Botanic Gardens Beastie - CrawCrafts Beasties

Beasties in the Botanic Gardens

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Beastieland… We’ve missed you! And just to show that I haven’t spent the last couple of weeks sitting on the sofa eating crisps (well, not all of them), I’ve got a brand new Explorer Beastie adventure to share over the next two posts. Where did we go? Well, when the sun breaks through the rainclouds here in Dublin, one of the nicest places to be is the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland.

So, if you go down to the woods today…
Arboretum at the National Botanic Gardens - CrawCrafts Beasties… You’ll see BEASTIES!
Explorer Beastie in the Botanic Gardens - CrawCrafts Beasties
Explorer Beastie wasn’t the only monster in the gardens that day, either. Check out this spooky tree we found, with what looks like eyes all over its trunk!
Spooky Tree - Botanic Gardens Dublin - CrawCrafts Beasties

Our Botanic Gardens aren’t especially big – they’re nowhere near as massive as Kew Gardens, for instance. But there are lots of quiet hideaways and secret corners where a little monster can relax and enjoy being outdoors among the plants.

We both really liked the Chaintent, with its human-sized benches and twisty wisteria branches for a Beastie to climb!
Chaintent, National Botanic Gardens - CrawCrafts BeastiesEven as summer here draws to a close, there are plenty of bright blooms to enjoy too. The hydrangeas are very much in flower!
Beastie in the Blooms - CrawCrafts BeastiesNext, we made our way down to the lily pond.
Explorer Beastie at the Lily Pond - CrawCrafts BeastiesThere are still enough lily pads on the surface that Explorer Beastie figured he could cross to the other side by walking over them, but I encouraged him to use the picturesque bridge instead.
Lily Pond Bridge, National Botanic Gardens - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd further on… HERE BE MONSTERS!
Monster trees, that is.
Monster Trees at the Botanic Gardens - CrawCrafts BeastiesI’m not exactly sure what species it is – I couldn’t see a sign or tag near it. Anyone want to help us out here?

As I tried to figure out the identity of the mysterious giant tree, Explorer Beastie decided to have a go at climbing it.
Climbing Trees - CrawCrafts BeastiesI think we’re going to be here a while.

So, I headed off to take a look at the herbaceous border. It’s a riot of colour at this time of year, and is humming with insects making the most of the last days of summer.

Wait, what’s that?
BumbleBeastie in the Herbaceous Border - CrawCrafts BeastiesIt’s a bit hard to see among all those yellow flowers but…
BumbleBeastie at the Botanic Gardens - CrawCrafts BeastiesYes, it’s a BumbleBeastie!

I followed her until she landed on a nice purple thistle, where I could get a clearer photo.
BumbleBeastie on a Thistle - CrawCrafts BeastiesThen Explorer Beastie found us.

Beasties in the Botanic Gardens - CrawCrafts Beasties“Hello! Want to join us for lunch?”
“Love to, but I’m soooooo busy! You’re welcome to stick around while I work though… If you can keep up!”

She wasn’t kidding. She must have visited every flower in that border!
BumbleBeastie at the Herbaceous Border - CrawCrafts BeastiesWe even met some of her six-legged insect counterparts along the way.
Bees and BumbleBeastie at the Botanic Gardens - CrawCrafts BeastiesWe left her tucking into some lamb’s ear – a favourite bee treat!
BumbleBeastie and Lamb's Ear - Botanic Gardens - CrawCrafts BeastiesI wonder who else might be in the Botanic Gardens today? You’ll have to join us next time to find out!

PS If you can keep up with their hectic pace, you can adopt a BumbleBeastie of your very own. Have a look in the Beastie Store!

The Jade VIne - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy, Plunkett and Some Plants!

