Generation #1 · Generation #1 (1-10)

Ivysaur (#2)

They move through the forest with as much grace as a Goldeen moves through water. Image caption: Takamizawa Usui

Ivysaur are known as the teenage Bulbasaur, which is a pretty adequate comparison. This Pokémon thinks, sorry knows, he is the best at everything. And I mean everything. They are typically stubborn and outright gutsy, which can get them into a lot of trouble. They do tend to calm down a little as they get higher leveled. In fact, I’ve heard many stories that describe Ivysaur looking after the young of other Pokémon. I guess that’s a good skill to have if they want a chance at becoming King of the Forest.

Where to find one

Ivysaur typically live alone or in small family groups with Bulbasaur. They are extremely territorial and spend most of the day roaming their land looking for threats. They’re the easiest of the Bulbasaur evolution line to find in the wild, but its no stroll in the park! Their territories tend to be at the heart of dense forests, a landscape they know intricately. They know all the holes you might trip over, the pointy branches you might be spiked by and the vines you will get tangled in. Despite their bulky build, they move through the forest with as much grace as a Goldeen moves through water and a high-leveled one will have learned to use the environment to their advantage. They are also extremely hardy and it will take a strong, well-trained Pokémon to take them on.

If you can’t tell by the above, catching an Ivysaur in the wild is best left to the intermediate or advanced trainer. Beginners, or the less adventurous of you, will find much more pleasure in raising a Bulbasaur to become an Ivysaur. The evolution level is quite low at 16. This is very achievable with a little training. If you’d rather just skip to the Ivysaur stage, you can get an Ivysaur from breeders, but I’d very much advise not missing out on those early years.

Preparing the home

If you’re raising a Bulbasaur to become an Ivysaur, you will have fewer teething problems when it comes to introducing him to the home. By the time he is level 16, Bulbasaur should be used to you and your routines. However, you may find that he begins to push the boundaries as an Ivysaur. Suddenly, that cupboard where you keep the Pokémon food that your Bulbasaur would never touch is raided by your Ivysaur. He starts fights with others, whereas he used to always get along with the pet Skitty so well. These are all to be expected due to Ivysaur’s territorial urges and should be easy to train out. If you catch him from the wild, he will take a lot longer to adjust.

One other change you will notice is Ivysaur’s activity levels. Bulbasaur will happily lounge for hours on end, but Ivysaur just can’t sit still. It is important that you help Ivysaur expend some of that extra energy. Training for battle is the best way: agility courses, target practice, the whole lot. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend getting a young Ivysasur if you’re just wanting a companion Pokémon. They need to be constantly on the move and will quickly get too zealous in play. If you just have to have a companion Ivysaur, I’d suggest asking at the Pokémon retirement centre. Older Ivysaur are a lot calmer and only need to be exercised a couple times a day.

Similar to Bulbasaur, Ivysaur needs a lot of sun-time. In fact, it needs much more. That fabulous flower on its back needs a lot of sustenance and its high energy levels demand fuel. Make sure Ivysaur has a dedicated area in the garden to sunbathe undisturbed. He won’t want to, mind. You’ll have to be strict with him to make him stay put long enough to recharge fully.

Raising for battle


Ivysaur loves to keep active, which is perfect for training. Image credit:
Marta Maszkiewicz

Ivysaur only has the capacity to learn one new move (Razor Leaf), if evolved from a Bulbasaur at 16 and to a Venusaur at 32. However, Bulbasaur can learn Razorleaf at level 19, so it might be a good idea to delay evolution and teach Bulbasaur this move instead. Otherwise, you’re going to have to wait until Ivysaur is level 31, a big disadvantage. Be careful if catching an Ivysaur in the wild, as he will not be able to learn any of the Bulbasaur-stage moves he didn’t pick up naturally. That means you might be missing out on key strategic elements such as Sleep Powder and Poison Powder, which do not naturally develop to the right strengths needed for using these as moves in battle. If he already knows these moves, you can train them to be more potent.

Ivysaur loves to keep active, which is perfect for training. He is also dexterous and intelligent, two traits that are ideal for developing new strategies. I always found that the best battle ideas came from my Ivysaur, especially when it comes to working the field. You should let Ivysaur have a certain level of independence during a battle and place great trust in his natural instincts. This is not the Pokémon for control freaks, as he will know better than you practically every time.

