Friday, April 22, 2011

Week of Green - Xeriscape Gardening

It is finally Earth Day!
I hope everyone is doing there part, hopefully everyday, to conserve, recycle and green their lives.
Our final "Week of Green" blog is on Xeriscape Gardening. One of the more intensive ways to conserve, but a great one to end our "week of green" and get everyone excited for the planting and gardening season to come! For those of us in the Sun Valley area, or dealing with high altitude gardening, Xeriscape is a great option for creating a sustainable backyard landscape.

Unfortunately, I do not have any hands on experience with Xeriscape, but those at the Sawtooth Botanical Gardens do! I spoke with Carter Hedburg, the Executive Director, and luck had it, they had just finished their Brochure on Xeriscape Gardening!

All of the information below is courtesy of Sawtooth Botanical Garden.

Now for the questions.

What does Xeriscape mean?
Xerscaping is the use of drought tolerant plant species combined with creative landscaping practices to conserve water. It does not mean zero-scaping or an absence of all vegetation and beauty.

What are the benefits?
Reduction of water usage. Water conservation is extremely important in the arid west. Landscaping needs usually account for 30-50% of domestic water use!

Other benefits:
-Low Maintenance
-Protects Water Quality
-Increases the health and beauty of your surroundings
-Decrease the need for pest control
-Saves the homeowner money

The Seven Principals of Xeriscape:
1. Plan and Design
2. Design Practical Turf Areas
3. Use Appropriate Plants
4. Improve the Soil
5. Use Mulch
6. Irrigate Efficiently
7. Maintain Properly

For more information on the Seven Principals, please visit or call the Sawtooth Botanical Garden at 208.726.9358. They also have workshops and lectures year-round for adults on a variety of horticultural and environmental subjects.

Any other tips and comments on Xeriscape are much appreciated!
Have a wonderful Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Week of Green - Tips from our Office Administrator

Lois, our office administrator, sent me a few tidbits yesterday and I wanted to add them to the blog.

Cut back on copies. The average U.S. office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year, according to the Sierra Club. Rather than printing out all those memos or presentation handouts, send out electronic copies or use recycled paper and double-side your printing.

Our presentation yesterday by Green Irene eco-consultant Rick Lethbridge, covered this same concept... everything he presented to us, was then sent out in an email!

Ship with available resources. Reusing old boxes is an economical way to ship while cutting down on waste. And when you need some packing material, consider using shredded paper.

Say “no” to junk mail. We spend an average of eight months of our lives dealing with junk mail, according to To lighten the load, contact the Direct Marketing Association and register with their mail preference service so you can control the amount of direct mail you receive.

Monitor your indoor environment. When the weather’s cold, keep blinds open to capture as much warmth from the sun as you can, advises On hot days, draw the blinds shut. Also make sure building vents aren’t blocked and your computer has space around it so air can circulate and help you save energy.

Again, four easy and painless ways to conserve energy and reduce waste!

Please leave comments below with any ideas or other easy ways you "reduce, reuse, and recycle"!

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for another green blog!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Week of Green" - Green Irene

This morning a special guest, Rick Lethbridge our local Green Irene Eco-Consultant, joined us at our office meeting. A great supplement to our week of green!

He spoke with us about simple ways to green your office/home, from turning off the lights (didn’t our parents tell us that?) to products used to conserve water, recycling and cleaning.

The Green Irene company works in helping those who would like to learn more, and do their part to green their lives. Their flagship product is their Green Home/Office Makeovers, in which they do a 60-90 minute walk-through of your home/office and “recommend ways to reduce household bills while creating a healthier home for your family.”

“Greening our world, one home and office at a time.” Green Irene's motto.

A Few Tips on Conserving Energy:

-Use a low power energy setting on your computer
-unplug items not in use (vampire power)
-turn down your water heater from 140 to 120 degrees
-consider a tankless water heater option
-cover your pool or hot tub
-clean the coils on your fridge so the compressor doesn't work so hard
-run your dishwasher and laundry when full
-use energy efficient lighting

Some of these many of us already do, and they are just a few simple ways to conserve energy. Recycling/waste reduction, indoor air quality, water conservation, and toxic-free living were also topics covered during the presentation. All very interesting with simple solutions to help reduce and conserve.
For more information on these topics visit their website

To get in touch with our local Ketchum, Idaho Eco-Consultant, Rick Lethbridge, view his webpage:
Here is a link to their catalog, filled with very cool eco products!

A couple photos from the meeting this morning, thank you Sunni!

Monday, April 18, 2011

A "Week of Green" in Sun Valley

Green Week Blog #1: Recycling
Let’s be realistic. Recycling is EASY.

I hate to admit it, but I haven’t recycled for that long (I, being the Marketing Director at the Sun Valley Sotheby's International Realty office)… cringe… although once I did get it going, it is now second nature. Everything accepted into our bins, in the Sun Valley/Ketchum area, goes into my designated “recycle bin,” aka, the extra garbage can in the garage. The dogs are too interested in it to leave it inside.
It is then sorted on Tuesday (my trash day is Wednesday) in the Blue Bin supplied by our trash removal service, Clear Creek Disposal, for no additional cost if you have residential trash pick up. Additional stackable bins, to make sorting easier, can be purchased for $10.60 (for a 12 gallon bin). Not too bad and yours to keep!

So, now the question: What can I recycle?

To be recycled:
#1 & #2 plastic bottles (they are labeled somewhere on the bottle, usually the bottom)
Mixed Paper (this includes junk mail, all office paper, envelopes, file folders, cereal boxes, etc.)

Not to be recycled:
Plastic containers that have #1 or #2, but do not have a threaded neck
Aluminum (tin) foil
Pizza boxes and bags that may or may not have food contaminates
Cardboard milk or juice cartons
Pesticide containers
Chemical cans
Paper such as carbon paper, golden rod, deep tone fluorescent dyed paper, medical files, chip board, dark kraft envelopes, and paper items that are glued together.

As for corrugated cardboard, you cannot leave it with your recycling, but there is a community drop off container for Ketchum located at LDS Church on Sun Valley Road. In Sun Valley there is a drop off location at the Fire Station and at City Hall; Hailey’s drop off is at the corner of Bullion and River Street. All other locations can have a special cardboard pick up; call Clear Creek Disposal 208.726.9600 to set it up.

And for those in the office who have not noticed our Recycle Bins by the back door, we DO have them. Five of them to be exact: Mixed Paper, Newspaper, Plastic, Aluminum, and Magazines... Help us out to do our part as an office!

For more information on recycling services in our area, visit

As for questions, comments and corrections, please leave them. I am interested to know your creative ways to recycle as well!

How to organize your recycle bin: