A SMALL stream with stepping stones and a waterfall as well as a rest house that protruded onto the water were incorporated into the design at the Japanese Gardens at Cowden.

Lanterns were placed in the garden which are symbolic in Japanese culture. There were two Kasuga lanterns, which were made of granite and were in the shape of a Shinto god. These came from Kyoto and dated 1823.

Other lanterns were from the Legged Class with the Snow Scene lantern which was approached by stepping stones as it was in the middle of the water.

These lanterns too were granite. but neither type actually worked although they were hollowed out on the top so that an oil lamp could be placed on it.

Not only did the garden have an array of plants, trees and shrubs, but also a range of significant stones. The Fuji slope housed the Seat of Honour stone while amongst the other stones to be found in the rest of the garden were the Face Washing Stone, the Widower's Stone, the Master's Stone and the Moonshadow Stone.

Christie's father John, who owned the Cowden estate, was a keen arborist and planted some of the trees that remain to this day and garden became well known and people flocked to see her outstanding work including Queen Mary in 1937.

The last time the garden opened to the public was in 1955 to raise funds for the St James' Espiscopal Church in Dollar. All of the guests passed the Welcoming Stone just inside the entrance gate representing Heaven, mankind and earth.

Christie became a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, where in November 1934 she became its vice-president. She was also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1913, one month after they have voted to allow women members.

In 1949 Christie died from leukemia aged 87 and Cowden was inherited by her great-nephew Robert Stewart.

The garden continued with private tours until 1963 when the they were vandalised. The tea houses and bridges were burned, with lanterns and shrines tossed into the water. The gardens were then left to decay.

In 2008 Cowden was placed in the hands of Stewart's daughter Sara who is restoring the gardens with help from Professor Masao Fukuhara of Osaka University in Japan, who oversaw the restoration of Japanese gardens at Kew in London.

The gardens are considered historically and artistically outstanding and the two women involved in their creation are of significant historical importance in their own rights.