Award-winning garden designer to speak at Garden Day in Bloomington

Jack Barnwell will be the keynote speaker at the Home, Lawn, and Garden Day in Bloomington.

University of Illinois Extension McLean County Master Gardeners welcome Jack Barnwell as their keynote speaker for their 2019 Home, Lawn, and Garden Day on Saturday, March 2 at Central Catholic High School in Bloomington.

Registration is required to attend the event. Register by Thursday, Feb.  21.

Barnwell receives accolades as an award-winning garden designer of Mackinac Island, author, and overall plant enthusiast.

Barnwell has over 10 years of experience creating breathtaking commercial and private garden displays in one of the world’s premier summer vacation destinations.

Barnwell’s roots grow deep in the island culture, spending his summers there as a kid and being pulled back as a lead landscape designer.

There is still time to save your spot for this keynote entitled “Landscaping and Gardening on Beautiful Mackinac Island.”

Barnwell has embraced the unique challenge of landscaping and gardening on a motor vehicle-free Mackinac Island, planting, and caring for many of the island’s most prestigious properties by horse and bicycle.

Through this experience, he has identified the best techniques for design, plant selection, and maintenance practices that create stunning displays of color and form, while minimizing care so that his crew can handle it all! He will share many of these concepts, stories, and much more on this immersive journey of Michigan’s crown jewel.

Barnwell builds raised beds to showcase colorful annuals because he says “soil is key for gardening triumphs …fluffy soil = happy plants.” He also discourages gardeners from breaking up the root balls of annuals when planting containers.

The water is consistently reflected in the curves of his beds. He uses floating stones in the lawn because they really fit in with the cottage designs of the island. He is a huge fan of hydrangeas, Bloomerang reblooming lilac, astilbe, brunnera, and sweet woodruff for his cottage designs.

In addition to the exclusive keynote, help us welcome spring with a variety of gardening presentations from local experts and experienced master gardeners.  Home, Lawn & Garden Day $50 registration includes:

  • Morning Session with Dr. David Kopsell will inspire us all with “Landscape Design Tips, Techniques and Secrets.”
  • Three workshops (Choose from over 35.)
  • One mid-day session with Master Gardeners from the WJBC radio show who will be answering questions submitted by the attendees.
  • Lunch and morning refreshments
  • Vendors and Exhibitors
  • Door Prizes
  • Silent Auction to benefit local Master Gardener projects

Registration is at or at the McLean County Extension Office, 1615 Commerce Parkway, Bloomington. For questions, or if you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, contact Sherry Thomas at 309-663-8306 or email her at