Scotland on Sunday Travel Wishlist – A Scottish Zen garden inspired by a Victorian adventurer’s travels in Japan

From Kyoto to Cowden, Eastern-inspired gardens are places of tranquility

Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 10:25 am

Ella Christie in the Japanese Garden she created at Cowden near Dollar in 1908

A vibrant pink lily on the still waters, a lichen palette of green on grey stone, a tame robin and a bounding red squirrel were all magical in their own restful way.This sense of peace is what I remember from visiting Japan. Amid the relentless bustle of the cities there would be an unexpected haven of calm. Kyoto was the garden capital, but Tokyo and Hiroshima had their silent sanctuaries as well.It was in Kyoto that I first encountered the concept of the rock garden, or Karesansui. It was in Ryōan-ji’s Zen garden that I relished the challenge of finding the stones in the seemingly featureless expanse of grey. That step from bigger picture down to detail is a deeply calming experience.And that same feeling envelops me on the slopes of the Ochils. From the grand views across the Forth Valley, through the postcard-perfect scene of the garden itself, down to the water lily.Yet this peaceful garden is the vision of a woman who had a great energy for adventure. Born in 1861, Isabella “Ella” Christie travelled the world when most Scottish women of her social standing were running the Victorian home. Scotland has a long tradition of adventurers and explorers, but to travel as widely and freely as Ella did is noteworthy in itself.As her great-great-niece Sara Stewart explained: “She went to places that no Western woman had been. She was unbelievably brave and that was how she wanted to spend her life. Ella had been brought up as though she had been a son, so she had been very well educated and wanted to see more of the world.”The Royal Geographical Society recognised that spirit with a fellowship – one of the first awarded to a woman. Travelling with her servant Humpries, and trunks with formalwear for any glamorous events she might be invited to, her destinations included India, Malaya and Tibet and she was one of the first western women to meet the Dalai Lama.Ella was in her 40s when she travelled East, taking in China, Hong Kong, Russia and Japan in 1906 and 1907.In Kyoto she met Ella and Florence du Cane, authors of The Flowers And Gardens Of Japan, and on her return set about creating Shã Raku En, “the place of pleasure and delight”, helped by Taki Handa, a rare female garden designer trained at the at the Royal School of Garden Design in Nagoya.By employing specialists in Japanese garden design, Ella’s garden soon established an international reputation – Professor Jijo Suzuki, head of the Soami School of Imperial Garden Design, declaring it “the best garden in the Western World” and it became a tourist attraction in the 1920s and 1930s as well as a regular attraction in Scotland’s Garden Scheme, which Ella’s sister Alice Stewart helped found.Ella died soon after the end

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The White House has been unclear on timeline leading up to Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis. Here’s more details on his travels in the past week.

President Donald Trump announced early Friday that he and first lady, Melania Trump, tested positive for COVID-19.

The world reacts after President Trump and first lady Melania test positive for COVID-19

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Since then, the White House has sent mixed signals about his condition and the timeline of events leading up to his diagnosis and transfer to the hospital.

White House physician and Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley said Sunday that President Donald Trump continues to improve in his battle against COVID-19 and could be discharged.

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“There are frequent ups and downs … particularly when a patient is being so closely watched 24 hours a day,” said Conley. “If he continues to look and feel as well as he does today our hope is that we can plan for a discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House, where he can continue his treatment course.”



Donald Trump in a suit standing in front of a crowd: President Donald Trump throws hats to supporters after speaking at a campaign rally at Duluth International Airport in Duluth, Minn. on Sept. 30, 2020.


© Alex Brandon, AP
President Donald Trump throws hats to supporters after speaking at a campaign rally at Duluth International Airport in Duluth, Minn. on Sept. 30, 2020.

Meanwhile, aides sought to portray an image of business as usual despite lingering uncertainty over the severity of his case.

After an update on Trump’s health at a news conference Saturday, an administration official – later identified by the Associated Press and the New York Times as chief of staff Mark Meadows – met with reporters and described the president’s condition earlier in the week as “very concerning.”

Events are still unclear, but some details were compiled by USA TODAY after examining reports by the White House pool of reporters, as well as Trump’s recent schedules.

Friday, Sept. 25 – week before diagnosis

11:11 a.m. EDT:  Trump attends Latinos for Trump roundtable 

First on the president’s schedule Friday was a Latinos for Trump roundtable in Doral, Florida. Trump arrived Thursday night after a rally in Jacksonville.

3:08 p.m. EDT: Trump speaks on Black Empowerment

Trump traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to speak at the Cobb Galleria Centre.  There, he spoke on Black empowerment and unveiled a new plan, dubbed the Black Economic Empowerment “Platinum Plan,” aimed at winning over Black voters ahead of the November election.



Brian P. Kemp wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: President Donald Trump greets Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his wife Marty as he arrives at Dobbins Air Reserve Base for a campaign event at the Cobb Galleria Centre, Sept. 25, 2020, in Atlanta.


© Evan Vucci, AP
President Donald Trump greets Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his wife Marty as he arrives at Dobbins Air Reserve Base for a campaign event at the Cobb Galleria Centre, Sept. 25, 2020, in Atlanta.

4:26 p.m. EDT: Traveling back to Washington

6:29 p.m. EDT: Trump hosts fundraiser in Washington

Trump attended a fundraiser event at his hotel in Washington, D.C. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who was at the function, has since reported her coronavirus-positive status.  

8:48 p.m. EDT: Trump hosts rally in Newport News, Virginia

Around 4,000 people gathered at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport Friday night for Trump’s “Make America Great Again” rally.



Donald Trump et al. around each other: NEWPORT NEWS, VA - SEPTEMBER 25: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport on September 25, 2020 in Newport News, Virginia. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


© Drew Angerer, Getty Images
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – SEPTEMBER 25: U.S.

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