THE Wee County will host a number of leading architects at the end of this month – following the success of the Japanese Garden at Cowden.

As a result of the success of last years’ Japanese Festival, The Japan World Exposition 1970 Commemorative Fund has awarded site the associated costs to fly four leading Japanese landscape architects to Clackmannanshire.

The Japanese Garden at Cowden will host a weekend of talks and workshops at the end of August and this year the focus is on exploring the links between Japanese art forms such as sumi calligraphy and the ancient art of the tea ceremony.

Professor Masao Fukuhara, who led the restoration of the garden, will be talking about the principles of Japanese garden design.

There will also be chance to get hands on and learn how to construct a traditional bamboo fence.

Sara Stewart, head of the site's charitable trust, said: “This is unique opportunity to learn from Japanese experts and gain an insight into the aesthetics of Japanese art and design.”

The garden had been closed for more than five decades, but its fortunes were turned around following years of restoration.

It reopened again last summer and has been hugely popular since with people coming from all corners of the country to see one of the Wee County’s most colourful attractions.

The garden was first established in 1908 by Ella Christie of Cowden Castle, before it was handed over to her great nephew Robert Stewart.

It was created by Taki Handa – the first and only Japanese woman to be accredited with designing a garden of that nature.

The garden was once described as the "most important Japanese Garden in the Western world" by Professor Jijo Suzuki, 18th hereditary head of the Soami School of Imperial Garden Design, Japan, 1925.

However, vandalism in 1963 saw the tea houses and bridges burned, lanterns and shrines knocked into the water, ripping it apart.

It was taken on by Robert’s daughter, Sara Stewart, in 2008 and she decided to bring it back to its former glory.

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.

The events take place on August 31 and on September 1. For more info, visit