Even gardeners don't have the gift of being able to see the future, but one thing seems obvious - the weather is becoming erratic and unpredictable. I spent a couple of hours picking cabbage white caterpillars off my purple sprouting on Boxing Day!

Then, on January 27, I was staggered to see a winter-flowing honeysuckle (Lonicera x purpusii Winter Beauty' ) smothered in honey bees. On January 31, I saw a peacock butterfly skimming through the garden and, on February 3, a Red Admiral settled on one of my snowdrops!

There are measures gardeners can take to deal with our present pattern of warmer winters and hotter summers.

Never buy a potted plant that appears to be flagging, as it is unlikely to recover. If you do buy a plant in hot weather, always plant it out in the garden as soon as you can and don't keep it in the pot. The soil will be cooler and will stop the roots drying out.

Always be meticulous when planting out new purchases.

Soak the roots for at least two hours in a bucket of water. Dig a large hole and fill it with copious amounts of organic matter - well-rotted manure, garden compost or partly-rotted grass clippings. The organic matter will hold the moisture and trap air.

Once planted, remember to drench any new or vulnerable plants with a weekly bucket of water in dry conditions.

Try to plant in the autumn - although you may have to improve your drainage by adding more organic matter and coarse grit if your soil is heavy.

Mound-planting, an old technique, helps on heavy soil. Make your raised mound and then plant on top. Buying bare-root fruit, trees and roses (that can be planted in winter on frost-free days) will give them several months to get their root system established before any spring or summer droughts occur.

If you like containerised plants best, choose younger specimens. They suffer less stress than large pot-grown ones.

Finally, when planting young trees always use a stake - because strong gale-force winds seem to be a feature of our erratic weather.

There are lots of people who are unable to lug buckets of water around the garden and they must choose drought-tolerant plants.

Many Mediterranean natives have hairy leaves, needle-like leaves or an oily pungent sunscreen, and they include the lavenders, sages, rosemaries, phlomis, thymes, artemisias and oreganums.

These plants love strong sunshine, but they survive by developing a really deep root system that may go down three feet or more. This needs at least one season to develop. Therefore, plant them in spring and water them in their first season - if possible.

Many South African plants also love dry summers and crocosmias, deciduous agapanthus and red hot pokers (or kniphofias) should all do well. Half-hardy pelargoniums, especially the scented-leaved ones, will survive with one watering a day when grown in containers.

Many plants have their own personal reservoir. Tap-rooted plants (like poppies, verbascums, some eryngiums and acanthus) will need to be planted when young. Tuberous, rhizomatous and bulbous plants also thrive and these include peonies, dahlias, bearded irises and alliums.

Plants with thick, succulent leaves also love dry weather.

Dark-leaved sedums like Purple Emperor' and house leeks need no care and most silver-leaved achilleas also thrive. Glaucous euphorbias are also drought-tolerant, although their milky sap is a strong irritant, so do take care.

All annual plants are primed to set down roots quickly and calendulas, nigellas, cornflowers and nasturtiums can be sprinkled around in late spring.

Rain is very variable. Gardens a few miles apart can get very different rainfall. So the answer is to mulch and mulch again. Trapping the moisture before it escapes will obviously help plants survive. Mulch also keeps the soil cooler, something most plants enjoy.

All organic mulches should be well-rotted because the decomposition process uses up valuable nitrogen. For this reason it's best to sprinkle on some slow-release blood, fish and bone or 6X (the bagged fertiliser - not the beer) to replace lost nitrogen before you apply living mulches.

Choose your mulch well. Woodland plants like bark. Sun-lovers look good against gravel or slate, though these are not child-friendly.

Fruit, trees and shrubs can be mulched with partially-rotted grass clippings. Leave them for a day, turn and apply when brown. Roses like well-rotted manure and the feed should go on just as the daffodils fade, followed by the mulch.

Dense planting, one that covers the ground by mid-May, also traps moisture, so don't create an oasis. One plant surrounded by soil may end up a dead plant.

Climate change, though not desirable, seems inevitable. But there is a possible up side. It could allow us to grow more-tender plants, ones that we previously dismissed.

And it could allow us to leave our dahlia tubers in year-after-year and we may get better flowers on our magnolias and more fruit on our pear and apple trees.

So don't be too downhearted when you listen to the prophets of our impending environmental doom.