In Sussex there is a tradition of painting weatherboarding in pitch – ‘black as pitch’ is an appropriate phrase. This is common in coastal towns where shipbuilding would mean they have the necessary pitch to use to help weather-proof the buildings. The town of Rye has lots of examples of this, although it seems, looking through my image files on iPhoto, I didn’t actually photograph any of these – just the flint and brick. The advantage of this painting it black (not actual pitch but a fence stain that has a similar look seeing as I don’t have access to shipbuilding yards), is that it creates a dynamic background for planting in the garden. Actually, I didn’t plant these snowdrops – they just grew next to the fence – but it just shows nature has a flair for showing itself off beautifully.

(Apologies to the Rolling Stones for the use of their song title!)