One area he might be lacking is knowledge of other Pokémon and type advantages. This is where you come in! Teach him all you know about the different Pokémon you spot and discuss with him any strengths and weaknesses. You could hire Ivysaur to coach your other Pokémon, which will help him develop that understanding. He will also enjoy the sense of responsibility.

Keeping Ivysaur happy and healthy

If your Ivysaur does not get enough natural sunlight, he will become weak quickly. This is one Pokémon that is not happy when unwell. They despise it. It is thought by Pokémon behaviourists that wild Ivysaur have a hierarchy with the toughest earning more territory. Therefore, it is vital for your Ivysaur’s physical and mental health that he gets enough nutrients, vitamins and sunlight.

A heat lamp may have been handy for Bulbasaur, but it will be of little use with Ivysaur: there is no chance you’ll get him to sit for long enough under it to have any effect. If you live in a rainy or cloudy area, you might need to seek specialist help. I know a few good sunlight gyms that are designed as a training ground photosynthsising Pokémon. They have these massive sunlight -emulating ceiling fixtures and are designed to trap moisture like a giant greenhouse. Make sure you take plenty of water for yourself, though.

Ivysaur will need help maintaining its flower. He doesn’t have any nerve endings in his leaves (a little like our nails) so you can use regular garden cutters to stop it looking too raggedy. You should include a regular supply of fertiliser in its food, which will give it plenty of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Be prepared for the flower to give off a strong smell. Be careful when visiting forest areas, as Combee, Beedrill and other pollinator Pokémon might end up swamping you.

Overall

Ivysaur is a great battle partner. He is dependable, dedicated and quick-minded. He does need a lot of training and maintenance, but he gives out ten-fold. He will also be acceptable as a working Pokémon, especially as a park ranger or guard. However, I would not recommend keeping an Ivysaur as a companion Pokémon unless you can provide a lot of physical and mental stimulation, or are willing to get a more mature one.

He will be acceptable as a working Pokémon, especially as a park ranger or guard. Image credit: Olivia Bigelow
  • For a Bulbasaur, Ivysaur, Venusaur Sonnet, click here (partner website).
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Makes and Fun Spots

Bulbasaur’s Top Tips for Looking After Potted Cactus Plants


The oldest cactus lived to around 300 years old . Image credit: Laura Thomson

Article by Laura Thomson

Bulbasaur loves to look after plants and he asked me to share some advice with you! Cacti are strong house plants and have grown in popularity over the last few years. Cacti varieties are endless and they don’t need a lot of watering. Remember, their natural habitat is the desert! To make your plants as happy and healthy as possible, Bulbasaur advises that it’s essential to try and replicate these native conditions, even if you don’t happen to live in the sizzling and dry temperatures of Arizona.

Here are Bulbasaur’s top (simple) tips for keeping your cacti rooted to the ground:

Lots of light = lots of little (or big) spikes

Deserts aren’t short of sunlight, so it’s fair to say cactus plants will always benefit from plentiful light sources. Placing cacti and succulents in a spot where sunlight is inevitable is a good start. However, make sure to avoid direct sunlight (depending on the variety) to avoid yellowing.

Cactus plants are quite flexible when it comes to temperatures and have a robust capacity to live in the rapidly changing desert environment. The lowest temperature that cacti can endure does depend on the species. Some have been known to survive freezing temperatures, but many are best kept around 8°C during the colder months.

Sufficient drainage = happy plants…

The ideal home for a cactus is a pot with good drainage. Always make sure the plant is able to let go of excess water by placing it in an open and free-draining pot to prevent water logging.

Speaking of water, one of the most important things to remember is the amount of water needed to keep cactus plants alive. Cacti are well-known for their stubborn nature – they won’t be happy with too much water and they won’t be happy with too little either. Admittedly, they thrive with much less water than the average house plant, but this is not to say that you should leave them dry for excessive amounts of time. Under-watering does cause shrivelling, and trust me, this is not a good look.

