Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In Memory of William Edwin Winn

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Comments from our friend KM:  A reception was held in honor of William "Bill" Winn today. 

It was a wonderful gathering of friends and family. 

The world is a better place for having Bill here.  I am honored to have known him for the last several years. We learned much about Bill and his family at the reception given in his memory and honor today. 
Bill and Barbara have attended meetings and hearings regarding keeping the ban on uranium mining. Barbara will no doubt continue supporting efforts. 
We will honor Bill as we continue the fight to Keep The Ban. 

My comments:  My first contact with the The Winns was at a Southside Concerned Citizens about Uranium Mining Meeting.  My husband and I was sitting at a table at our first meeting and they came sit with us.  They explained the fight against uranium mining and gave us information every time we saw them.

We will truly miss Mr. Winn and his great smile

I am adding more information about their love of nature and my love our plants too!
In Memory of William Edwin Winn
August 1, 1927 - July 3, 2013
William Edwin "Bill" Winn, of Kings Grant Community, formerly of North Fork Farms in the Leatherwood Community of Henry County, died Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at Martinsville Memorial Hospital. He was born in Danville on August 1, 1927 to the late Angus Dillard Winn and Mary Sours Winn.

He was a graduate of Hargrave Military Academy and held a B.A. from the University of Richmond and a B.D. with the Colgate Rochester Divinity School. He also engaged in graduate studies at New College of the University of Edinburgh and at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He taught religion at the Burma Divinity School in Insein, Burma and at St. Andrews Presbyterian College Laurinburg, North Carolina.
Bill served for terms as President of the North Carolina Consumers Council, Past Chairman of the Scotland County, NC, Democratic Party; Past Board Member of the Sothern Regional Council and of the Consumer Federation of America; Past President of the Rochester, N.Y., chapter of Americans for Democratic Actions,
He received the Consumer Advocate of the Year Award of the North Carolina Consumers Council and was a Charter Member of the Naturalist Club.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by one brother, Angus Douglas Winn, one sister, Dorothy Winn Fisher.

Surviving are his wife, Barbara Peters Winn of the home, two daughters, Dr. Mary Joan Leith of Cambridge, M.A. and Amy Julia Winn of Sacramento, California, two sons, Retired United States Amy Colonel John I. Winn of Winchester, Virginia and Peter Angus Winn of Seattle, Washington, one sister, Joan Winn Pace of Bassett, Virginia, seven grandchildren and Numerous Nieces and Nephews and Cousins.

A memorial service was held to honor Bill's life; interment will be in the family cemetery located at the North Fork Farm.

Donations may be made to the charity of the donor's choice.

On line condolence may be made by visiting www.collinsmckeestonemartinsville.com

Tribute to nature's variety        
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Bill and Barbara Winn stand outside a gazabo at the end of apathway that leads to Leatherwood Creek on their property.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
An unobtrusive sign at the entrance to Bill and Barbara Winn's property in Leatherwood lets visitors know "This property is forever protected."
Their North Fork Farm at the end of Sour's Mill Road is marked by a conservation easement from the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, the only such designated property in Henry County. The designation will prohibit future development of the land, said Bill Winn.
The couple love the land for role it has played in the history of Bill Winn's family as well as for the more than 2,000 species of plants and trees they have growing there.
"We are more into collecting things than designing," Barbara Winn said of their arboretum, a place where trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants are cultivated for scientific and educational purposes. "It's more of a hodge-podge of different things."

Bill Winn shows the Sweetheart Tree, a rare deciduous Asian variety.

Plants are protected against deer by fencing and individual wire cages, and all are precisely identified with markers giving their scientific and common names. A labyrinth of wooden and natural paths weaves through the hills, leading to and crossing Leatherwood Creek below.

A swallowtail butterfly lights on a Harlequin Glorybower.

In 1865, Bill Winn's great-grandfather, William Sours, came to run the mill on Leatherwood Creek. In the living room of the 1840s house hangs a 1902 photograph of that mill, which was known to exist as far back as 1815. The wooden building of the mill is long gone, but its stone foundation remains. It includes the fireplace that Bill Winn's mother used for heating water for washing.
They began coming to the family land in the late 1960s. They would camp out (with no electricity) and use water from the spring. They started working on the old house in the mid-80s and moved there in 1989.
Their passion for plants was sparked in a meeting of the Mordecai Society in North Carolina when they heard J.C. Raulston, for whom the North Carolina state arboretum is named, speak. The Winns ended up taking his class in Charlotte, N.C., in the 1970s.

Barbara Winn looks over perennials on the way to the couple's house.

The couple began attending lectures and touring gardens, even as far as Europe. They began planting some specimens on their Leatherwood property when they were working on the house, but they delved into creating and caring for their collection once they moved in.
With their love of caring for plants in common, the couple is divided on specialties. Bill is excited about trees and shrubs, and "Barbara's really into ornamental grasses," he said.
She has about 40 species of epimediums, perennials that have airy flowers in the spring and then a solid backdrop of attractive foliage.


He has a hill devoted to different types of magnolias.

He also has a collection of several varieties of dogwoods, including on evergreen dogwood. He pointed out that people tend to plant only the most common type of dogwood without realizing the great variety available, such as the Chinese Kousa dogwood he has that is resistant to Anthracnose, the disease that preys upon local dogwoods.

Chinese Kousa dogwood

The Winns recommend the following sources for anyone interested in learning about trees and plants:
"¢ "Herbaceous Perennial Plants" by Allan M. Armitage (Stipes Publishing)
"¢ "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants" by Michael A. Dirr
"¢ the J.C. Raulston Arboratum at N.C. State University. Its newsletter is full of information on plant tours and lectures, and its director, Chris Glenn, "can tell you everything you need to know," said Barbara Winn. Its Web site is www.ncsu.edu/jcraulstonarboretum.

A community's namesake is hard to find these days
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Bill Winn looks out over the emerging leaves of the leatherwood shrub.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
By HOLLY KOZELSKY - Bulletin Accent Editor
Bulletin Accent Editor
Though Bill Winn and his wife, Barbara, have a collection of thousands of plants on their 67 acres in Leatherwood, there's a particular one they have a hard time getting.
Ironically, it is the plant their community was named for.
Leatherwood once was so plentiful in Henry County that the community between Axton and Martinsville was named for it. Its branches and stems are so pliable they could be used like leather straps, which probably is what led to the plant's disappearance from the region.
The Winns have a few leatherwood specimens on their property, but they had to order those plants from an out-of-state nursery. They are hard to come by, and even harder to propagate, the Winns said. They do not reseed easily, and they resist usually dependable methods of propagation.
"The stream had its name from the bush growing on its banks, which with its tough and pliable bark served many users of leather among the pioneers.

"They made parts of their harness with it, and the thongs which lifted their doorlatches, or tied their shoes, or held their work-clothes together.
"The name passed to the settlement ..."�
"Manual of Woody Landscape Plants" by Michael A. Dirr also notes that Native Americans used the bark for bow strings, fish lines and baskets.
The scientific name of leatherwood is Dirca palustris. The plant is in the Thymelaeaceae family.
Tts stems are aromatic when bruised. It grows in agricultural zones 4 to 9 at a slow rate of growth. Its flowers, which emerge here in early March, are described as perfect, pale yellow, 3 to 4 inches large.
Its native habitat is New Brunswick and Ontario to Florida and Missouri.
Leatherwood normally would grow in wet areas around rivers and streams, which is where the Winns have theirs planted. It requires shade.
"I have become very fond of this plant over the years," Winn said.