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Dandelions and firs

Land lust in autumn

There are two seasons in the year when not having a large plot stresses me: autumn and spring. That’s when I used to be more active, landscaping and gardening. Autumn brings the exquisiteness of ocher shades, while spring, you know, brings the colorful flowers. Spreading all that greenness over a considerable stretch of land is quite inspiring (for me at least). Trying to do that in a small parcel is, for the most part, discouraging, especially in autumn, when the trees take center stage. Nevertheless I decided to go the practical way, choosing mainland for my living –for the last two years– over private estates, and sticking to double prim land to take advantage of the extra land capacity. While spring has been “acceptable,” autumn hasn’t been so that much, meh.

Studio Skye birch grove set

In the first picture (above), a menagerie of autumnal trees from different creators, with a partial view of Studio Skye’s new Birch grove set, to the left. There rest of the wood dwellers has been showcased in this blog before.

Bicycle and tree

The Cube Republic has also been busy creating new trees and shrubs lately, with some outstanding new products available in two SL events. Above, an old bike has been partially “swallowed” by the growing trunk of a seasonal-enable beech tree, currently available at Shiny Shabby. The event will run until November 10th, so click HERE to teleport to buy it.

Dandelion

Another of Cube’s Shiny Shabby releases is this nice dandelion set, which is probably the most beautiful and realistic dandelion plant in the SL market as of now. It comes in single (pictured above) and clumps of three, with or without a charming particle effect that disperses parachuting seeds a short distance from the head. The effect is nicely done, so I assure you won’t upset your neighbors if you let it always on (yes, that means you can also turn it off).

Douglas firs

Lastly, I wasn’t able to take a really good shot of Cube’s latest product, the Douglas Fir set, available at the 6º Republic event (click HERE to teleport), due to the trees’ huge size and my parcel’s restrictive proportions. Yet, to their favor I have to say of all the mesh trees I’ve come across, I think these firs are the only ones my crappy video card is able to render wonderfully. At full size, they average 22-31 LI, but will shrink to much less  (10-12 LI in the picture) without losing any detail. They’re also season enabled (green and winter), so once planted, you can keep your Douglas fir grove up all year round if you wish.

Now I’m wondering if I should go back to renting a quarter of a homestead sim again… (sobs).

Frogbit

Frog-size panda on a pond

Trillium

Getting ready for the coming spring, I cut SL winter pretty short and went to work on a more common setting in my backyard, when there came along Cube Republic with some nice releases early birdies should get their hands on right away. To at least maintain the yearly rhythm, let’s start with the whitish Trillium pictured above. This three-petal perennial begins to bloom in late winter, during the month of February, and depending on the “cultivar” (if we can speak of such things in SL gardening) continue to do so throughout spring. So it was a logical choice to distribute them not so sparingly among the fallen branches.

Bloodroot

Next came the Bloodroot, another whitish flower that heralds the arrival of spring. This one is so shy that the plant will go underground when the season is over and will remain dormant until the following year.

Orchids

Orchids are among the favorite flowers of many a bunch of gardeners, and though I think in the tropics there are species blooming at different times of the year, I think most, like many other plants, prefer spring to bloom. Actually, Cube released this one in December, and I was going to place a few branches full of them in a greenhouse, but because I was moving –yep, once again– I opted to wait and use them in the new parcel after melting the snow down.

Frogbit

What actually set me in the writing mood was this beautiful frogbit rendition, as I’m particularly fond of aquatic, or I should say “pondish” plants. The frogbit resemble a miniature water lily with more simple flowers that will also bloom mostly in the summer, so this is just a preview for you my dear readers, and as soon as I finish this they will revert to leaves, leaving the frog-size panda rowing silently on the pond until the right time comes.

Iris

Finally, here is a gorgeous flag iris, another plant suitable for wetland lovers. Like other aquatic plants (including the frogbit above), this one also prefers to bloom during the summer months.

All plants in this post are available at Cube Republic’s inworld store, so head there now and have some early gardening fun.

Cube's Cave

Deep underground

Some people make good use of SL ground level –the rest do not. A lot of people abuse the skies –some do better. Merpeople are  beginning to reclaim the depths of SL seas –where sailors find themselves occasionally after a sim crash or any other happening– but there’s very few that dig underground. And the “why” may have a reason: though it’s quite easy to lower the terrain level to a minimum, only on rare occasions the results are interesting.

First of all, it’s not possible to make a natural-looking tunnel in SL. Instead, you can go for a narrow channel or a trench and then cover the top with an object, as the need asks for. But then, the walls may not be that convincing, unless the ground texture matches that of a seeming cave, or again use another object to compensate for the lack of nature’s way. Another option could be to use one of the few cave kits like the one recently introduced by Cube Republic of Ossahna Gardens. You can see some examples of his demo in the pictures below, or visit the store (a must) to take a closer and better look.

EntrancewayFloraCrystalsBridgeQuick exit

This is not the only cave building set out in the market of course, but you have to visit it and hear for yourself the –almost– fairy-like atmosphere achieved by the also included sound emitters, among other extras. Its walls have a slippery appeal, contrary to Fanatik’s set (the next pictures), which are more rocky and somewhat dry. This other one also has a more natural sound set (though frankly I don’t know if it’s included in the same package).

Fanatik entranceInside formationsStalactites and stalagmitesDoorMore rock formationsQuick escape 2

I’m not a speleologist, so I can’t tell you what type of cave each one is, but I bet you’ve never seen so fabulous doors protecting a SL cave before. This is from Cube Republic. First, they are closed, then they are opened.

Cube Republic Vine Door, closedCube Republic's Vine door, opened

Isn’t it meshxy?

Fanatik’s set has several addons with PG and Adult poses, among other things,  that will add extra functionality to certain special chambers. Take a look at this adult-enable cave pond, available separately.

Pond

If you want to make full use of SL multiple layers, don’t forget to experiment with any of these two cavern building sets. To visit Ossanha Gardens, click here; for Fanatik, click this way. Pictures were taken in the respective inworld stores.