In late May I paid a visit to the South of France, to do some work in the garden I helped to develop in the Languedoq. They too suffered from incredibly low temperatures in February of -12C. The pipes froze and all the palms were damaged. However the Tetrapanax and the Cannas seem to have survived unscathed, which just goes to show that some plants we think of as being tender can be more robust than we expect. Whilest there, I paid a visit to my favourite nursery, Pepiniere Filippi in Meze. They specialise in drought tolerant plants and have a fantastic range of plants, also a comprehensive on-line catalogue. However, the most exciting thing about it is the gravel garden, tucked away at the back overlooking the Etange. It is a truely inspirational showcase for their plants ! They have created hillocks and paths on the flat site entirely covering it with a thick mulch of gravel which provides warm, sunny banks for their plants to thrive. Cupressus sempervirens provide accents throughout the site and strusture is provided by a wide range of Cistus and other evergreen shrubs.