THE Japanese Garden at Cowden will host the Japanese consul-general and a number of horticulture students for a special tree-planting ceremony this week.

A total of 25 cherry trees will be placed in the garden as part of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project.

The initiative aims to plant more than 1,000 trees in the UK by 2020 in an effort to celebrate the Japan-UK Season of Culture which runs from 2019-20.

Mr Nozomu Takaoka, the Japanese consul-general, will join students from the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, at the Clacks site on Friday.

This event is part of the ongoing restoration of this historic garden, which was created in 1908.

Indeed, the Japanese Garden at Cowden was recognised as a unique and important example of its type in the West.

Sadly, it was vandalised in the 1960s but has been undergoing restoration since 2014, before finally re-opening to the public in 2018.

At present, 50 Japanese flowering cherry trees have already been planted in the garden and surrounding grounds. It is hoped these trees will create a beautiful spring spectacle in years to come.

Kate White, head gardener at Cowden said: "Cherry blossom viewing is a major celebration in Japan, a sign of the arrival of spring.

"While we have many beautiful historic plantings of cherry trees in central Scotland, it is great to be part of a new large scale planting scheme that will be enjoyed for years to come, and perhaps inspire our own blossom viewing celebrations."

The garden opens to the public this year on Saturday, April 6, with visitors admitted from 10.30am to 5pm, Wednesday to Sunday.

Although difficult to predict when the cherry blossom will be out, it is likely to be enjoyed from the middle to end of April.

The Japanese Garden at Cowden is managed by a charitable trust. The aim is to restore the historic garden to its 1908 design, and provide a tranquil and beautiful garden experience for visitors.