Cowden Park’s Japanese Garden
Ella Christie, a Scottish adventurer, returned home from a journey to Japan around the turn of the century inspired to create her own Japanese garden.
Ella’s approach to building the garden was groundbreaking, as one might expect from the first western woman to meet the Dalai Lama. She commissioned Taki Handa, a talented female designer, to design the seven-acre property in the grounds of Cowden Castle. The Japanese Garden at Cowden became the first and only garden of this size and scale to be developed by a woman as a result of this. It is still a one-of-a-kind and completely genuine link between Scottish and Japanese culture.
The garden was vandalised in the 1960s and is now being restored by a group of volunteers.
In Japan gardening as an art form has developed over thousands of years, beginning with covered plots on the beach or in the forest, created for ceremonies honouring spirits believed to have come from the heavens or across the sea.
While Japanese gardens are famous for their beauty and simplicity, they are much more than neatly manicured bushes and stone statues.
All gardens in Japan are noteworthy and treated with great respect, regardless of their style or size. Garden design is a time-honoured notion that reflects old spiritual beliefs that revere nature’s delicate and intricate beauty.
A true Japanese garden should, at its core, reflect the essence of nature while emphasising seasonal changes and life’s transience. A traditional Japanese garden is thought to tempt the gods if done correctly.