They also tend to develop blisters and adopt a more stubborn personality if too much water is given – this is definitely not a good look. So, make sure to follow these quick and simple instructions if you’d like your plant to (probably) outlive you:

  • During the spring and summer months, it is safe to quench your plant’s thirst, but only when the compost is dry. Over-watering will stunt growth, so once a week is a handy guideline, but it’s definitely possible to go even longer without watering at this time.
  • In winter, he will be perfectly happy waiting longer between watering sessions and some cacti can even be left dry from around November to February. This does depend on the species of cacti though!

Fun fact – The oldest cactus lived to around 300 years old, was 40ft tall and had 52 arms… now that is something to aim for.

Click here if you’re interested in getting your own cactus!

Makes and Fun Spots

Dangerous Plants: Top Ten Plant Defences



Acacia trees hire aggressive ant species to guard their leaves from grazers. Image Credit: Marta Maszkiewicz

Bulbasaur mainly uses his vines and powders to attack and defend against enemies. He isn’t alone! Plants have some pretty mean defences to stop them from being eaten by animals and prevent competition from other plant species. Plant and plant products have even been used in wars and assassinations. This list looks at some of the deadliest plant defence mechanisms.

Thorns and spines

Thorns and spines are a simple physical form of defence that discourage animals from eating the plant by causing pain. Thorns jut out from branches, while spines are modified leaves that are extension of the plant’s vein. A similar spiky defence is the prickle, which are commonly found on roses. That’s right, the Poison song should really say “Every rose has a prickle”.

Trichomes

Trichomes is a fancy word for the little hairs you sometimes see on plant stems. They can have multiple purposes, but the most painful and deadly are found in nettles. You may be thinking I have been stung by a nettle before and I am still alive, but that is because you were lucky enough to be stung by the Common Nettle. Some tropical nettles, such as the gympie-gympie, have stings so painful that they can drive people insane. It has been known to kill dogs and horses out of pain and shock, and its stinging effects can last for as long as one year. Even breathing in some of these trichomes that are floating in the air can cause nosebleeds.

Mutualism

Some plants team up with other creatures in a mutual agreement of sorts. Mutualism is seen throughout the natural world for both defence and other reasons. For example, we have a mutualistic relationship with the bacteria in our guts: they help us digest food and we give them a nice place to live. Mutualism can be painful, however. Some plants such as acacia trees have ‘hired’ aggressive ant species to guard their leaves from grazers and other competing plants in exchange for a home. The ants are also thought to help keep harmful pathogens at bay. One of these mercenaries, the Bullhorn Acacia ant, is listed on ants.com’s list of ‘5 Ants with the Most Painful Bites’. Ouch!

Bother one tree, you’ve bothered them all

When insects invade a tree, the tree ups its defences to try and ward them off. If that wasn’t bad enough, research has suggested that trees can also send messages to neighbouring trees using something called the mycorrhizal network. These connections are made by fungi and are used by plants to share water, nutrients and minerals. When one tree is suffering too much damage from an insect swarm, it is thought to warn other trees around it, triggering them to also up their defences. Lab studies found reactions occurred in as little as six hours.

Tannins

Insects can have a hard time when it comes to finding a meal. Their huge population sizes can cause real stress on a plant, so plants take great priority in warding the critters off. One method is to produce tannins, a yellowy-brown, bitter-tasting substance that binds to the insect’s proteins and limits their ability to grow and develop. These tannins also form bonds between metal ions in the insects’ midgut, causing their intestines to tear.

Poisonous seeds

We all know the story of Snow White eating the poisonous apple. If Snow White were an insect, that fate would be all the more likely. Apple seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides, which are harmless when the seed is whole. However, when it is crushed or chewed, this chemical transforms into cyanide. Luckily, an 180-pound individual would have to eat at least 243 crushed apple seeds before seeing an effect, but some animals could be at risk. Low levels of cyanide poisoning causes headaches, nausea, weakness and confusion, while acute poisoning can be deadly.

Digitalin

Digitalin is a powerful steroid that is found in around 20 plant species, including the Foxglove plant. Too much of this chemical can lead to dangerous cardiac rhythm disturbances due to a build up of potassium in the blood. This can cause fatal symptoms due to the heart moving too slow (electrical heart block) or too fast (ventricular fibrillation). In 2016, a girl spent six days in hospital for eating a single leaf. They also have a bitter taste and can cause vomiting. That doesn’t mean the chemical can’t be used for good. Foxglove leaves were dispensed in WWI in measured doses to control heart conditions. More than 16 tonnes were used each year.

