Shrub shrugs off condition

I knew all about health ‘revert’ last winter. Exposure to icy winds, grey days and chilled feet from splashing around water submerged grassy flats, had its toll.

I well understand how the expression ‘cold feet’ means, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”

I craved a hot bath, a mug of steaming hot beverage, and a follow-up, sloth-like lay-back in front of a heater.

I reached the rise at the back of Shoyoen or Japanese Gardens within our Dubbo Regional Botanical Gardens, Elizabeth Park. It was there I crouched down to inspect the foliage of our Spindle bushes (Euonymous japonicas ‘Variegata’).

These sturdy plants with cream and butter-gold smudges of colour on their leaves, are remarkable for how colourful and healthy they looked.

Ironically the original cause of the colour patterns is a viral condition.

Why, I used to have a family doctor who revelled in the notion that most of our health reverses were caused by something ‘viral.’

Yet in the case of our Spindle bushes viral is beneficial.

As I stretched upwards from my squat position in front of the Spindle bushes my knees cracked. “Oh Dear!” I muttered to myself. Was this evidence of old age?

However, according to a report in ‘Australian Men’s Health’ June, 2015, “If the knees don’t hurt when cracking it is only a case of Crepitis - gas bubbles bursting.

Just Oxygen, Nitrogen and Carbon Dioxide; part of the Synovial fluid which is a joint lubricant.”

The Spindle bush can get mildew in humid weather.

This then develops into sooty mould which defaces the plant.

This may need some attention.

On the other hand Plant Revert (PR) is simply a case of plant vigour manifesting itself.

The virus-induced leaf colour is overtaken by green leaf shoots.

Japanese spindle: Euonymus japonicus is a species of flowering plant native to Japan, Korea and China. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 2-8 m tall.

Japanese spindle: Euonymus japonicus is a species of flowering plant native to Japan, Korea and China. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 2-8 m tall.

To maintain leaf colouration we need to cut back any green shoots to the main leader.

Sure, it may grow back, and so vigilance is needed.

By careful attention we can keep our ‘spindles’ popping away in great colour varieations; just like me standing alert with my knees cracking in applause.

“Not old mate, just lubricated!”

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