From December 10-31, you can come to Bernheim to make a wish for 2021 on one of our three Wishing Trees — three beautiful cherry trees located just off the Arboretum Loop near the Sun and Shade Trail. Stop at our front kiosk to pick up a magnolia leaf, some colored jute and a Sharpie, and make your wish for yourself or others for good things in the coming year. Deposit your wish into the box provided, and our staff will hang it on one of the trees. If you’re unable to come to Bernheim to make your wish, e-mail it to Kristin Faurest, Director of Education and we’ll take care of it for you!
What’s a wishing tree?
The custom of entrusting a wish to a tree is a rich and storied one from all over the world, transcending religions, national borders and centuries. Trees have frequently been viewed as connected to the divine — so any wish expressed through this channel would be certainly heard. Japan’s Tanabata festival is a centuries-old celebration involving leaving wishes on bamboo — which symbolizes resilience and bounty. In rural areas of Turkey it’s not uncommon to see wishing trees laden with colorful cloths and scarves, and the UK also has a very old custom of “clouties” or cloth ties to represent wishes on trees.
Out of Bernheim’s millions of trees, why the cherry trees?
Cherry trees are loved worldwide for their beauty and bounty. In the spring their buds give us hope after a bleak winter, but their short blooming time reminds us that life is a beautiful but fleeting thing to be cherished. Their abundant harvest is the very flavor of early summer itself. Bernheim’s cherry collection is the perfect place to entrust your hopes and dreams for a healthy, happy and resilient 2021.
Stay tuned for a fun online event in early January where we’ll be reading your wishes out loud!