Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Great Gardens of Second Life - I

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.

Hanna Rion

          I’m beginning a new series of stories in my blog with this post.
          (Yes, I know as Significant Other points out, I have so many other unfinished projects why add another.  My reply is that the ramshackle, unfinished nature of my blog contributes to its charm.  I know that sounds lame but that’s my story and I’m sticking with it!)
          My recent stories about the Silk Road Hunt 5 and First United Church of Christ made me appreciate the beautiful gardens existing in Second Life (SL).  Earlier stories about places like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon showed the grand scale of some inworld gardens.  Losses like Utopia Naked Isle Resort have made me realize how ephemeral the natural beauty of some gardens that exists inworld can be. 
          With these stories, I hope to raise residents’ awareness of the beauty which is there for their enjoyment inworld.  And, maybe, just maybe, with more visits fewer of these sims will end up as subjects for my #lostsims hashtag in Twitter. 
          I won’t pretend that these inworld gardens can ever replace those in Real Life (RL) but like appreciating a fine painting of a natural scene on a museum wall in RL, sometimes a virtual garden can compensate just a little when there’s no other alternative.
          For my first story, I selected the Asian Victorian Gardens in Mieville Dickens.
          These have been designed by the landscaping wunderkind, Mike Olbracht, partner to my good friend, Perryn Peterson.  I’ve encountered Mike’s work before in most, if not all, of Perryn’s projects.  His work has always been outstanding and I’ve been meaning to highlight it for some time.  This story permits me to do that as well as draw attention to the great gardens of SL.
          The gardens are physically small by both RL and SL standards.  However, as in many traditional Japanese gardens, Mike has cleverly used the space to give the illusion of much larger area surrounded by natural woods.  (I’ve seen this done to great effect in RL Tokyo.  What?  Did you think I spent my whole life in the Metaverse?)
          Arriving at the landing zone, a visitor sees a pathway leading away into the gardens.  Walking along this path, on one’s left across a stream, hills gently rise to mountains against the skyline.  On the right, is a bay which leads out to a bridge very much like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge marking the start of the sea.  Continuing on to the end, one finds a magnificent, traditional gate marking the end of the gardens and the entrance to The New Mieville Tinyopolis – City of Tinies! 
          The grounds are covered artfully with different varieties of trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers.  Many of these are typical Asian flora found in RL gardens done in this style.  Cherry blossom trees are flowering everywhere.  Fuchsia and bamboo are in evidence.  Lilly pads are in the water over which weeping willows lean.
          A mountain waterfall feeds a stream which runs through the gardens.
          A word of caution, I’m no botanist.  Any mistakes in classifying plants or in missing anything obvious are strictly of my own making!
          In addition to the landscaping there are several Asian style buildings which contribute to the overall effect of being somewhere in Southeast Asia.  A large Buddhist temple sits on a hill overlooking the gardens.
          Frogs, ducks, and butterflies flit about adding to the natural sense of the sim. 
          Asian Victorian Gardens is a beautiful location to visit, to just sit and watch the world go by!  Perfect for meditation! 
           I can heartily recommend to all who appreciate natural beauty in a peaceful setting.
          I’d like to thank Mike for his beautiful work and to both he and Perryn for making this available to all inworld.
          I’ve included links to pictures of the gardens but please go and see these for yourself.  I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed!     
          I’ll be blogging about gardens in SL from time to time.  If you have a favorite garden that you think I should visit and write about then please forward me its name!  And, don’t worry, I promise that like this one there will be many where visitors can keep their clothes on! 
As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.   
My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.


Photo No. 2 View from Building

Photo No. 3 Garden Exit

Photo No. 4 Garden Building

Photo No. 5 Pond

Photo No. 6 Lilly Pads

Photo No. 7 Cherry Blossom Tree

Photo No. 8 Fuchsia

Photo No. 9 Weeping Willow

Photo No. 10 Footbridge

Photo No. 11 Hill Overlooking Pond

Photo No. 13 Statue of Buddha

Photo No. 14 Flowers

Photo No. 15 Hillside Flowers

Photo No. 16 Bamboo Forest

Photo No. 17 Garden Pathway

Photo No. 18 Bay View

Photo No. 19 Flowering Shrub

Photo No. 20 Mountain View


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