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Category: Landscaping

Landscaping items for parcel and sim decoration

Autumn 2012

Two things are apparent if you look at this blog’s archive: Firstly, that I must be living somewhere beyond Mars’ orbit, and secondly that I go into “mute” mode by this time every year; at least I show some consistency, give me some credit for that. There’s a completely earthly reason to explain both phenomena: RL work overload. That’s why my last “serious” posts in October date from 2009.

This year I tried to beat the clock and do something fall-colorful. The results are in, and though there’s plenty of yellow and orange, I wouldn’t precisely call it autumnal.

What I’ve come to realize, after so “many” years (though truth be told: I knew it long ago), is that living in a waffle sim is quite boring and pointless. Well, let’s say that it has little sense, to not be so rude. But it’s true. In SL, a parcel is not only a place to define a vision for oneself; it’s more like a shop window, even if you don’t sell anything, because you actually work that plot not only to please yourself, but to share the way you see this virtual world with others. A waffle sim, one which parcels are divided by ground or prim walls to hide what lies within from your neighbors, or waffle regions, those composed of disconnected sims only accessible by TP, are established to foster privacy, a concept that defiles the nature and purpose of SL, which is (or is supposed to be) to be social and share.

Items: Yellow and orange trees, grass, leaves, and fallen tree: Happy Mood. Butterflies, wildgrass and purple rabbit grass: alirium. Dry tree: 3D Trees. Bare trees and fence: Botanical. Lodge: Zacca. Chairs and candelabra: what next. Chouzu-bachi: nonino. Autumn birch: Garden World. Wood rail: MMGraffiti’s. Paperbag lantern: hate this.

Banyan Tree

Stranglers

Normal trees grow like, you know, normal: they have a root system that runs below the surface, a trunk that goes up to the sky, and branches that spread throughout. Of course they have also twigs and leaves that fall off regularly and make people mad. But trees do that just for fun. That’s a risky behavior, though, because there’s some really mad people out there that go like crazy about it, and then go and grab a chainsaw and massacre the poor things that can’t run for their lives.

Most trees look so peaceful though, unmovable by the stress of daily life. Solace, that’s another word I can easily associate with trees. Even shelter. Most of these words entail a positive meaning, an association that may explain why some wise groups worship them. But as in any generous clan, some of them carry a bad reputation of some sort. For instance, members of the Ficus “family” are sometimes portrayed as sociopaths… that, or they are extremely affectionate, so much so that they embrace other trees so profoundly that they can hug them to death. For obvious reasons, they are called strangler figs. That’s an undeserved reputation, though, because they don’t climb up on other trees purposefully and then start to grow up and down and everywhere. Blame it on the birdies, because they eat the fig fruits, deposit the seeds on another tree, if that’s the case (don’t ask me to describe how they do that, I’m sure you know they don’t go about collecting figs in baskets), and then the seeds have no other choice but to germinate and start their life cycles wherever they are. If it happens to be on another tree, well you can guess the roots will snake down the trunk of the host tree, and then deep to the ground, or they can hang from branches so Tarzan and his ape mates can swing from tree to tree like bungee jumping, et cetera.

Big trees with aerial root systems like those of the banyan tree are quite common throughout the tropics. They fascinate temperate tourists that quickly go into a what-the-fuck-mode when they see one for the first time. And for a good reason because when these trees are old, they are wide and imposing, a real sight to behold. But in SL, you can’t have a banyan tree on a 512 sq.m. plot, or hardly on a 1024 sq.m., as I had to do for these pictures (shrinking the tree significantly as a matter of fact). They need some space to bloom as designed. The recently released Banyan tree from 3D Trees {slurl} in particular is a prime, but not primy, example. I’d suggest at least a 4096 sq.m. lot to  better place this 18-prim baby.

The first Ficus I owned in SL was Organica’s {slurl} Ficus benjamina. Despite being quite an elegant tree, I rarely used it because it is 61 prims, including 4 for the shadow. The root system was mainly simulated by the trunk texture, with a few of them sculpted around the base and one up. This tree was later replaced (though it’s still available) by…

Ficus 1 (redux), that lowered the prim count to 24, and eliminated the shadow. Even this one was put to sleep with the coming of…

Ficus 2, that became the lowest prim Ficus tree in that store, at only 6. Another pack, Ficus 3 (not shown), included two gigantic behemoths that could only be used in a rightful way on 1/4 sim parcels –at best– and up.

With the advent of mesh, Organica introduced Ficus 4 (above), which, from my point of view, was a remake of Ficus 2. This one gave way to a more ample version with more elaborate and independent aerial roots in Ficus 5. I took this last shot (below) in Organica’s sim since I don’t own a copy of this tree myself.

It may seem this is the story of Organica’s Ficus family line. It’s not my fault that their trees are so well made and attractive. There are some other strangler trees out there. The following two stand out as best (imho).

Buddhabeats‘ Bodhi Tree 2012 {slurl} is another example of a Banyan tree, but with a  less robust appearance. Its name points to the Sacred fig species (Ficus religiosa), which is tightly associated with Buddhist folklore.

The last in line is Julia Hathor’s Exotic Banyan tree. I almost skip this one because no matter what viewer or drawing distance I use –among other settings– I never fail to crash when entering Creative Fantasy {slurl}. I was able to get there for this shot using the latest version of Niran’s Viewer (I tried four crashing viewers in all). At 41 prims, it stands as the second most primy Ficus tree in this quick survey, but will surely be very welcome by Julia’s fans among gardening lovers.

