625 W. Short Street, Lexington

One of the most rewarding things we’ve done is the restoration of our beautiful historic home, Botherum, downtown Lexington. Being able to explore the house (and figuring out the story) through digging in the attic, the basement, the yard… has been like living a TV show… so much hard work but also lots of fun.  Plus, we are so close to the airport, Dudley’s, Blue Heron, Thursday Night Live, and the interstate that we save so much time driving.

Saying all that, I wanted to share with you this AMAZING house down the street that is for sale by a friend, David, who has bought another historic home a few houses away. As you can see from these photos, this isn’t “lite” restoration, but it’s down to the nitty gritty. The result is more than these photos show. Truly, I could move in with a toothbrush and Lily and Gertrude and be perfectly satisfied. Even the back yard has been professionally redone the right way, with retaining walls, proper drainage… And did I say it was a double lot so there is a HUGE space to build a garage?

So I will ask someone who has visited us here from Charleston, SC, Richmond, VA, Orlando and Jacksonville, FL and many other places, PLEASE buy this house and be our neighbor!  You already know how much fun Lexington is and it gets better everyday.  This one is too good to let go and I promise to be the first person to bring over the bottle of Maker’s Mark to welcome you!

See more photos over at Zillow >


Here’s a look at the before and after…
What an amazing restoration that makes me proud to live in Lexington!


Before Collage




After Collage


This week we toured some of our favorite Lexington gardens, taking 50 spouses of the Southern Legislative Conference held here in Lexington, Kentucky this past weekend. The garden tour visited Mt. Brilliant Farm, Kazee, Lois Anne Polan, Dudley’s rooftop garden, Madonna & Craig Turner, Apiary and of course we ended at our beloved Botherum.

The day was beautiful, the people as wonderful as they come and we just loved every moment of the day.

Guess what? We can all get along and very well!


Carloftis Garden in Ashland Park


This was a project we started almost 20 years ago, but we just updated of the whole garden, keeping almost the same varieties of trees but dwarf varieties that never need pruning like before. These weren’t available back then, but we were excited to use them here. Interior designer Matthew Carter did the inside of the house and it’s perfectly gorgeous.

Check out the entire article in the July-August issue of Sophisticated Living!


Great article in the Herald-Leader about the former Old Taylor distillery, now called Castle & Key.

We have been remaking the famed sunken garden, a unique feature designed by Col. E.H. Taylor Jr. specifically for the tourists whom he would bring in on private trains. The garden is again a showplace and already has been the backdrop for a wedding. The rest of the grounds have been transformed into a botanical trail and, in the remnants of the first warehouse, a botanical cutting garden, which master distiller Marianne Barnes plans to use for botanical gin recipes.

Read more here:
Castle & Key Gardens

Check out the July Issue of Southern Living Magazine that features our highly productive Edible Garden just outside the doors at Botherum.

Be sure to pick up a copy on the news stands today!


Edible Garden at Botherum Edible Garden at Botherum


We had a blast and the days were full of great people, great fun and great food! We’re officially open now for regular hours and we hope you stop by!


Monday – Saturday
10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Located off I-75 at exit 49 on US 25, or a leisurely drive down US 25 south past Livingston on the left just before the Laurel County bridge.

Click here for directions


Here’s a few photos from the Open House:


We are pleased to partner with America in Bloom who will be presenting a beautiful display garden at this year’s show. Longwood Antique Woods built the garden shed from reclaimed lumber in Lexington, Kentucky—then disassembled it to transport and then reassembled it for the center of our display. Proven Winners has provided all the plant material. Dale and I have donated the garden design and finally GrowIt is creating a special app that will give guests information about all the plants in the garden. Sounds like a great team, right?

Hats off to the America in Bloom volunteers, headed by Evelyn Alemanni, who had already rallied the troops and installed our design by the time we arrived in Philadelphia! Of course nothing is ever easy and we struggled to cover our plants to protect them from the chill they were getting because of the doors which had to remain open while everyone was setting up. But it was all well worth it as you’ll see!

Saturday, March 5th from 10 am to 12 pm
I will be on hand at Exhibit 50 to personally greet you and answer your gardening questions

Hope to see you there!


The theme of this year’s Flower Show is America’s Parks System so America in Bloom salutes the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgenville, Kentucky. It is the country’s first memorial to Lincoln, built with donations, resonant of America in Bloom’s commitment to growing communities through volunteerism and an emphasis on heritage preservation. Grounded by a simple structure hearkening to Lincoln’s humble beginnings, the garden is a tapestry – serene in its simplicity, creatively cohesive in plant selection, and a portal to the verdant central Kentucky valley.

CONGRATULATIONS to the “Old Taylor Distillery” team for bringing this iconic Kentucky bourbon distillery back to life … inside and out … and for Southern Living Magazine’s (50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) recent recognition as one of their top 50 coolest places to visit in the United States. Now hold on. “Old Taylor” is still under renovation and hoping to open soon. We’ll keep you posted.

When visiting, Jon Carloftis Fine Gardens looks forward to toasting with you recent “Old Taylor” garden installations including a formal sunken garden, botanical trail, and peristyle herb garden.

Old Taylor Distillery


This makes me laugh…that table was in the garbage on the side of the road and I quickly snagged it and placed in on the front porch for seasonal displays and it makes a great bar when the window is open for passing food and drink through. Think again before throwing things away and re-purpose what you love!



Just out is a special edition of Porches & Gardens where we had a few ideas that you might like to try along with lots of other ideas… It’s time to start thinking of your gardens and this issue if full of interesting and useful information to help you along! Winter is almost over…

Pick up a copy today!


KET Rhythm & Bloom


Winter is not over yet, but we are already dreaming about our favorite time of year—summer—when the gardens are glorious, the horses are happy, and Kentuckians are delighting in our state’s beauty, hospitality, and charm. You can find it all in one place—KET’s SUMMER CELEBRATION.

This is the signature fundraiser for Kentucky Educational Television (KET), the nation’s largest public television network with my favorite programs Antiques Roadshow, Downton Abbey, and those inspired by Kentucky’s glory. Different from other events, there are no speeches, no suits; just open bars, a farm-to-fork feast, a fantastic dance band, and a bountiful silent auction. And it takes place at Donamire Farm — one of the state’s most pristine garden settings and “the quintessential horse farm of the world,” as noted by Southern Living magazine. The mile-long entrance to the party tent, winding past the home, barns, horses, vineyard, lake, and racetrack, is worth the price of admission alone!

As Honorary Chair for KET’s 28th anniversary event—“Rhythm & Blooms”—I want to make this the most successful yet. The party has grown to 1,200 fun-loving guests, but what will make this one special is all of our out-of-town friends making a date to see the Bluegrass State at its finest. Through my club visits, expos, books, or tours, you’ve heard about my homegrown roots and the rich color and sweet bouquet of Kentucky. So clubs from Richmond, VA, Columbus, OH, and beyond have made the trek to see for themselves… and can attest to our splendor and southern hospitality like none other.

So… you are personally invited to come see us!

Friday, June 10th

KET Summer Celebration

7 p.m. to midnight

Donamire Farm, Lexington, Kentucky

$150 pp, $1,500/reserved tables of eight
Reserved group seating is available only with a sponsorship, and the event always sells out. So make your plans soon!

Click here for more party details and sponsorship benefits.

Proceeds sow the seeds for KET’s programs and services. Thank you for your support and for exploring the wonder of Kentucky through the best television station in the land. I can’t wait to see you in June!

donamire farm