Idioblasts

Idioblasts are plant cells that, in their more innocent uses, store pigments, vitamins and minerals. They are more dangerous when used for defence. Dieffenbachia, also known as Dumb Cane, stores specialised chemicals in its idioblasts that shoot barbed calcium oxalate crystals into the unsuspecting herbivores’ mouth before giving a dose of enzymes that can cause paralysis and loss of speech. This painful concoction can be deadly, with only 15mg per kg needed to kill a mouse. Even if you avoid a deadly dose, the burning effects can last up to two weeks.

Heatwave – The chilli pepper

As you may know from putting too many in your curry, the chilli pepper can cause a painful burning sensation when eaten due to capsaicinoids. This is a defence mechanism to stop the growth of a microbial fungus, which likes to eat them. Being eaten isn’t all that bad for a chilli, if they’re being eaten by birds. In fact, birds eat the seeds and disperse them in their droppings, allowing the chillis to reproduce. The fungus, however, destroys the seeds. Therefore, the plant uses capsaicin to fend off the fungus, while birds are not affected.

Chilli plants have also been used in human wars. A bomb made of red chillies was developed in 2008 to create a type of stinging smokescreen. It was also used to debilitate enemies in hideouts.

What may the future bring? – Using plants in human wars

Last year, researchers at the University of Tennessee and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced a programme that aimed to genetically modify potato plants to act as a surveillance unit. The plants would identify chemical, radiological, nuclear, and explosive threats to support human operations and ground troops.

This isn’t the only genetic editing programme being run by DARPA, with reports earlier this year of concerns that the organisation could use its ‘Insect Allies‘ programme for military purposes.

Makes and Fun Spots

Pokémon-Themed Outfits: Bulbasaur

You love Pokémon? Well now you can dress like them too! This set of posts are designed to give you some inspirations so you can pull together some outfits based on your favourite Pokémon! The styles are all simple, so you can achieve the look no matter what your budget! These outfits were drawn by Elaineayana.

For Bulbasaur, we’ve gone for an effortless white long-sleeved shirt. This one features a button-down front and two front pockets, but this flexible style can be adjusted to suit your tastes. The shirt is paired with a teal coat/jacket and a high-waist green midi skirt. Match with a pair of light grey or white ankle boots and you’re on to a winner!

Get the look:

Below are some examples of these items. But, you can find them anywhere with a quick search. Remember to check your wardrobe!

Tall White Linen Blend Long Sleeved Shirt
Waterfall Collar Pocket Front Wrap Coat
Pocket Front Crepe Skater Midi Skirt
(Alternative Shade) Tall Button Front Floaty Midi Skirt
(Alternative Shade) Midi Skirt in Army Green
Slouchy Light Grey Ankle Boots
White Leather Ankle Boots

Want to be less subtle? Try this Bulbasaur bag!

Found any good bargains? Post your finds below!

Generation #1 · Generation #1 (1-10) · Stories

The Mayor of Mizuna Town (A Bulbasaur Story)

I dipped my canteen into a little stone fountain that had been crafted to look like a tree stump. Image Credit: @fdjrt

I wandered through the central square, kicking despondently at any piles of leaves that had grown too high. It was a child’s game that still thrilled me. Looking back now, I wish I’d spent less time standing with groups of people I didn’t like and more time running around kicking up leaves.

If it wasn’t for the hustle and bustle of people, I’d have never expected that it was a town. The houses were made from tree bark and leaves, which were woven together to make chequered huts. All of the roads and buildings were decorated with vines. They blended almost seamlessly with the forest.

I dipped my canteen into a little stone fountain that had been crafted to look like a tree stump. The water bit at my fingers. I gave a half-smile to a man to my left who was bent over a smoking pile of bricks. His wife was wafting the smoke away from the entrance of her hut with a giant leaf. The only giveaway to this curious escapade was the earthy smell of bread baking.

I remember it making me feel off kilter at the time, but not understanding why. Just this creeping feeling of difference. They verses me. Pallet is no city, but we had embraced the thirst for technology. Of course, computers were a new thing back then, but we still came installed with a sense of excitement to embrace what was to come. Watching the man stooped and sooty over the bricks put up a barrier between us that I was just not equipped to see.

