Return to a Crystal Garden in Second Life

Crystal Gardens Estates Inara Pey, July 2015, on FlickrCrystal Gardens Estates, July 2015 (Flickr) – click any image for full size

I first visited Crystal Gardens Estates in February 2015, so it might seem a little odd writing about it again so soon. However, the region, operated by Sandi and Mikal Beaumont, has undergone a complete redesign, and  this being the case, I was naturally drawn back to take a look.

As with my original visit, the region is divided into a set of islands, with the landing point located on the largest. Here sits a stepped pair of terraces, the uppermost of which presents a live performance stage and dance floor, while the lower features a small market space dominated by a beautiful, materials-enabled pavilion by iBi (8f8), and a view over the water to the islands on the east side of the region.

Crystal Gardens Estates Inara Pey, July 2015, on FlickrCrystal Gardens Estates, July 2015 (Flickr) – click any image for full size

Head south from here, and you’ll find yourself following a track that will take you over a little bridge across a stream flowing down for a waterfall-fed pool, and into a garden space. A brick path leads the way around the garden, taking you to places to sit and relax indoors or out, and the opportunity to climb to a hilltop ruin.

On the north side of the music area sits a Tuscan style villa, with courtyard pool. A boat rezzer fronts this, next to the little wooden dock and offers speedboats for getting around the rest of the region, including getting to the beach themed island in the north-west corner. This is linked by a wooden pier to Ilyra Chardin’s art garden and gallery.

Crystal Gardens Estates Inara Pey, July 2015, on FlickrCrystal Gardens Estates, July 2015 (Flickr) – click any image for full size

The garden space displays the works from a number of artists, including Ilyra herself, all under the shade of trees and ready to be admired from cobbled paths. Behind this, to the east is a wooded space leading to Ilyra’s private home. Follow the cobbles southwards, however, and you’ll cross the main drive and arrive at a wooden bridge leading to Ilyra’s indoor gallery space, showcasing more of her own work. A wooden platform built in the trees to the side of the gallery building offers a place to rest and enjoy the ambience of the place.

The remaining island, to the south-east, presents a very different look and feel: that of a run-down urban area, designed by photographer and musician Dimi (DimiVan Ludwig), and the home to his Dimi’s Digital Designs. With a “gentleman’s club”, boxing ring, the environment here might be to everyone’s liking looks-wise, but the attention to detail is complete, and when set with the region’s default windlight, offers plenty of photographic opportunities, as well as providing another live music venue in the form of Dimi’s The Alley.

Crystal Gardens Estates Inara Pey, July 2015, on FlickrCrystal Gardens Estates, July 2015 (Flickr) – click any image for full size

I did have a couple of minor niggles during my visit; the landscaping around the Tuscan villa seems a tad rough, and the speedboat rezzer needs a little tweaking to ensure the boats rez on the water. But I emphasise these are minor grumbles, and could easily be down to the redesign perhaps still being a work-in-progress. As it is, Crystal Gardens Estates continues to offer an interesting set of places to visit and explore, with lots of opportunities for photography, as well as the attraction of live music. For my part, I continue to be drawn by Ilyra’s gallery space, and the opportunity to wander the estate as a whole, snapshot floater at the ready.

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