Fun post

I’ve been kind of busy lately, yet I don’t have much to report. Sounds like a contradiction, but it’s not, because, after all, I didn’t plan to change things so soon again. Besides, I’ve only been “revisiting” my inventory, for the most part, trying to clean it a little bit… if possible, and controlling SL expenses in terms of land holdings. I have to say I’ve managed to do OK so far. I’ve “found” some comfort in “decorating” with what I have at the moment; that has even been interesting, indeed: replacing stuff with low prim versions while retaining as much detail as possible. It’s been a lot of fun, really, and I think I should have a SL garage sale of some sort at some point, so other people may benefit from my used wares. Non-transferable stuff gets deleted of course; there’s no other way to deal with them… unless you want to keep it for historical reasons. But I’m more practical than sentimental when it comes to cleaning the clutter, and if I have no plan of using it again, why bother keeping?

Has anybody done a garage sale before? The Marketplace has a Used Items category, some kind of a flea market, but I still prefer inworld business. But then, there’s some issues to consider too. For example: When a creator puts something for sale with transferable rights, does that automatically entitles the buyer to a licence for resell (unless specifically indicated otherwise)? You own a copy because you paid for it, and if after buying some furniture in RL you can do with it as you wish (be it resell, give away, burn up –or down–, whatever), should it be the same in SL? If so, or if it doesn’t make a difference, at what price should used wares be sold? I mean, SL stuff is eternally new, so should one go for same price as new or lower? Not that I’m looking for a way to get rich or anything, but getting something back from my investment will certainly be more than welcomed. Actually, even selling at 5L per item would help to cover some sweet weekly tier, come on. But I’m not a business man; I usually end up cluttering some of my friend’s  inventories instead, hehe.

Anyway, back to “business”. Here are some shots of what the plot looks like right now. As I said, most of this stuff is old, so I’m skipping the credits of what has been shown in previous posts. You can browse the blog if you need to, or use the tags to get some clues. I do have to highlight some products I’ve never used before, like the Lainey Park Bench from Cheeky Pea {slurl} in the first picture. It’s not exactly a low prim bench considering there are some in the market for 4 to 6 times a lower land impact (LI), but I like this one a lot, and I think it’s because its nice animation set. By the way, Cheeky Pea is having a 50% OFF sale this week, a great excuse to renew your house furnishings while saving some lindens.

Next is Zacca’s Farmer House, small version {slurl}. As usual, I did some modding to fit my size, so this is smaller than the original one. I had to ask direct help from Cross Jupiter (its creator) to adjust the garden door and the casement window because they are no-mod to prevent people from screwing the scripts up if they attempt to change any of the two. The house is pretty good if you own a small parcel. If space is not an issue, check out the two larger versions; both are awesome.

The tall bush in front of the Farmer House is a broadleaf tree (T12) I got from Sub Dimensional Studio {slurl} a long time ago. Again, the original is a huge sculpted tree that is taller than a skyscraper, and I mean it. It is mod-able so now, thanks to the new prim size limit, it’s ok to stretch it to more realistic heights; that’s why I’m using it now. In the foreground, there’s a Wood Bike from Mary’s Little Lamb {slurl} –a toy-like thingy not for riding–, and a freebie Fence from Glitterati {slurl} loaded with about 10 different poses. The bike is still available, but I really have no idea about the fence.

The “idea” behind the Farmer’s House is that I converted it into a little shoreline café; just for the looks and the fun and the challenge of adding a lot of stuff while keeping the prim allowance in check, really. I won’t be holding artsy soirées anytime soon, but you can turn in the parcel music stream if you happen to be around. Be warned, though: it’s not Beethoven coming out of the antique speakers, but some dark gothic tunes provided by the House of Avro‘s Dark Radio preset stations. The radio can’t be seen in the picture above, but you can get it following this {slurl}. It’s somewhere around the store. Be careful of vampires while you shop [grins]. The tables and stools are from mdrm {slurl}, while the Bistro Chalkboards in the background are from LISP Bazaar {slurl}. The bottles and box are from Post’s Sunnanby Harvest Hutch {slurl}. Most of the bakery stuff (mostly hidden in the pic behind the stool) is from i(TuTu) {slurl}, LISP, Kinokoko {slurl}, atmosphere works {slurl}, and Organica {slurl}.

All these changes were prompted by this enchanting Willow Tree from 3D Trees {slurl} released a couple of weeks ago. I placed it near the pond, which you can see in a more natural light in the picture accompanying a previous post.

I also found this cute Tree with Bird’s Nest in the most unlikely of places: a store named Old World {slurl}, that specializes in Medieval furniture, buildings and other wares. It’s not that it’s odd to find a tree in there, it’s just that it’s not a garden center. But well, it was a nice finding. They have some interesting stuff for a rustic look as well, so it’s worth paying a visit. I used the Cheeky Pea’s Zachary Patio set before, but the wire-like chairs and table are so thin that they didn’t show up well in the picture. This time, the shot was more favorable, so there they are.

And finally, a “cutesse” from Happy Mood {slurl}: the Stump Table set. It comes with table and tree chairs, and with or without painting utensils. The tubular thingy covering the stump table is a modified Gazebo from Cheeky Pea. By the way, don’t look up cutesse in the dictionary. I just made that up; read it as cute + finesse [winks].