Behind the Scenes with Nursery Management magazine

Departments - Behind the Scenes

October 5, 2012

Rainbow connection

Part of the beauty of a rainbow is that you never know where one will appear. But what if you could create a rainbow on demand? That’s the premise behind The Rainbow: Certain Principles of Life and Shapes Between Forms, a public artwork exhibit that ran throughout the summer at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Neb.

Irrigation and rainwater harvesting experts from Lindsay Corp. and its subsidiary, Watertronics, partnered with artist Michael Jones McKean on the project. As part of the exhibit, on-demand rainbows were projected in the sky using sunlight, renewable energy and 100-percent rainwater captured by the SkyHarvester Water Conservation system. SkyHarvester is typically used by commercial landscapers and architects for rain water collection and distribution.

Using customized downspouts and storage tanks, SkyHarvester stored rainwater in custom tanks, then filtered and pumped it for reuse. The system collected as much as 8,000 gallons from an inch of rain, which was projected in the air to produce a rainbow lasting 20 minutes twice a day, once in the morning and again in early evening. Between 130 to 250 gallons were used per minute to create a rainbow that reached over the two-story art center. ­

— Matt McClellan

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Geiger counter

Tradescantia ohiensis (Ohio spiderwort) is a prairie perennial with an interesting ability. The stamen hairs of Tradescantia plants are known to be especially sensitive to radiation, and have therefore found applications in nuclear research, including zero-gravity experiments, according to Marty Lucas, a plant enthusiast and blogger from Indiana. The normally blue or purple stamens turn pink in the presence of even small amounts of radiation. I find this fascinating and a bit scary.

Side note: This plant is also known as snotweed or cow-slobbers. Gross.

— Kelli Rodda