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Grand Rapids Unveils Extensive Japanese Garden

June 13 marked the long-awaited opening of The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden in at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The eight-acre project features traditional components such as waterfalls, elevation changes, extensive boulder placement, authentic Japanese structures, and a functioning teahouse.

"This project really took its first major steps when Fred Meijer proposed the idea to me—it was one of his last requests for Meijer Gardens," said President and CEO David Hooker. "Thanks to Fred and Lena's generosity, along with Richard and Helen DeVos', and over 200 community members, our $22 million goal was met to build and sustain this Japanese Garden for years to come."

The Japanese Garden, located in the middle of the 158-acre main campus of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, embraces the essence of traditional Japanese gardens—tranquility, contemplation and beauty. The design effectively uses space to highlight contrasts between still and rushing water, between quietly intimate spaces and expansive open spaces, and between manicured and natural areas.

"We've worked with designer Hoichi Kurisu to create a familiar and calming space, but one that will change with the seasons and as it matures," said Director of Horticulture Steve LaWarre. "It's a living thing that will continue to take shape and grow for generations to come."

Kurisu carries the Japanese garden tradition into the twenty-first century by marrying Japanese customs with contemporary sculpture, as well as incorporating a variety of sculpture and horticultural elements such as a Zen-style garden, bonsai garden, scenic bridges, and an authentic teahouse.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened to the public in April 1995. One of the nation's most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, Meijer Gardens includes Michigan's largest tropical conservatory; three indoor theme gardens; outdoor gardens, nature trails, and boardwalk; sculpture galleries and permanent sculpture collection; library; café; gift shop; classrooms; and meeting rooms. Both indoors and outdoors, the 158-acres are barrier-free and handicap-accessible. Since it opened, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has welcomed more than nine million visitors.

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