Japanese garden under construction at Mundy Miracle Commons

A Japanese garden is beginning to take shape at Mundy Miracle Commons Photo by Lania Rocha

A Japanese garden is beginning to take shape at Mundy Miracle Commons Photo by Lania Rocha

MUNDY TWP. — From the beginning, the Mundy Township Parks and Recreation Committee envisioned Mundy Miracle Commons as a place to play and dream and refresh one’s soul.

With that mission in mind, township Supervisor Tonya Ketzler has crafted a plan to install a Japanese garden at the 100-acre park located at 1286 W. Hill Road.

“This will be my gift, my donation to the township,” Ketzler said. “I thought it would be somewhere we could do tai chi or yoga, where people could meditate or read book; it would be a perfect addition.”

Ketzler’s family has been in the horticulture business in Genesee County for more than 150 years, “so it seemed like the appropriate thing to do,” she said.

Once complete, the garden will measure about 80 feet by 120 feet. It is being built adjacent to the parking lot, near the future site of the amphitheater.

“There was a piece of land left over after they put in the retention pond, this piece of property that was really too small to do much with,” Ketzler said. “I just thought it would be a perfect place for the part of our mission statement where people can go to relax and rejuvenate. Some of the people who are walking there call it the round garden, and they go there after they walk to get their breath. So, they are using it.”

The park currently contains about two miles of paved walking trails.

A variety of flowers will bloom from early spring to late fall in the garden. Among the foliage will be white althea, which reflects the moonlight, red peony, rhododendron, azalea, Japanese maple, Aphrodite sweet shrub and dogwood. Japanese black pine, which grow and an angle, will be planted nearby to provide shade.

“There will be quite a mixture of colors,” Ketzler said. “Lots of color and texture. There will be a coy pond and a couple of bridges. In the next couple of years, you’ll see the garden really jumping in size and character; you’ll be able to watch how everything takes shape. It will be something different than people have seen anywhere else in the county.”

Ketzler has ordered a statue of Quan Yin, as well as a monk.

“When the Franciscans went to Japan, they labeled the Quan Yin as goddess of compassion and mercy,” Ketzler said. “So, I thought this would be a perfect place for her. The monk will stand alone in a place of quiet. I’ve also ordered a lantern for light.”

The lantern, in Japanese culture, is a sign of love, brightness and protection from evil.

The Department of Public Services Department from the City of Swartz Creek has pitched in to move some of the big rocks to serve as focal points. A pergola will serve as another focal point and could provide an apt location for weddings.

Ketzler said she is striving to create an environment of harmony and great respect for nature.

The garden also will contain signs identifying all of the plants, as well as the history of the park, the township and the Ketzler family.

“Again, the park committee feels that learning is very important,” Ketzler said. “I want to make sure, when people are there, they learn as they play.”

She hopes to have the garden sufficiently complete to have a ribbon cutting next summer. The township will dedicate the garden to the Ketzler family, who started the first licensed nursery this side of the Appalachians, once located where the north-south runway of Bishop International Airport now stands.

Ketzler said she hopes to start tai chi and yoga as soon as possible, and is looking for an instructor.

“It’s bringing me great joy to develop something my family has loved for years, that will be shared by the whole community,” Ketzler said. “My grandpa used to say, and this is probably a misquote from someone, that faith is planting a tree you know you’ll never sit under. And, that’s kind of what I’m doing.”