British summer weather can be sporadic at best, but depending on where you live what tends to happen is that, among the squalls of showers - and perhaps a two-day long wet patch - sits days and days, and sometimes even weeks of dryness.
That's certainly been the pattern this year - one minute plants are absolutely gasping for a drink and the next they're deluged. However, what's important to plants is a consistent moisture level - not too wet or too dry - and there are ways we can control this.
Mulching is one of the gardener's key tools to help maintain the correct environment for all their plants. Summer mulching is most useful as a moisture retainer, keeping plants happy in scorching spells, but there are so many uses that serve as side benefits.
They're decorative for starters, and bark or gravel mulches neaten up borders no end, just when you want to show them off. And the horticultural bonuses are plenty, too. They stop weeds from poking through, some provide nutrients of varying levels, and when the time comes in just a few months, they can also be good at insulating roots against the cold.