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Mackinac Memories

The Gardens of Mackinac Island Book

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The Gardens of Mackinac Island by Jack Barnwell and Sue Allen.  Photography by Jennifer Wohletz.


The Gardens of Mackinac Island offers an inside peek at the public and private outdoor spaces people cherish on Mackinac Island. With more than 600 photographs, the 10” x 10”, 344-page, hard-cover coffee table book takes readers on a tour of the island’s gardens both humble and grand.

“The Gardens of Mackinac Island is an informative, engaging, and visually stunning book that captures the beauty and diversity of the island’s floral environment and cultivated gardens,” says Phil Porter, director, Mackinac State Historic Parks. “The book does a wonderful job of connecting today’s gardens with Mackinac’s rich botanical history.”

Authors Jack Barnwell, of Mackinac Island and Naples, Fla., and Sue Allen, of Mackinac Island and Alexandria, Va., capture not only a moment in time, but a view of what has made Mackinac’s softer side so impressive.  Barnwell has more than 20 years of experience creating commercial and private gardens on the island as a landscape architect and owner of Barnwell Landscape and Garden, Inc. He believes “playing in the deep quiet woods and flower-filled meadows of Mackinac Island as a child sparked his passion for working with plants.”

By conducting more than 60 interviews with local landscape designers, resident gardeners and homeowners, Allen collected insightful stories to share about gardens from today and yesterday. “This book is not just about the big beautiful gardens or the special little ones – it’s about the people and their passion and connection to the earth,” says Allen, who is a lifelong island summer resident, retired teacher and journalist. “Each garden has a story, many have secrets, and most have a connection to the past.”

The book’s photographs provide inspiration for creating an inviting, relaxing outdoor space. They were taken by Jennifer Wohletz, of Mackinac Island and Milford, Mich., along with a few contributions from local photographers and the Mackinac State Historic Parks collection.