With the end of an old year and the start of a new one, thoughts inevitably change from those of winter and snow to the arrival of spring and the rebirth of nature’s colours. Given this, I decided to hop over to Legallyblondmod Demonista’s setting of Wildwood Gardens.
Occupying a little over half a Full region, this is a richly detailed environment that is rich in colour; one that attracted me through the promise of a timeless setting within its description, and I was far from disappointed.
Enjoy lakeside deep forest and exotic caves gardens among the ruins of old. Where hints of ancient magic still linger. Relax and take time to explore.
– Wildwood Gardens About Land description
The lake in question lies on the east side of the setting, at the far end of the woods and their gardens relative to the western landing point. This sits on a small headland that looks out over a narrow channel of water sitting between Wildwood Gardens and an off-region ribbon of an island and overlooking a west side beach.
With its flower-bordered track running south along the back of the beach and lit by iron street lamps, together with the offer of a Teagle horse rezzer for those who might want to ride, and a folly-style rotunda sitting on the grassland on the far end of the beach, this initially has the feel of a simple garden, but there is fall more awaiting discovery, as the About Land description hints.
Proof of this comes by following the track as it passes along the back of the beach before turning inland to arrive at a junction. One arm of this points towards the rotunda on the coast, the other turns east, passing along the foot of a large elven hall that brings a slight flavour of Tolkien to the region.
Elven in style the hall maybe, it has a distinctly contemporary feel to its furnishings. There’s nothing wrong it this; the two styles compliment one another perfectly, offering a unique look to the hall. A further element of this magic can be found along the branch of the track pointing towards the rotunda near the beach. Following it will reveal it passes by the rotunda to arrive at the entrance to a network of tunnels and caverns.
The network is surprisingly extensive, winding its way under the highlands that form the southern side of the setting, and it is worth both following the suggestion of the sign at the entrance and set your viewer to Midnight and in taking time to explore underground; the caverns offer hidden waterfalls and pools of water, exotic flowers and crystals and a choice of routes back to the surface.
One of these offers a way back to the main track which, after passing over a stone bridge near the elven hall, passes through the denser trees, side paths branching off to reach places to sit – a camp ground here, a swing seat there, or a parasoled banket – look carefully and you’ll find them.
The remaining route through the cliffs leads to the southern bank of the lake and a hidden tree house that awaits discovery and enjoyment. It is overlooked by a cliff-edge stone pavilion that offers another Middle Earth feel, even though it is not intentionally designed as such. It stands as a hint of another secret to the setting: the cliff-top gardens that also await discovery.
These offer multiple points of interest – a pond with cosy summer house, a walled garden that further combines hints of fable with a contemporary design, a wooden gazebo – but how do you get up to it is the question. All I’ll say is, find the ruins watched over by unicorns that lies below the cliffs – you’ll find them further along the track from the main hall, and the entrance to a tunnel and steps that lead up to the plateau are not far away. Should you miss it, you can still carry on along the track to where a bridge spans a gorge linking the lake with open water and another table of grass-topped rock that offers another wild garden with its own attractions, and when finished there, find the tunnel stairs on your way back.
And all of this just scratches the surface of the beauty and magic of Wildwood Gardens, which is genuinely a place in which to lose oneself. There are multiple places to sit and share, a profusion of colours that naturally blend through flowers and plants, that captivating mix fable and contemporary that gives the setting a truly magical depth and sense of timelessness, all of which is rounded out by a perfect sound scape.
An altogether enchanting design.
- Wildwood Gardens (Ever Wilder, rated adult)