Friday, May 31, 2013

My Adventures in Virtual Gardening

Queen's House Ornamental Kitchen Garden in Second Life

It seems that I've been captivated by the Potager or Ornamental Kitchen Garden for a very long time now.  Though I come from a long line of gardeners, I was first introduction to the magical structure of the potager through the BBC television series The Ornamental Kitchen Garden hosted by Geoff Hamilton.  The mix of fruits, vegetables, flowers & herbs arranged in symmetrical garden beds stuck me as such a practical & exceptional work of art that I've been in love with ever since.

For a while I was content using potager techniques in my own backyard until one fateful day back in January 2008 when I goggled "Versailles Kitchen" and found Louis XIV's "King's Kitchen Garden" aka the "Potager du Roi".  As with so many things associated with Versailles it was mind blowing!

Plan du Jardin Potager du Roy, a Versailles

And so I did that only thing that was practical given my real life circumstances, I turned to the virtual world to satisfy my cravings for a full blown "Sun King" potager.  My first attempt was with TheSims2 where I created Versailles-King's Kitchen Garden for a ModTheSims contest (which I'm delighted to say I actually won).  I had a grand time both building & playing that lot and I still drop by TheSims2 from time to time to play it.

Versailles-Kitchen Garden built in TheSims2

On an amusing side note, if you use Google Images to search for this image you get some interesting results.  It seems that my little virtual garden is now being used to illustrate articles for real life potagers :)

When I moved from TheSims2 to Second Life in February 2008 I had dreams of creating more beautiful potagers and was disappointed to find that it wasn't actually that easy or practical.  Prim costs, as Land Impact(LI) was called back then, alone kept me from realizing a garden that I could actually afford to keep.  When each plant or flower has a LI=4 you really have to ration their use.  The addition of 1 prim plant sculpts helped but it was the introduction of Mesh to Second Life that really got me back into the virtual garden.

Queen's House Ornamental Kitchen Garden-Cabbage & Rose

The centrepiece of this new potager, Cabbage & Rose, contains four quadrants surrounding a lively little fountain.  Because I can never decide on just one rose colour, a colour change menu lets you select between Dark Pink, Soft Pink & Yellow.  The ornamental cabbages also come in four variations.

 Queen's House Ornamental Kitchen Garden-Lavender & Rose Row

I've created a variety of row & square gardens as part of the collection, many of them with their own variety menus.  All parts are mod/copy so that you can rearrange and make changes to your heart's content.  With the exception of the fountain, all components are mesh and every piece has been optimized to be LI conscious.

Queen's House Ornamental Kitchen Garden-Strawberry & Blueberry

I've reused the same mesh models throughout the garden as well as a number of textures, providing consistent visual impact while keeping rendering costs as low as possible.

Queen's House Ornamental Kitchen Garden-Tomato & Lettuce

After all these years, I'm so glad that my potager is finally shaping up in Second Life & I'm sure I'll be "gardening" for quite some time to come!

I'm also delighted to be able to have this first set of seven components ready for sale.

You can drop by The Queen's House inworld to walk along the paths or rest new the fountain or see the complete Kitchen Garden collection on the Second Life Marketplace.

My Adventures in Virtual Gardening by  on 2013-05-31 Tatiana turns to the virtual world to satisfy her cravings for a full blown "Sun King" potager.

All images (except Plan du Jardin Potager du Roy) by Tatiana Dokuchic

Find Tatiana Dokuchic on Google+

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