Garden Diary - August 2019

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Superhydrophobic. It Means Never-Wet.
Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Today we had a sequence of electrical storms, beginning at 3:38 a.m. Tremendous lightening bolts and thunder claps and noisy rain on skylights. By the time I got up in the morning the weather station indicated 1.03 inches - that's 26 mm of rain. But wait, there's more! Things started to get noisy again in the afternoon, complete with some pea sized hail. And more rain. hen more rain, lightening, thunder.

What with the heat and rain this summer my hardy banana,
Musa basjoo, has gone into overdrive. I expect that today's
rain will be revving it up even more. New and bigger leaves.

Water is sluicing off the kitchen bump out roof faster
than the spout opening and rain chain can deal with it.

By the time the precipitation appears to be mostly over (and the day is over too) we received a total of 3.14 inches which is 79.7 mm in approximately 20 hours. Fortunately the basement stayed dry and there didn't appear to be any flooding. Hummingbirds arrived at the feeder when there were breaks in the deluge.

And I have learned a fabulous new word - superhydrophobic. It refers to the leaves of plants that do not get wet, the water just runs right off.

I did know that one of the common names for Orontium aquaticum
is never-wet,. You can push the leaves under the shallow water where
it grows. They pop back up, as dry as if they'd never been submerged.

We think of plant leaves becoming wet with rain, like this red spot banana.

Growing in a pot right next to the red spot banana is this elephant ear.
The time stamp for these images, taken in quick sequence, is identical.

Nature has much to teach us. Bats use of echo location lead us to radar / sonar. Superhydrophobic coatings are currently in use with multiple industrial applications. Anti icing - used for airplane wings. Anti corrosion - protect against rust. Self cleaning - dirt or grease or dust on a superhydrophobic coating can be removed with a spray of water. Water repellent coating for fabric. Car windshields. Rain on leaves that don't become wet. Superhydrophobic.

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