The Cat Garden lies, party secluded in the heart of the garden, nestled up against the Arts and Crafts extension of the house. It is bowl shaped with a dew pond at the bottom. There is a huge Salix Balfouri (Catkin) growing splayed out and huge with new shoots darting straight up to the sky. There are no paths through it and it is surrounded on 3 sides by huge yew hedges. On the steep slope a tall yew stump, knotted and whiskery stands like a totem. THe Salix and the Yew stump make an interesting couple.
I've been visiting Dixter for a few years and have walked past the Cat garden many times, curious at its lack of planting and wildness. It appears like a clearing in a thick forest, a breathing space in this intensely planted, over flowing and abundant garden that is Dixter. As March came the Salix buds appeared on the new shoots. The silvery velveteen buds ordered like a huge crown glow in the dusk. it looks like a burning bush on hallowed ground. It is a place of quietness, set aside from the rest of the garden. During that one week of new bud it takes on a supernatural quality. It reminds me of the trees rejoicing in Isiah, and 'wabi sabi' , a Japanese design aesthetic : to be 'of God', an appreciation of the integrity of nature and something that creates in us a spiritual longing.
2 weeks on, and the Cat garden has changed again. The seasons in the garden seem to be made up of moments like this that balance the heavily planted and the wilder spaces, the narrow and the wide open, allowing you to catch your breath and see thing afresh.