Victoria Summerley: Don't panic - your garden can survive

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Gardeners are more familiar than most with the Law of Sod (if you'll excuse the pun). So it comes as no surprise that, in the week when seven UK water authorities bring in their hosepipe bans, it starts raining.

But that's good. Just think how smug you'll feel when you wake up to an extra few inches of rain in the water butt. B&Q reports that sales of water butts in their stores have risen by 198 per cent compared with this time last year, and of course rainwater is much better for plants (and ponds) than tap water.

Indeed, sales of any kind of water conservation equipment – drip irrigation systems, siphons for grey water and so on – are up, but if the thought of setting up some complicated piece of kit makes your brain feel tired, there is a simpler way to conserve any moisture that might be in the soil.

Put a thick layer of mulch over beds and borders. You need a depth of about 5cm (2in) to stop water evaporating. If you can't do the whole garden, mulch around newly planted acquisitions. Chipped bark looks very professional and is easily available.

Plants in containers will benefit from a layer of pebbles, or gravel – I use quite large cobbles as this also stops squirrels digging in the pots.

Forget about the lawn. Yes, it may go brown. No, it won't die. It will green up again when we get some rain. Which, according to the Law of Sod, will probably be in mid-July.

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