THE Japanese Garden at Cowden is set to feature on a television programme exploring the greatest gardens in the country.

Gàrraidhean Mòra na h-Alba (Gardens in Scotland) is currently airing on BBC Alba with one episode set to feature the unique Wee County attraction, situated near to Dollar.

The garden was visited by presenter Murdo Macdonald, who learned more about Ella Christie and Taki Handa, the two women who created the garden at the turn of the 20th century.

Ella, believed to have been the first western woman to meet the Dalai Lama, was so inspired by a visit to Japan that when she returned she wanted to create her own garden at Cowden.

She employed Taki to create the garden which became the first and only garden of its size and scale to be designed by a woman.

Tragically, the garden was badly vandalised in the 1960s, but Sara Stewart, Ella's great, great niece, said she is thrilled with the ongoing restoration.

She said: "It started in 2014, it was led by a Japanese team and the person in charge, Professor Masao Fukuhara, won the Gold Medal at the Chelsea Flower Show, which is the most prestigious award in gardening circles.

"It's entirely authentic, it's a bridge between Japanese and Scottish cultures so we think the restoration is as authentic as the original plan. It's taken six years and we're nearly at the end of it.

"I'm totally delighted, it's gone as well as anyone could wish."

Sara continued: "We're over the moon that the garden is being featured on this channel because it's a garden that we think is the jewel of central Scotland so it's only right that it's on that channel."

Throughout the programme Murdo also learns more about the cultural significance of the Japanese design of the garden and the essential work that's being carried out by volunteers and staff to maintain the beauty of the gardens.

Part of their work involves creating a ripple effect in the gravel as though a stone has been dropped and raking the leaves from the pond to retain a clean reflection on the water.

Murdo added: "The Japanese Garden is beautiful. It's a completely different approach to gardening because it's highly formalised. It's almost an attempt to create perfection with such a minute approach to everything, even plucking a single weed at a time.

"There's a lovely circulatory walk around it and each time you see something different. It creates a feeling of Zen-like tranquility.

"There's also a fantastic back story to this garden because of the involvement of three very formidable ladies who made such a success of it."

Gàrraidhean Mòra na h-Alba airs on BBC Alba on Thursday and Sunday nights.