Plunkett has been in architectural heaven since the lads headed to Cambridge a few weeks back…Plunkett Loves Architecture - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… And he’d happily continue on in this vein indefinitely.The Round Church, Cambridge - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Oooh, look! It’s the Norman doorway of the famous Round Church. Paddy, did you know that it’s one of four mediaeval round churches that are still in use in England todaaaaa…”

“No way, Plunkett! It’s my turn to decide what we’re doing! Come on, we’re off to…Paddy's Choice - The Botanic Garden! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… The Botanic Garden! Mad plants ahoy!”Paddy, In His Element - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThere are over 8,000 species of plants crammed into this 40 acre garden, from every imaginable habitat. Deserts, bogland, jungle… You name it, it’s here! And of course, Paddy was determined to see (and climb) as many of them as possible. This photo was taken just as he spotted something good. Seconds later, only a Paddy-shaped dust cloud remained.Paddy and Plunkett in the Botanic Garden - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBut Plunkett takes things at a more sedate pace. That has its rewards too… Look what he found!Plunkett's Lucky Find -H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThis is a jade vine, which hails from Indonesia. If you can believe it, this crazy-looking hanging plant is a member of the legume family – it’s a long way from your average runner bean though!The Jade VIne - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesIn the wild, the jade vine is pollinated by bats, which up until recently has stopped it from producing any seeds. However, thanks to one devoted research student getting stuck in and pollinating the flowers by hand, the vine has set seed for the first time. Now seeds are being sent to other botanic gardens around the UK – maybe even one near some of you!

Meanwhile, Plunkett finally caught up with Paddy…Catching Up With Paddy at the Lake - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… Just in time to take the stepping stone path across the bog garden’s lake!Beasties on the Stepping Stones - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd on the other side, they were first plunged into the cool green depths of a bamboo forest…Beastie-Sized Bamboo Forest - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… Before emerging in the arboretum!A Tree WIth a Wall - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Hey look, Plunkett! This tree has a wall in it!”

“Hmmm… I wonder why?”

Later research revealed that this wild pear tree had split, and the brickwork is there ‚Äčto keep it together. The tree doesn’t appear to mind though – it certainly seems to be doing just fine!

And further down the road in the pinetum, Paddy found ample fodder for some really terrible puns!Don't Needle Paddy! H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPaddy Pining Away - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesResin D'etre - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesUh-oh! He’s had enough, and scarpered to The Mount to check out the view. Fortunately, he’s still happy to share the chair he found here with his old buddy – as long as Paddy promises to keep quiet!
The View From The Mount - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesHave you had any horticultural adventures recently? If so, please be sure to leaf a comment below! Or feel free to share your worst plant-based pun… Paddy’s always on the lookout for new material.

Here’s wishing you all a super week, catch you next Tuesday!

Monster Highway in the Forest! CrawCrafts Beasties

More From The Fairy Forest!

Explorer Beastie, Away With the Fairies - CrawCrafts BeastiesRegular BeastieBlog readers will know that Explorer Beastie and I were literally away with the fairies a couple of weeks ago! But as I was tidying up the photo files from our trip away, I saw that there were loads of other non-fairy photos that I hadn’t had a chance to use. Away from the hubbub of Fairyville, there was a whole forest for Explorer Beastie to investigate – let’s join him, shall we?
Explorer Beastie Tackles the Undergrowth - CrawCrafts BeastiesHere we go! The undergrowth was pretty dense in some places…

…But elsewhere we found shortcuts better suited to little short Beastie legs!
Monster Highway in the Forest! CrawCrafts BeastiesSoft mossy patches also make the perfect place to stop for a quick nap…
Time for a Rest! CrawCrafts Beasties… And we even found a natural paddling pool in a tree stump!
A Natural Beastie-Sized Paddling Pool - CrawCrafts BeastiesThere was also plenty of clover growing in the forest – surely ONE of these is the lucky four-leafed kind?
Explorer Beastie With Lucky Clover - CrawCrafts BeastiesExplorer Beastie also found somewhere to test his Christmas Fairy skills!
Christmas? Already?! CrawCrafts BeastiesHmmm… there might be room for you at the top of the tree this year…

That said, Explorer Beastie will climb pretty much any tree he can find!
Climbing Trees - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut just when we thought we’d gone through the whole fairy forest without meeting a single magical creature… we caught a glimpse of these through the trees!
Fairies in the Forest! CrawCrafts BeastiesWooooah! REAL FAIRIES!

It’s going to be hard to top this on our next day trip!

Have you had a brush with the magical or mysterious lately? Let us know in the comments!

Yew Tree at Moneypenny's Lock, P

Beasties Love Yew!

Paddy with the Yew Tree - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Those of you who regularly check in with the Beasties’ Facebook page might remember Explorer Beastie’s trip to the Bee Garden at Moneypenny’s Lock back in July. The awesome all-you-can-eat bee buffet is just one part of an ongoing project to restore this stretch of the Newry Canal…
Bee Garden Collage - CrawCrafts Beasties
But Moneypenny’s Lock is also home to another incredible plant – and this one has been around a lot longer. Meet Moneypenny’s Yew!