“Excuse me”, I said, “Could you point the way to the major’s office?”

The woman turned, shielding her eyes from the mid-day sun. She looked around for a second, as if she were the one asking for directions and not me, before flicking her wafting leaf in the direction of a market. “He’ll be somewhere that way, I reckon”.

Between us and the market, a sort of playschool had been set up where kids ran around barefoot under the watchful eye of someone’s Skuntank. I must have looked a tad concerned, as the lady with the fan leaf chuckled and said, “Don’t worry, lass, he won’t stink you unless you’re out here for trouble.” I gave her a sheepish grin.

I wandered through the houses, enjoying the dappling sunlight and watching people working together with their Pokémon on various tasks. At the farmers market, people haggled over Mudbray and Mareep. Nearby, a man had set up blanket on a rock to sell scratched jewellery, while a woman was having a hearty discussion with her customer about the best ways to use Flaaffy wool. Next to her sat a very bare-looking Flaaffy.

I looked out for anyone mayor-like. I imagined a tall, elderly gentleman with a large gold chain settled on his shoulders. He would laugh in a jolly way, a little like Santa Claus. There was no one like that here. I tried to think back to if Professor Oak had given me a description. If he did, I couldn’t remember.

Near the market, a man was scrutinising some sacks of corn with his Bulbasaur, taking down notes on a piece of bark. The Bulbasaur was especially chatty, using his vines to point and prod at the goods. Professor Oak was always going on and on about how smart Bulbasaur are. I was practically sick to death of it. I’d chosen a Charmander as my starter. I’d been training it for a few years now and it was about as strong as a Charmander could get. No way I could lose to a puny Bulbasaur.

“Uh-uh young lady!”, I heard the professor say in my head. I could almost see him stood, arms crossed. “You will not fight that Bulbasaur”, he said, “you have important work to do”. I looked at the letter in my hand and shrugged. It could wait. This battle would take no time at all.

I strode towards the man and made my best battle pose, “Hey, you”.

The man looked at me, startled, “I, uh.. me?”

“I’d like to challenge you to a-” before I could finish, I heard a shrill craacck and felt a searing pain on my hand that made me drop my Pokéball sadly to the ground. It opened and out popped Charmander looking a bit perplexed. The skin instantly began to welt and throb an angry red. “What the-“

“I’m sorry but we don’t battle in this town”, the man said. Still in shock, I could only stand blankly and watch as the Bulbasaur
used his vines to pluck a roll of bandages out of the man’s pocket, efficiently wrapped my hand in the cooling bandage, gave me a curt nod and turned back to his companion. Bubba, he said.

I snapped out of my daze with intense fury. “Your Pokémon just attacked me! How dare you? He can’t do that, I ought to-“

“My Bulbasaur?”, the man grinned. A small crowd had gathered now and they all grinned at each other, all in on some sort of joke. That made me insanely angry. I felt like challenging them all to battle. In my head, professor Oak put his head in his hand. Their laughter magnified ten-fold and cut me deep. A cold surge burned within me that built and built until I could take it no longer. I gave a deep guttural scream. “CHARMANDER, EMBER, NOW!”

My loyal Charmander took my word as law and launched his attack. The flame came thick and fast, the muscles in Charmander’s belly tensed as he gave it all he had. That Bulbasaur should have been toast. Except, the flames were getting beaten back. Without any word from its trainer, Bulbasaur began flinging sharp-edged leaves at the flames in just the right angle to deflect the heat. The speed was incredible. Charmander tried to push harder, but he just wasn’t quick enough.

As the flames began to dial down, this gave Bulbasaur his chance. He jumped high over the fire, pushed hard with his back legs from a fence post and smacked down into my Charmander’s forehead. At the same time, he slapped his mouth shut with a vine, snatched the Pokéball from my hand and pressed the button to force him to return. Charmander faded into the ball, leaving one Bulbasaur and a circle of horrified townsfolk.

I couldn’t believe the skill with which Bulbasaur had battled. And without a word from his trainer. I turned to him, all anger put on hold. “Woah, your Bulbasaur is amazing”.

