

Coincidint amb la Setmana de la Ciència vàrem estrenar a Marimurtra una nova visita guiada, ‘El rebost de Marimurtra’. En aquesta visita es vol posar en valor la importància de la conservació i millora de la biodiversitat. Durant el recorregut pel jardí es mostren i s’expliquen les relacions que estableixen la fauna i la flora de Marimurtra. Es vol transmetre al visitant la idea que podem veure el jardí com un gran rebost per a la fauna diversa que hi viu o que el visita. Per exemple les merles i els pit-roigs que viuen a Marimurtra, cada cop més acostumats a la presència humana, tenen els àpats assegurats quan als parterres humits, un cop regats, troben una munió de cucs que han tret el cap per respirar. També es descobriran les restes de pinyes rosegades pels esquirols o es veurà algun exemplar de la papallona de l’arboç (Charaxes jasius) la menja preferida de la qual son les fulles de cirerer d’arboç (Arbutus unedo). En tot ecosistema natural es produeixen relacions entre el sòl, la vegetació i la fauna. El Jardí Botànic Marimurtra és un ecosistema creat per l’home, artificial, però tot i això, aquestes relacions també es donen de manera natural i, a més, nosaltres les potenciem.

Marimurtra
Materials per a la visita ‘El Rebost de Marimurtra’.

A Marimurtra s’ha apostat per un treball que dia a dia realitza accions de conservació i millora de la diversitat biològica. L’objectiu és millorar la condició de l’hàbitat de manera que es contribueixi al desenvolupament de la flora i de diferents grups de vertebrats e invertebrats. Un bon exemple és l’hort del Marimurtra. Un hort representa la possibilitat d’un bon àpat no només per a nosaltres sinó també a per molts altres éssers vius. Els horts configuren ecosistemes rics per la presència d’una gran varietat de plantes i animals. Atrauen tot tipus de fauna: invertebrats, ocells, petits mamífers, etcètera. Aquesta presència, lluny de ser una nosa per als horts , contribueix de manera decisiva a assolir l’equilibri d’aquest hàbitat i del jardí. Així, per exemple, alguns ocells s’alimenten de larves o d’insectes que resulten perjudicials per a les hortalisses. Igualment, amfibis, rèptils i mamífers, així com alguns insectes- com la marieta- ajuden a mantenir a ratlla les plagues hortícoles. Això es considera tant important que els jardiners de Marimurtra treballen tenint en compte que la flora útil actuï de reclam de la fauna auxiliar que farà bona feina en la neteja de plagues.

A tot el jardí s’utilitzen també plantes per fer extractes vegetals per curar plantes diverses. Són plantes que contribueixen a accelerar la resposta dels vegetals a un atac, estimulant la producció d’aromes, enriquint el sistema de defensa, aturant la progressió de fongs o evitant la instal·lació d’insectes. Les millors plantes per preparar els extractes vegetals són: Urtica dioica, ortiga; Equisetum dioica, cua de cavall i Symphytum officinalis, consola.

Tenir estratègies de conservació i millora de la biodiversitat és bàsic i és el que ha de permetre a Marimurtra no només no perdre riquesa de flora i fauna sinó també augmentar-la.

Més informació i reserves al tlf. 972 33 08 26 o bé a marimurtra@marimurtra.cat.

Welcome by Jordi Xena, Chairman of the Carl Faust Foundation

The Carl Faust Foundation, which I have the honour of chairing, is a very special institution- heir to a tradition in which people with initiative were entrusted to do whatever seemed relevant using their own merits, skills and resources.

We are the intellectual heirs of Carl Faust, who in 1924 decided to launch his grand project of creating a scientific institution – a botanical garden in Blanes, on the Costa Brava- to enable significant botanical investigation of plants which, otherwise, would require traveling to the other side of the world.

Faust poured all his energy, passion, knowledge and heritage into the Marimurtra Botanical Garden. Now, well into the twenty-first century, it is our responsibility to continue his work, to protect his legacy and refresh his standing in our memories.

Faust was a visionary. In many ways he was ahead of his time since he established a system for continuing the Foundation, which he created a year before his death, which allowed it to persist despite the greyness of those years. This system enabled Marimurtra to continually benefit from positive influences happening elsewhere in the world, and from the progress being made in other countries.

Today, we gather to continue working in this spirit, to continue building the story and great interest of Marimurtra Botanical Garden. And in alignment with today’s needs, to build, little by little, with dedication, rigour and breadth of vision, a tool that allows us to relate to the world, a means to share the attributes and values of Marimurtra with our network, and to capture the interest, energy and knowledge of botany and science generated in our society.

I invite you to walk through our website for yourself, and not only as a one-way communication channel. Communicate your interests, what you like, what motivates you, and what you miss. A website is also a living structure, constantly growing, and we want this to be a spine for the Marimurtra Botanical Garden, which will provide content for an enriching relationship for all who love science, botany and Marimurtra.