Amazing Japanese Garden at Cowden in Scotland

Last weekend I visited The Japanese Garden at Cowden in Scotland it was created in 1908 and closed to the public in 1955. Aside from being beautiful and peaceful, the garden is the only one of its type in the world to have been designed by a Japanese woman, Taki Handa.

Sadly vandalised in the 1960’s, the garden is being brought back to life by a team of experts including the renowned Japanese architect and garden designer Professor Masao Fukuhara.  The Professor is best known for winning the Gold Medal at Chelsea Flower Show as well as the restoration of The Japanese Gardens at Kew, London and Tatton Park, Cheshire.

The Japanese Garden at Cowden has undergone three years of intensive restoration. Although there are areas still to be restored there is more than enough for visitors to enjoy. Described in 1925 by Professor Jijo Suzuki as ‘the most important Japanese garden in the Western World’, the garden consists of several acres of Japanese influenced landscape with a perimeter path around the small loch. There is an additional twenty acres of woodland walks to enjoy.

In the UK and want to exhibit Bonsai in the EU?

Now that the UK is no longer in the European Union, this is what you need to do if you are invited to exhibit your Bonsai at a European show. There is a cost to do this and it varies depending on your location in the UK. (how close you are to an agency that can issue the phytosanitary certificate as they have to come to you)

Below is a copy of the information I have received from Federaal Agentschap voor de Veiligheid van de Voedselketen (F.A.V.V.) today 8th February 2021. This is only to get your trees INTO the EU and into a single country, in this instance I enquired about Belgium. Returning with your trees is a totally different matter, I have been in contact with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the bottom line is that they are in disarray and they cannot give me a definitive answer directing me to this website: even this is constantly changing.

So if you want to exhibit this is what you need to do:

The first step is to obtain a phytosanitary certificate from the plant protection service in the country of origin. The contact details of the plant protection services of third countries (= England) are available on the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) website ( The original phytosanitary certificate must accompany the plants.

Subsequently, the plants must be notified to the border control post of entry into the European Union via Traces nt ( later than 24 hours before arrival. The list of border control posts can be found here (

The plants must be presented at the border control post for plant health check. 

The following points are checked:

  • Presence of a phytosanitary certificate that meets the requirements: regulation 2016/2031, annex V.
  • Compliance of the composition of the consignment with what is stated on the phytosanitary certificate.
  • Absence of plants for which import is prohibited: Regulation 2019/2072, Annex VI & Implementing Regulation 2018/2019 Annex I
  • Absence of EU quarantine organisms: Implementing Regulation 2019/2072, Annex II
  • Compliance with phytosanitary import requirements: implementing regulation 2019/2072, Annex VII

Fees have to be paid for plant health check (Royal Decree of 10/11/2005 on fees, Annex 1.I) (; consolidated version: 

After a favourable phytosanitary inspection, the plants can be declared to customs for release for free circulation.

I advise you to contact the British authorities for the return of the plants (Belgium to England).

There you have it.