The Japanese Garden
The Japanese Garden - named “Sha Raku En, or “a place of pleasure and delight” by its founder Ella Christie - is a unique and utterly authentic bridge between Scottish and Japanese culture. In it are many unique plants and trees, as well as structures with Japanese cultural significance, and there are several walks surrounding the garden as well. This page gives a guide to some of the plants, features, and wildlife found around the garden.
The Japanese Garden itself is a stroll garden; a relatively large garden, often centred around a lake, with meandering paths which can be wandered around to take in the changing views. The use of a large pond adds a sense of expansion and openness, while offering the opportunity for reflections of the garden and the sky. It features two bridges - the ‘yatsuhashi’ zigzag bridge and the ‘sorihashi’ arched bridge - which, in Japanese culture, symbolise our journey through life.
The Japanese garden pictured from above, showing both the zigzag bridge and the arched bridge.
Within the Japanese Garden is a dry garden - “karsansui” - which contains a carefully composed arrangement of rocks and mosses, with sand with patterns carefully raked each day to represent ripples in water. There are four moss islands within, with rock arrangements of a turtle and crane to represent good fortune. The dry garden is surrounded by “tome ishi”, Japanese boundary stones which indicate that visitors are not to enter the area.
The dry garden, pictured in May 2018
The garden features many other structures of significance; the azumaya is a roofed structure built to allow you to stand and enjoy the garden in all seasons, and there are several stone lanterns, which each have slightly different designs and meanings.
The azumaya in the Japanese garden
Many plants and trees within the garden are representative of what would be found in a typical Japanese garden, though some are Scottish to represent the fusion of the two cultures, such as the 90 different moss species found throughout garden, which are gathered from the surrounding estate woodlands. There is also a diverse wildlife present throughout the garden; the pond contains koi carp and trout, and around the garden red squirrels have been spotted. We always encourage visitors to report on wildlife they see!