Dogwood named Ashland's Tree of the Year

Plans that are more than half a century old show where landscape architect Chet Corry thought a dogwood tree should be planted in a yard at 634 Iowa St.

Today, a dogwood tree is growing in that very spot. Known for its prolific pink spring-time flowers, the dogwood recently garnered Ashland's 2009 Tree of the Year award.

The tree, yard and house are now owned by Thomas and Margery Winter. The Winters are restoring the home, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The home was finished in 1952 and was owned for decades by a couple whose last name was Lamb, Thomas Winter said.

The couple once owned a lumber mill in town.

Corry created landscape plans for the Lambs' home, which included sites for a dogwood, a Norway maple and a blue spruce that are still standing, Thomas Winter said.

Corry was named superintendent of the Ashland parks system in 1937. While John McLaren, landscape architect for San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, designed Lithia Park, Corry is credited with bringing more native plants and landscape features to Ashland's premier park, according to Wikipedia.

Thomas Winter said the dogwood tree is a delight in all seasons, but especially in the spring.

"To us, it's absolutely the centerpiece of the yard. We always anticipate spring. Its show of flowers is pretty striking," he said. "One year, the flowers were bigger than the palm of a hand. I try to trim it and take care of it. When I'm in the yard, people say, 'What a gorgeous tree!'"

Neighbor Janet Woosnam gave a black and white photograph of the tree to the Winters. The dogwood is only about waist-high in the photo. Mike Athanus, Richard Lamb and Don Spencer — Woosnam's grandfather — are seen tinkering with a lawnmower near the tree.

Woosnam, who grew up in Ashland, now owns her grandfather's house. She said her grandfather was a fabulous gardener who knew Corry, the superintendent of Ashland's parks.

Woosnam said her grandfather helped the Lambs plant the dogwood, probably sometime between 1953 and 1955. She still has childhood memories of the tree.

"I remember waiting for it to bloom. In a small town, things like that are a big deal," Woosnam recalled. "I remember people saying, 'Let's go up and see if the Lambs' tree is blooming.'"

To view past photos of Ashland's Tree of the Year dating back to 1988, or to see a map of winning trees, visit The annual contest has been going on for 22 years.

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 479-8199 or

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