The Japanese Garden · Cowden Castle · Scotland    A Restoration Appeal

Brochure (pdf)


The restoration to date has been made possible by many extremely generous private donors. In addition, sponsorship from Historic Scotland, The Mushroom Trust, Baillie Gifford, John L S Grant and John Swire and Sons has enabled the Trust to employ consultants to produce the application for the Heritage Lottery Fund Grant and also the Conservation Management Plans.

We are delighted to be officially collaborating with The Royal Botanic Gardens in Japan and to have endorsement from The Ambassador of Japan, The Consul General of Japan and Tony Kirkham, Head of the Arboretum at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

David Knott from Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh

Sara Stewart with Mr Daisuke Matsunaga, Consul General, Edinburgh


"The Japanese Garden is a unique, international attraction in Clackmannanshire, I whole-heartedly support its development."

Luke Graham, MP, Ochil and South Perthshire

"The restoration of the Japanese Garden is a unique project that showcases the diverse range of planting and styles within a ‘Scottish’ Japanese garden. A ground breaking project attracting worldwide interest and of immense benefit to local history and tourism."

Cllr Les Sharp
Leader, Clackmannanshire Council

"I can confirm that the Council most certainly supports the Cowden restoration project. We are delighted that the proposal came to fruition after many years. We granted planning consent in July 2015, fully recognising the importance of the Japanese Garden, not just locally but also nationally. As part of the planning application process, we received specific support from Historic Scotland and the two local Community Councils."

Julie Hamilton
Development and Services Manager, Clackmannan Council

"I have been delighted to see the excellent progress in the redevelopment of the Japanese Garden at Cowden. I think this is a wonderful project and I fully support it: it will be a great addition to our local community. I have no doubt it will attract visitors to the area from far and wide, and I know that our schoolchildren here at Dollar will really enjoy the opportunity to visit regularly."

David Knapman
Rector, Dollar Academy (1215 pupils)

"The Trustees and Friends of Dollar Museum would like to express their support for the restoration and development of the Japanese Garden at Cowden. The Museum has always taken a great interest in Miss Christie and the Garden, having done much research and put on several related and very popular exhibitions. The work so far carried out on the Garden is most impressive and its full development so that it can be appreciated by the public is very important. I am constantly asked by visitors to Dollar Museum who see our current display on the Garden: 'When will it be open? When can we go and see it?'"

Janet Carolan
Chair of Dollar Museum Trust and Hon. Curator, Dollar Museum


Volunteers have proved invaluable to the restoration process. Kate, our head gardener, has had invaluable help from Pat and Margaret over two seasons. The President of the Japan Garden Society visited to help the team from Japan in May 2016.

The President of the Japan Garden Society

Over forty Japanese student volunteers have worked at Cowden since the restoration. More recently, the stonework on the east of the pond was completely restored by the Drystone Walling Association (photo of before and after) and in January 2018 TCV will be creating the new Sir Robert Stewart Walk, which will take in an additional part of the garden.

The pond before restoration

The Drystone Walling Association

The restored pond