Once Upon A Fairy Tale – click any image for full size
The last time I visited Cape Juniper, Danni Lyric’s home region which she uses to showcase her landscaping and design skills, was in September 2015. As such, it is a place which periodically changes, and I was drawn back to is after seeing the region featured in a recent Destination Guide highlights under the title Once Upon A Fiary Tale. And if you in any way enjoy fairy tales sweet or grim, or have a penchant for stories involving wizards, elves, dragons and more, it is most assuredly a place you will want to visit and savour.
Once again, Danni – with the assistance of Psy Carnell – has created a unique, eye-catching environment with a lot to explore, see and discover – far more than may first meet the eye. “This year, instead of observing the changing of seasons, [we’ve] decided to take a nostalgic turn,” Danni explains. “Once Upon A Fairy Tale is a whimsical fantasy land with scenery inspired by fairy and folk tales of our childhood. You’ll notice as you travel around the different areas that, while nothing is an exact match to any single tale, there are strong hints you will find recognisable.”
Visits start ordinarily enough on a path alongside a notice board. A light haze hovers in the air, and a sign post alongside the landing point gives the first hint of just how much there is to find within this realm of folk tales, stories and imaginings. Take the footpath in one direction, and you’ll be led down to a watery oasis where merfolk reside; take it in another and you’ll climb a short hill to where Cinderella’s magical coach awaits, steeds and carriage yet to hear the strike of the midnight hour. Take it in the third offered direction and you’ll be led inland past wolves and a waterfall and over a ridge to – well, I’ll let you find out for yourselves!
Perhaps the best way to appreciate the beauty and otherworldliness of Once Upon a Fairy Tale is to pump up your draw distance to about 300-310 metes, and carefully cam out, keeping your focus on the land before you. As you do, you’ll see that the paths and lush greenery of your arrival point are surrounded by a mix of pointed green crags, flat-topped tables of rock and islands floating serenely in the haze, each the home to a scene or setting. These form a ring around the centre of the region, linked back to it by bridges and walkways, whilst not all being connected one to another.
Nor does the magic end there. Cam a little further out, and you’ll see that the region and the waters lapping it have been designed so it appears all of the land is floating on a foundation of clouds, the encompassing sea of Linden Water converted into an unending expanse of sky. It’s an extraordinary sight, one given added depth by the waters which tumble from the edge of the land into the “clouds” below.
As Danni notes, this isn’t designed to be a single fairy tale or fantasy setting; it is both an interpretation and an amalgam of stories, such that each island or location might be considered an individual setting with its own tale. But at the same time, when exploring, you cannot escape the fact that the different locations naturally flow one to another, whichever route of exploration you take. As such, there is a feeling of story-like continuity whilst exploring.
Then, of course there are the various images and suggestions posed by the scenes one encounters along the way. These will naturally be very individual for each of us: is the wizard Gandalf or one of his brethren, or is he more akin to Dumbledore and wizards of his ilk? Are the dragons from the pages of J.R.R.T or G.R.R.M?
Nor are the scenes restricted to purely western influences; the oriental is represented atop a couple of the islands, complete with Buddha and cushion for those who want to meditate. Elsewhere can be found winged horses (Pegasii?), complete with smithy to look after them, industrious gnomes, fairies and more. Through it all, the attention to detail and the little touches bring this world to life, as do the characters populating it – the gnomes, dwarves, creatures and (especially) the wizard.
This is a magical region for children of all ages, and most certainly not one to be missed or avoided.
- Once Upon a Fairy Tale (Hollandise, Cape Juniper, rated: Moderate)