Yew Tree at Moneypenny's Lock, P
Picture: Michael Cooper

And exactly how long has this tree been standing guard over the Lock-Keeper’s Cottage? Well, here she is as a young lady, in 1886…
The Yew Tree at Moneypennys lock, 1886
Imagine all the changes she’s witnessed in her lifetime – the busy canal becoming quieter, falling into neglect, then being given a new lease of life in the last few years by a group of enthusiastic volunteers.

Paddy and Plunkett are big fans of this special tree, too!
Plunkett with the Yew Tree - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPaddy with the Yew Tree - H crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

That’s why we’re all hoping you might take a minute to give Moneypenny’s Yew your vote in the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year Competition. She’s up against some stiff competition – including the celebrity trees of the Dark Hedges (as featured in Game of Thrones). But I think it’s high time this tree, in a quiet part of the country, got her moment in the sun!

You can cast your vote here, on the Woodland Trust’s website.

Good luck, Miss Moneypenny – the Beasties and I are rooting for yew!

Right on Kew… Beasties Explore the Gardens!

Explorer Beastie & Garcia Beastie

My trip to London over the weekend wasn’t just for me… It was also the perfect opportunity for Explorer Beastie to catch up with an old friend! Garcia Beastie left his skis behind for a day to join us at Kew Gardens for a spot of horticultural exploring… as you shall see.
Beasties set off for adventure!

Luckily for us, the Great British weather decided to show its finer side! We got one of those perfect early autumn days for our visit – warm, bright sunshine with just a hint of coolness in the air. Lovely stuff! Also, it turns out Beasties get into Kew Gardens free of charge! But of course, it wasn’t long before they were up to mischief…
Beasties Climbing Olive Trees

I turned my back for five seconds, and the pair of them were halfway up one of the gnarly old olive trees in the Mediterranean Garden! Since they were so intent on climbing, I thought they’d enjoy the Xstrata Treetop Walkway…

Beasties in the Treetops
Up here, you can stroll around in the treetops to your heart’s content! Explorer Beastie scaled the barriers to make sure he got the best views…
Explorer Beastie scaling the fenceExplorer Beastie surveying the lie of the land…And he did get to see some surprising things!

Sweet Chestnuts on the treeGreen Parrot at KewSweet chestnuts growing at the very top of the tree, and an unusual bird having them for lunch! Kew Gardens is full of these green parrots, which are actually wild – they’re the descendants of escaped pets. We saw several large groups doing fly-by displays during our visit, and they’re hard to miss… they’re pretty noisy! The scenery up there wasn’t bad either…

Treetop walkwayTemperate House from the Treetop Walkway

Back on dry land, we made Beastie-sized tracks towards the Pagoda, a 10-storey Chinese-style folly that has been standing in Kew since 1762!

Beasties Walking to the Pagoda

The building is doubly impressive up close…

Pagoda at KewPagoda Closeup

 

 

 

 

 

 

…And there is also a Japanese-style gate and zen garden nearby!

Beasties with Japanese LanternBeasties at the Zen Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

But we couldn’t stop for long, because there was plenty more exploring to do! Our next port of call was Queen Charlotte’s Cottage, where Garcia Beastie helped out a lady who seemed to have lost her head over something…
Garcia Beastie StatueGarcia Beastie Statue Closeup

 

 

 

 

 

And then, a spot of lunch.

Giant Picnic Table
Suitably refuelled, we took in some of the Intoxication Season exhibits…

Explorer Beastie with Hallucinogenic Cactus… had a wander around the Princess of Wales Conservatory…

Explorer Beastie with Cactus
… explored the world of underwater plants…

Underwater Plants at Kew

…And took a trip to the top of the Palm House!
Explorer Beastie at the Palm House

As the light began to fade, there was just enough time to take some final pictures with the rather imposing Plantagenet Falcon, one of the “Queen’s Beasts”. These ten heraldic-inspired sculptures line the path outside the Palm House, and are replicas of statues that stood outside Westminster Abbey during the Queen’s coronation in 1953. Perhaps I should arrange something similar along the street outside Beastie Towers…
Beasties with the Plantagenet Falcon

And so ended another monster day out! More London-based Beastie adventures next time!