The man crossed his arms, reminding me again of Professor Oak. “Like I tried to tell you, kid. That’s not my Bulbasaur.”

He walked forward and put a hand respectfully on Bulbasaur’s shoulder, “You ok, sir?”

Bubasaur nodded.

He looked back up at me, “What are you doing here in Mizuna town? I think you should do what you need to do and leave.”

His tone set of a confusing array of sparks. Part of me felt shame, part of me fear, and a piece of me still burned with anger. The crowd had started to dissipate. Some tutted teenagers as they walked away. I gave them a side glare. I remembered the letter and grabbed it from my bag.

“Professor Oak sent me with this letter.” The man took it and contemplated it. “Its for the mayor”, I added.

“Well, it has found the right place”, he said. With a second’s pause, the man moved the letter down and passed it to Bulbasaur, who took it gently in a vine, opened it with the sharp edge and began to read.

At first, I thought it was a joke. But there was something about this Bulbasaur’s seriousness and the way everyone looked at him that made me think that this insanity might actually be true. A Bulbasaur running a town?

I looked back at the town, its leaves blowing gently in the breeze. Next to the treeline sat allotments where smiling families planted vegetables, nearby an old woman smiled happily at her grandchildren who were helping thread vines around their house. Everyone seemed so happy and the town ran like clockwork. And this was all ran by a Bulbasaur? I looked down at my Charmander and thought about all of the training we had been through. Despite his low level, he’d been able to beat all of the trainers I’d met just by strength alone. But seeing all this made me wonder if perhaps there was more to Pokémon than just strength.

Bulbasaur gave a short Bubba and handed the note back to his aide. “Bulbasaur says he thinks this letter might actually be for you.”

I took it from him and read.

Dear Elizabeth,

This may be a hard lesson for you, but I hope you heed it well. See all of the wonders that Pokémon can achieve and learn to use that in your own journey.

-The Professor

I looked at Bulbasaur and his aide, “I’m sorry. I have a lot to think about”. I turned around and began the walk back to Pallet Town.

Generation #1 · Stories

In the Clearing (A Bulbasaur Story)


Yes, these were indeed Bulbasaur. Not just one but hundreds. Image Credit: BlueBerryBlanket (Al Rigby)

One of the best parts of being a Pokémon Breeder is the field research: getting out there and seeing where Pokémon come from. Our natural world provides many great spectacles, from the grand migrations of Tauros to the Butterfree mating seasons. But one of the more precious to me was the time I saw a Bulbsaur family gathering.

I’d not seen another person in four days and my supplies were all but run out. It was ridiculous, really. People went in and out of Viridian forest all of the time and got out ok. Some people sometimes nipped in for a dare. That’s how easy it is meant to be. I’m not even sure what wrong turning I made, and I think it just made it worse when I tried to back-track. The longer I walked, the darker the forest got.

I sipped a little water from my flask, swilling it around in my mouth a little before swallowing to try make it last then instantly craving more and taking another sip. I peered at my map. None of the lines made sense anymore. They were purely fictional, as if my sister Kate had taken one of her marker pens and scribbled all over it with that mischievous grin on her face. Thinking of her hurt. It hadn’t even occurred to me when setting out that I may not see Kate or mum again.

But this is what a great trainer did! Just set off into the unknown with a Pokémon, finding distant treasures and uncovering mysteries. This was just another grand escapade. I felt that well-worn surge of excitement thinking about it. Journeying with a Pokémon was something I had wanted all my life. Some people were destined to be dancers, some accountants. Me? I was born to be a Pokémon trainer.

I thought of all the Pokémon I would catch and my hand relaxed on the Pokéball at my belt. The joy melted into shame. I wasn’t a trainer. I was a thief. I was only just ten and not old enough to get my own. The Manectric in the ball was my mum’s. Earlier in my travels, I had let her out while pretending to catch a Pokémon with the ball. Boy did she bark at me. You take me back this minute. You’ll be in such trouble when you get home! Where are we? You left without my chew toy? she said in as many barks. It took her a day or two to mellow out, by which point she was more concerned than angry.

