Volunteer Tribute Garden
The Volunteer Tribute Garden celebrates the spirit and emphasizes the importance of volunteerism—the foundation of Meijer Gardens’ stability, viability, and community connection. This gateway garden along the main access path to the outdoor grounds is a place of serenity, inspiration, beauty, and artistry.
Colorful seasonal plantings punctuate the garden entrance. Dozens of trees, shrubs, and perennials provide a rich tapestry of horticultural diversity. Built on a commitment to be 100% accessible, the pathway winds around and between architectural walls, past the picturesque pond, offering views of surrounding spaces. Special locations highlight tributes, donors and individuals honored as Volunteer of the Year.
Plant material to attract and sustain wildlife is incorporated into the landscape. The garden is an outdoor classroom and discovery space. A boardwalk and wetland overlook provide access to native emergent and prairie plantings and a pond habitat designed for reptile and amphibian diversity. Logs, branches, and stone slabs placed along the pond edges and below the surface provide habitat for turtles, frogs, newts, and other wetland creatures.
Anchoring the garden is The Tribute, by Oliviero Rainaldi, created to honor Fred & Lena Meijer and our dedicated volunteers. The sculpture’s exterior bronze panels poetically tell stories of a diverse group of guest experiences, as facilitated by knowledgeable volunteers; interior panels incorporate stories of place and the emotion of love. The central curve—the heart—is an idealized place where horticulture and sculpture converse.
The second structure brings viewers into a water scene, looking up at the sky through reeds, noticing an aerial Great Lakes view, looking down upon the Earth. Water has historically been symbolic of life, power, purity and strength. These elements together represent and pay tribute to Fred and Lena Meijer, West Michigan’s natural beauty, and the thousands of dedicated volunteers who have donated their time and talents to Meijer Gardens.