Shasta’s dogwoods

Shasta V. Allen was our nurse for decades. She was amazing. She could spot a case of homesickness or hypochondria from yards away. She was sweet, and the hardest working human being God ever made.

When she passed away just more than a year ago, the world lost a one-of-a-kind resource for home remedies, resources and cures that handled so many ailments just right until we could see a doctor—or not.

Shasta’s three daughters, Terri, Zoe, and Janet, attended The Heart from the time they were old enough until they were too old. Janet in particular started coming as a babe-in-arms, was a true blue Pawnee from the time she was six, returned when she was 17 as a Heart LITe, then counselor, lifeguard trainer, horsemanship instructor, office manager, you name it.

Terri’s daughters, Chrissy and Hannah Mead, and Zoe’s daughter, Sierra Kibbett, were campers too.

In Shasta’s memory, we wanted to plant a tree. Janet did the research on trees that flourish on Mount Shasta (where else!). One tree in particular that is native to Mount Shasta is also native here. We ended up purchasing five of the little roughleaf dogwoods that thrive in the Hill Country, and planting them on that slope between the Lodge and Pawnee Hill, where Orenda used to be. They are “understory” trees, so they need some shade, and deer DO eat them, but we felt this area would be protected enough– and sure enough, the deer haven’t found them yet. They have been in the ground for about a year.

The best part? Janet’s research shows that this tree has medicinal qualities. Perfect memorial for our wonderful Shasta.

Rough Leaf Dogwood An understory tree, the rough leaf dogwood (Cornaceae Cornus drummondii) resembles dense shrubbery more than a traditional tree. It has a somewhat open, delicate growth pattern, dotted with small, white flowers. In the summer, the rough leaf dogwood grows white berries. Plant this variety of dogwood in alkaline soil. You needn’t worry about continuous watering, as the mature tree is highly drought-resistant. It typically grows up to around 16 feet tall.

About the Author

Jane Ragsdale

Facebook Twitter

Jane Ragsdale (Mrs. Dick Howell) is the director of Heart O’ the Hills. She was a Heart camper and counselor, and served as program director from 1978-87. She has been one of the owners since 1976, and director since 1988.


  1. Shasta was there every year I was there, both as a camper and as a Bobbie’s Buncher (pre HeartLite). She never forgot to make me come and get my allergy shots, even when I was at the stables ready to go on our horseback overnight. I had to RUN from the stables to Orenda to get my shot or I wouldn’t be able to go on the overnight. This was literally from one end of the camp to the other. One of my many many memories of camp.

    And Benadryl (liquid form) fixed everything. Shasta also knew the tricks to remove ticks which we all seem to have after our overnights.

    Her daughter, Zoe, was one of my closest camp friends. The world definitely lost a treasure when Shasta left this world for another. Thank you for planting trees in her honor and in her spot (where Orenda used to be). I know she is smiling.

    I am so glad you shared this Jane. So many memories of Shasta came flooding back…

    Gill Estes

Leave a Comment