Currently featured in the Destination Guide is Bella’s Glade, a summer’s garden located on a sky platform over Shara Lights of Amara, a full region with the private island LI bonus. Designed by Shara estate owner Dhanle (DaneLee), it originally formed a place for his physical world mother, but has has now been opened as a further retreat for those wishing to find escape from whatever pressures they are facing.
It’s a gloriously colourful setting, but one likely designed for those who do not run with shadows enabled, given it sits under a skydome that casts everything into a post-twilight gloom for those who do prefer to have shadows running. As such, for those who do have shadows on, I’d recommend taking a moment to derender the dome to allows for more natural lighting – although I do so with a further caveat, which I’ll come to in a moment.
The landing point for the glade is located towards the centre of the setting, occupying a semi-circular pergola built out over an ox bow of a small lake separated from a fast-flowing river by a needle of land. A conservatory sits on this narrow band of green and colour, reached via a broad board walk they spans the lake. It is the first of several places to be found within the gardens – the others waiting to lead visitors away from the landing point in a number of directions.
These paths wind under trees and between beds of flowers that are both planted and wild. In places railings and fences mark the route to be taken, elsewhere steps and cut logs mark the way. One route directs feet to a distant house, another to the ruin of a cottage on a hill with others passing swings and benches awaiting lovers and / or those seeking the opportunity to sit and appreciate the view before them. Some of these paths might be obvious, others less so – but to describe them all would be to spoil the opportunities to be had for discovery.
While it may not mean much to the majority of people reading this piece, Bella’s Glade reminds me of the Shuttleworth Swiss Garden in Bedfordshire, England. The two share a similar mix of the cultivated and the wild, of water and open spaces and tree-shades walks and richly wooded copses. And while Bella’s Glade might not have the same mix of follies and topiary as the Swiss Garden and be a little wilder overall, it nevertheless offered to me that same sense of wonder and delight.
Within all of this sits the house, an A-framed cottage that overlooks the river, a cobbled walk following the curve of the water in the suggestion of a canal side walk. The cottage forms an idyllic home, a place to be savoured for its solitude and the beauty of its surrounding gardens.
If there is one issue to be had with this setting it circles back to that aforementioned caveat about the use of shadows. Simply put, this is a setting with a lot of individual textures – and these both take time to load – sometimes frustratingly so – and can also significantly impact rendering performance when combined with shadows. As such, it may well be preferable to only toggle shadows on when taken photos.
That said, Bella’s Glade is an enchanting setting for those wishing to find a sanctuary or who enjoy garden spaces and are willing to make the necessary adjustments to their viewer.
- Bella’s Glade (Lights of Shara, rated Moderate)