I looked around at the deepening shadows and a feeling of paranoia began to creep up on me. I’m here, it would say in the creaking of a branch or the twitch of grass as some creature was startled by my clumsy footwork. I got jumpy and kept glancing left and right into the trees. Behind each stump, a wolf would be lurking ready to eat me up like in Little Red Riding Hood. My my, Elizabeth, these sharp teeth of mine are all the better to eat you with my dear. In the end, I couldn’t stand being alone any longer and I grabbed the Pokéball from my belt.

“Come out Manectric”, I said in almost a whisper. As she appeared, her presence instantly soothed me. She has always been small for her breed, but she towered over me when I was ten year’s old. I petted her long yellow snout. She yawned, made a little sigh and looked up at the trees.

“Maybe we’ll find our way out today”, I said already feeling lighter. I almost believed it.

We pressed on, heads pushed down by the rain that somehow battered its way through the canopy. The trees twisted and writhed in the sort of way that would make a fearless girl grin from ear to ear before dashing off in a race to the top. But that wasn’t me anymore. Not here in this place. The trees no longer just reached over us, but below and around us. They encased us in their bony rib cage as we moved ever closer to the heart of the forest.



The trees no longer just reached over us, but below and around us. Image credit: Marta Maszkiewicz.

My watch said it was mid-day, but it was getting darker. It was like we were in a different world entirely to the one I’d left back home. It didn’t seem right that Kate would be sitting in the school cafeteria, drinking milk and complaining to the dinner lady about not losing weight. That annoying kid Jaime would be pulling another prank, Eliza would be singing with Chloe in their band that they won’t let me join. My life was none of those things anymore. My life was only dark tunnels of never-ending mossy rocks and things that squirmed in the dark.

As I walked, my thoughts washed over me. In my head, people I used to know came walking out of the trees, tipped their hats muttering hello, hey, hi there, and good morning before continuing on into the murky darkness. My father was sitting on one branch, sipping a pint of milk. My mother on another, knitting a spider’s web. I imagined cats running passed my legs, street lamps, a school bus coming down the lane towards me. This last one seemed to stay with me. I could almost see the headlights ahead and my arm tensed, ready to flag it down.

I was snapped out of my daydream by Manectric licking my hand and yapping. She barked and ran ahead. My eyes followed her and I could see what she was headed towards. The bus headlights were real. Or, rather, the light was real. A circle of dazzling light shining like a beacon.

I’m not sure how I managed to stay on my feet as I ran, but my need to see sunlight urged me on. As it got close, my hopes got brighter. As I reached the edge of the treeline, I was almost ecstatic. Which, of course, made it all the more crushing when I crashed out into nothing more than a clearing. Just a clearing with a large flowered tree in the centre that was swaying in the breeze. I fell to my knees and wept, Manectric snuffling at my face and softly licking my tears.

I was too tired to go on. Not only did we not have any food, but we still had no way to tell where we were. Perhaps mum would have told Officer Jenny by now. Out there in the woods would be a search party seeking me with their torch beams. I found a patch of dry moss at the edge of the clearing and settled in to sleep.

When I woke, it was dark. I’d been having a dream of a Pokémon singing. I’d been running through the forest, pushing back leaves trying to find it. Bulllbbaaaa it sang Bulllbbaaaa. As I opened my eyes, I realised I could still hear that gentle hum. I felt Manectric stir beside me. She was crouched down low, peering through some tall tufts of grass looking out onto the clearing. Bulllbbaaaa. I crawled up next to her and looked out too.

Before us was a sea of bobbing turquoise heads. They circled the clearing, facing towards the flowered tree. Could these be… Bulbasaur? I tried to remember back to my time in Professor Oak’s lab. He had been working on breeding easy-to-train rare Pokémon for new trainers as part of his research. I’ve never been much of a scientist, but I did remember him showing me a Bulbasaur. And if my memory served me correctly, yes, these were indeed Bulbasaur. Not just one but hundreds.

I looked to the weird tree in the centre of the clearing. While before it was swaying, now it was shifting side-to-side. I looked from the flower to its trunk. From the trunk to its roots. Only, the roots were rising and falling. That thing was breathing! Amazed, I scooted forward some more to get a better look, but Manectric held my collar. The Bulbasaur stopped singing in one fell swoop. It was like I’d suddenly lost my hearing. Everything was just silent.

