Utah Native Bees

One of the most informative and interesting classes that I attended at this year’s Utah Green Conference, was the Pollinator class given by Jim Cane of Utah State University. When most people think of bees, they think of the fairly recent immigrant to the United States – the European Honey Bee, brought over for it’s honey and wax. In Utah, there are around 900 species of native bees, the vast majority of which are solitary, rather than colony bees. The adult female makes her own nest, with no help. She will divide her tunnel into bee-sized cavities to lay individual eggs, … Continue reading

Going Green

by Laurie Van Zandt Ogden Valley News – April 1, 2009 In an effort to define standards for environmentally sustainable construction, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council in 1994. LEED was created to define “green building” by establishing a common standard of measurement and to raise consumer awareness of green building benefits. Points are awarded for meeting various criteria, with the ultimate goal of receiving a Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum level of certification. The bottom line is to create a more sustainable built environment through … Continue reading

Staycations: Vacation Where You Live

by Laurie Van Zandt Ogden Valley News – February 1, 2009 With a changing economy and time constraints felt by so many Americans, “Staycation” has become the buzzword of a new generation of vacationers. Urbandictionary.com defines ‘staycation’ as “A vacation that is spent at one’s home, enjoying all that home and one’s home environs have to offer.” A 2005 study by the Families and Work Institute found that up to one-third of employees feel chronically overworked, and will not use all the paid vacation that they are entitled to. Many people said they would get too behind on the job … Continue reading

Gardening and Sustainability

Laurie Van Zandt, Guest Commentary Ogden Valley News, March 1, 2007 On January 20th , 21st and 22nd of this year, the Utah Nursery and Landscape Association (UNLA) held its annual conference in Sandy. Among noteworthy topics at this year’s conference were organic gardening, natives in the landscape, medicinal herbs and ‘smart’ irrigation systems. Important speakers were Dr. Fred Montague from the Department of Biology at the University of Utah, and Eden’s own, Mel Bartholomew, inventor of Square Foot Gardening. Dr. Montague spoke on the role of home gardening and its positive impact on the environment in a time when … Continue reading

Taking Care

Laurie Van Zandt The Ogden Valley News, November 15, 2006 Over and over again, I hear people new to the area comment on how absolutely beautiful the Ogden Valley is. I have lived here for almost six years, and constantly have my breath taken away by the incredible beauty that surrounds us daily. How lucky are we to call this place home? Doubtless, old timers feel the same way. As the Valley swells with the sounds and sights of construction, how do we retain this natural and historical work of art so that we can all continue to enjoy this … Continue reading

The Benefits of Gardening

Laurie Van Zandt Ogden Valley News, Volume XII Issue III Very often when I sit down with homeowners to discuss their landscape design needs, one of the first things they say that they want is “no maintenance”. That being ruled out, they will compromise with “low maintenance”. While there are planting schemes that can be considered low maintenance, it seems that what they are really saying is that they are not used to enjoying their gardens, and they therefore don’t want to be in their garden any more than necessary. A wonderful, joyous garden will beckon you out into it. … Continue reading