They [mice] stripped bark from a large specimen of Itea ilicifolia, a particularly treasured shrub given to me by the late Rosemary Verey. This mouse did not collect and store, it used the Itea as a ready-made larder - the fresh growing stems stripped slowly upwards as they went. When I discovered the ravaged plant in late February whilst trimming back the previous years' flower stems, I noticed a halting in the growth, the dullness that appears on a plant that is suffering, and the change in colour attracted my eye. Parting the branches, the damage was widespread and had obviously been cause over a period of time.
Extract from The Haphazard Gardener available from www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1781764131