The Japanese Garden at Cowden

I haven’t managed to sort through the Lake District photos yet so I thought I would do a post on the Japanese Garden that we visited a couple of weeks ago. It’s at Cowden Castle, between the small village of Dunning and Yetts o’ Muckhart. Yes that is a place, ‘yett’ just means gate.

The garden isn’t finished yet, it has undergone a lot of refurbishment as it has lain neglected for many years and has only recently been opened to the public again after being closed for years. It was originally created in 1908 but was closed to the public in 1955. It has taken three years of work to get it to this stage but there’s still some work to do on it.

Acer at Japanese Garden, Cowden

In 1925 this garden was described by Profesor Jijo Suzuki as the most important Japanese garden in the western world.

pond and bridge

There’s a Zen garden, not my favourite kind but still intersting. Obviously there are a lot of cherry trees that have been newly planted so I’ll have to go back there around next May to see what they look like.

dry garden /Zen garden

Stepping stones are a big feature of the gardens and you can even walk across the pond/loch using them – if you have good balance!


apond and bridge

We visited the gardens the day after Storm Ali which caused mayhem in some places with lots of trees keeling over as they were still in full leaf, but these gardens are set in a sort of wee glen so they’re quite sheltered, only one tree seemed to have been blown over.
looking back to pond

Pond and Bridge

There’s twenty acres of woodland to walk in if you have the time and energy. Before going here we had a look online to see what people said about the place. Some comments were less than complimentary, but we had a lovely time, the staff were welcoming and the soup in the cafe was very tasty – what more can you ask?!

Threave Gardens, Dumfries and Galloway

azalea walkway

We visited Threave Gardens during our recent four day trip to Dumfries and Galloway and we got there at the perfect time, just as the rhododendrons and azaleas were looking their best. The nearest town to Threave is Castle Douglas.

azalea walkway

It’s very weird but when I was there I didn’t even notice the electricity wires in this photo, or the shadow, too busy looking at the plants I suppose.
azalea walkway
This was originally a private estate but I believe it is now used as a horticultural training centre and the students have accommodation in what was the estate house – very nice I’m sure. The house is of course in the Scots Baronial style.
Threave House

There’s a wee burn running through the gardens in the Japanese section.
Burn at Threave Gardens
It wouldn’t be a Japanese Garden without a bridge and acers of course.
Japanese Bridge + Pond

Japanese Bridge

And a wee bit of a waterfall too. It was a boiling hot and very bright day, in fact too bright – not that I’m moaning.
cascade at Threave Gardens

If you’re into gardening you should definitely visit Threave. They have a great plant nursery there with lots of plant varieties that feature in the gardens for sale, so of course I just had to purchase some. In my experience it’s rare to be able to buy plants that you’ve actually seen growing in gardens like this one and it drives me nuts that they don’t bother to make the most of the commercial possibilities. Whoever runs Threave has got it right!

I took lots more photos but I’ll save the rest for another time.

Japanese Garden at Glendoick, Perthshire.

Japanese garden

The photo above is of a Japanese Garden which has been planted within the Glendoick Garden Centre, near Errol in Perthshire, Scotland. It has obviously been planted some years ago as it’s quite mature now, but it’s a great idea and it probably does quite a lot for their sales of those types of plants.

We visited about 10 days ago when it was looking fab, as you can see, I think we got there just at the perfect time.

Japanese Garden Rhododendrons.

I had been to this garden centre just once before and I was sure that it had all the plants with their Latin names in alphabetical order, which I thought was a brilliant idea, so easy to find what you were looking for.

Imagine my surprise when I got there and there was no sign of anything alphabetical. Either they have changed it completely or I was thinking of an entirely different garden centre, or possibly I dreamt of such a thing, as my perfect place to buy plants and it doesn’t actually exist!

Anyway, if you know of such an alphabetical plant place – please do tell!

My Favourite Chelsea Flower Show Winners

Well that’s Chelsea Flower Show over for another year and now we have to look forward to the Hampton Court show which is in July. Here are some of my favourite gardens from Chelsea 2012.

Best Artisan Garden I love this one because of the planting. Acers are my favourite small trees.

I voted for the Bronte Garden in the small garden category and it won. It’s my kind of garden because I love all the stone, the burn running through it and the semi wild planting. It’s the sort of garden which would attract loads of wildlife.

I’m never madly keen on the big show gardens, they nearly always seem cold and clinical to me, don’t ask me why, maybe it’s because the structures tend to be the most important things in them and often there are hardly any plants at all.

One thing that I do lust after is that 1950s caravan. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing to have at the bottom of your garden! The photo is taken from

Chelsea Flower Show caravan