I worried it was me. I had a vision of them all turning round to look at me, raising their vines to attack. They did turn around, but not to look at me. From a grassy verge to our left, a taller, broader Bulbasaur pushed his way out of the thicket. He looked different from the others. Much bigger, for one. I noticed he had a little flower on his back, similar to the big breathing tree. No, not a Bulbasaur. An evolution of some sort.

The crowd of Bulbasaur made a path for this creature, some touching its feet with their vines as he passed. He walked up to the flowery tree and stopped. Ivysaur, it declared. Short and sweet.

With that, the clearing began to rumble. The Bulbasaur waved their vines in the air, branches snapped, rubble flew everywhere and I had to shield my eyes. When I was able to look again, I gawped. The tree had rose two metres into the air, revealing a huge monstrous body beneath. It had been lying so long that the trees had grown around it. It left a crater where it has arisen from. VENUSAUUUUUR, it bellowed.

At this, cries and shouts of Bulbasaauuur sounded from the crowd. The forest king freed several vines from its back and reached towards the Ivysaur. The Ivysaur, too, outstretched its vines and they met in the middle. Each called its name to the other and the Bulbasaur began throwing white powder into the air that sparkled in the moonlight. They all went back to their chanting: Bulllbbaaaa, Bulllbbaaaaaa. Some spores landed on me and I went to brush them off. A sudden weariness hit me and I could barely keep my eyes open. The last thing I saw before drifting to sleep was the giant Venusaur turning and disappearing into the forest depths and Ivysaur taking his place.

Makes and Fun Spots

Make Some Bulbasaur Biscuits!

My Bulbasaur loves to bake and he asked me to share one of his favourite recipes with you . We hope you enjoy making some Bulbasaur Biscuits!

What do I need?

170g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cap of vanilla essence
400g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of salt
300g chocolate
Chocolate decorations

Mixing bowl and spoon
Weighing scales
Rolling pin
Bulbasaur cookie cutter (I used the Cuticuter ones, but you can also get similar ones on Etsy)
Baking tray
Clingfilm
Baking paper
Microwave and microwave-safe bowl for melting chocolate
Spoon or knife (pallet knife or butter knife are good)

Step #1

Cut the butter into small cubes and place in a mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar. This might be more difficult if the butter has been in the fridge!

Step #2

Add the eggs, flour, salt and vanilla essence into the butter mixture. You could sieve the flour for fewer flowery lumps. Mix well – you might want to use your hands.

You might need to add some more flour if your dough is too firm. Once a dough is formed, split in half and mould each half into flat ovals – splitting in two batches makes it easier to cook later. Wrap in clingfilm and put them in the fridge for at least one hour.

Step #3


Line a baking tray with baking paper and set the oven to 170°C (338°F).

Roll out one of your dough ovals on a floured surface to around 1/2cm-1cm thick, depending on how thick you want your biscuits to be! If you’re using the same cookie cutter as me, use the bottom part (the ‘outline cutter’ seen in the picture above) to cut a piece of dough near the edge. Leave this cut-out inside the ‘outline cutter’ and take the other part of the cutter (the part with Bulbasaur’s details on) and press lightly into the dough. It should fit exactly into the ‘outline cutter’. Be careful not to push too hard, I found it was best to push so the back of the ‘detail-cutter’ was level with the ‘outline cutter’.

Step #4

Place your Bulbasaur on the baking tray, spacing them out evenly. Put your biscuits in the oven for 8-12 minutes.

Step #5

When cooked, place on a wire rack (or an upturned baking tray lined with baking paper will do!) to cool.

Step #6

Make up your second batch, following the same steps above. Remember to wash up after they’re all done!

Step #7

To decorate, snap your chocolate to pieces in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave in small bursts of no more than 10 seconds. In between each, take a metal spoon or knife (a butter or pallet knife are good) to stir the chocolate each time. Careful, as the bowl can get quite hot!

Once melted, carefully dip the back of each Bulbasaur biscuit in the chocolate. You might want to use your pallet knife to wipe off the excess, or spread the chocolate more evenly. Have a tissue handy to wipe chocolate from your fingers so you don’t get too much on the front! You can use all sorts of sprinkles! We went for milk chocolate (left), dark chocolate (middle), just chocolate (right) and we left some plain.

Put the biscuits in the fridge to set.

Step #8

Enjoy!