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I think it's a fantastic plant - they can grow into quite impressive plants and are useful in wilder areas of the garden, as well as a 'statement' plant in the border.
The soil here was very free-draining sandy loam when we moved here three years ago next week . The veg patch was started the following spring and I've just dug in as much farmyard manure and home-made garden compost and leafmould as I can get my hands on and make. The soil has improved beyond measure in that time and although it is still very free-draining it's becoming dark and crumbly and crops are improving year on year (although we still have to dig out roots from the boundary ash trees every spring).
I also give each patch a sprinkling of Fish Blood and Bone when sowing or planting out, and scatter some chicken manure pellets a couple of times through the growing season.
Good luck and keep us informed with progress
Hi Grey Squirrel
It's Phytolacca americana - Pokeweed - as with many garden plants it can be toxic, although if properly treated it can be used medicinally.
If there are fruits that are partially damaged, you can salvage the undamaged portions and use them for plum chutney or even a delicious Chinese style plum sauce http://eatingrichly.com/09/traditional-chinese-plum-sauce-from-scratch/ - I've done this and it was fine.
How lovely to have a healthy elm hedge. I'm from East Anglia where we lost all our mature elms to Dutch Elm disease - younger elm growth seems not to get infected, so it is important that elm hedges are managed properly to keep the growth young and disease free.
This http://www.dedhamvalestourvalley.org/assets/Publications/Biodiversity/Elm-hedgerows.pdf has lots of information which should be useful.
Good luck - it would be interesting to hear how it goes.
Just found this https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lincolnshire-Harvest-Mouse-Trust/186764621378347?sk=info
If you are finding dead Harvest Mice perhaps you should contact them?
Harvest mice are very scarce - I've never seen one in the wild.
Wood/field mice are quite different to house mice when you look properly - what colour is the corpse's chest and belly fur?
Field mice are white-ish underneath and that does look a bit robust for a field mouse.
I'd go for house mouse - have a look on here
I didn't know that TM were on the list of options - you get so much bumf with the clubcard nowadays I rarely read it all
Good morning all Wall to wall blue skies here this morning and it looks as if we've another lovely day ahead
Today will involve visiting the farm shop , cleaning the bathroom , a bit of garden tidying and roasting a chicken - otherwise I shall conserve my energy - I have a busy week ahead of me, being entertained by an almost teenage niece!
Glad you had a lovely trip BL - that garden looks gorgeous