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Campus Cherry Trees: an Auspice of Spring

Anushka Bhat

A sign of the change in seasons, Andover’s cherry trees mark the end of a winter, like pink welcome ribbons for the students’ return. With over 40 cherry trees scattered throughout campus, the largest, most vibrant tree can be seen outside Samuel Phillips Hall. This cherry tree is called a Prunus Serrulata—a Japanese ornamental flowering cherry cultivar. 

“The cherry trees bring nice color and livelihood to campus. Walking by them always brightens my mood. It’s nice finally being back on campus and be welcomed with something so emblematic of spring,” said Audrey Hsieh ’23.

Standing out among other shorter trees, the flowers of the Prunus Serrulata litter the grass below it, its branches lightly sweeping Sam Phil’s bricks. During classes, the antique windows of the academic building shed light to the soft pink haze of surrounding cherry trees. To Anna Bargman ’21, these trees signal Spring Term.

“The cherry trees are beautiful when they bloom. It’s a real sign of springtime. The cherry trees make me feel warm,” said Anna Bargman ’21.

Some of Andover’s cherry trees date back more than 50 years. However, some of the trees were threatened to be cut down, as they can obstruct views of other parts of campus. 

In response, Tom Cone, an former Instructor in Biology, started a movement to prevent the threatened trees in 2004. Retiring in 2017, Cone influenced what students now know as the annual cookie celebration, which takes place annually underneath the shade of the Sam Phil Prunus Serrulata. This year, the celebration occurred on April 15. 

“[To] remind people of the beauty of something we have on the campus, I created this cookie festival around Earth Day… We pick a day when [the tree is] almost in full bloom, or it is in full bloom, when we’re all here… There are new students every year, and it’s great to have them all look at the tree and realize it’s there, and see the beautiful addition it is to campus,” said Cone in an interview with The Phillipian in 2016.

For returning students, the blooming trees bring a sense of familiarity and optimism for their remaining time at Andover. The trees remind the community of all the good that is to come: outdoor sporting events, Senior Prom, and for some, Commencement.

Sophia Blaine ’22 said “I think that the cherry blossoms are a sign that spring is finally here. The weather is getting warmer and overall, I think it’s also a great way to start our last term of the year with everyone here.” 

“I like the cherry trees! I think that it adds a touch of color in the spring that usually you only see in the fall due to the leaves changing colors, you know? I have always thought that cherry trees are just overall beautiful and it’s awesome that there are some on campus.” said Ben Peréz ’23.

However, Andover’s cherry trees are not in bloom forever, as their pink flowers will come and go with the seasons. Weeks have passed since their initial blossom, and campus grass has become more strewed with falling petals.