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


Southern Living 50th Anniversary Issue

If you haven’t heard yet, this is the 50th Anniversary of Southern Living Magazine, the one magazine that has kept the south together all these years, no matter where you move. Just wait until you pick up the SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY EDITION on newsstands now.

We are so humbled, yet happy to be included in this beautiful and exciting, keep-forever issue. They loved our container idea we used at our old house to keep privacy yet still be useful. However, to be included in the Best Southern Gardens…well that just took the cake!

Our property at Rockcastle River has always been open to the public (Monday-Saturday, CLOSED Sunday, April-December… please honor our hours for our privacy) since opening in 1955 and it gets better and better each year with new plantings for you to enjoy. It’s not funded by anyone but us, with no volunteers nor grants, so it is truly a labor of love.

Thanks, SOUTHERN LIVING, for including us in this monumental issue and here’s to another 50 great years!

“This special 50th Anniversary Issue is just full of everything you want and need to know about gardening in the south… the when, the what, the how of southern gardening. Plus, they have filled it with designs for everyone from formal to rustic to country to urban…it’s a real gift for any gardener.”



g&g logo Marianne_Barnes_Garden_And_Gun_Hot-List

Garden & Gun’s Southern Hot List has named one of our good friends, Marianne Barnes of Old Taylor Distillery “The Whiskey Wunderkind”! Dale and I have been incredibly lucky to work with Marianne, along with Will Arvin and Wes Murry, on the resurrection of this great Kentucky Landmark. They are true visionaries in their field.

You can read more about Marianne and other “Southern Hot List” winners over at: gardenandgun.com/article/southern-hot-list



Over three beautiful fall days, our Rockcastle River Trading Company welcomed more than 800 visitors during our annual Christmas Open House and garden workshop series.

We want to thank everyone who came from near and far to help my family celebrate its 60th year on this lush property located on the banks of the Rockcastle River, surrounded by the Daniel Boone National Forest.

Valerie Schirmer of Three Toads Farm joined me to educate and entertain the troops in six garden workshops. Many of the store products showcased in these workshops sold out on day one. Fortunately, they are back in stock!


RRTC OH 2015 Collage

The store is filled to the gills with some of your old favorites and some surprising new gems we’re certain you’ll adore… stage is being set and we’re just about ready to greet you and your friends for a fun-filled prelude to the holiday season.

Once again, Valerie Schirmer of Three Toads Farm and I will be presenting 6 FREE workshops over 3 days.

Unique gift ideas, delicious food, beautiful surroundings and a whole lot of fun!

See you next week!


November 19, 20 & 21
from 10am – 5pm
Workshops at 11am and 2pm


Visit rockcastlerivertradingco.com

for more information and directions to the store!


The Magic Millions dinner at one of our dear friends and one of Lexington’s best-loved event spaces Apiary Fine Catering and Events was recently featured in InStyle Magazine. Check it out!




We just wanted to catch up with you about the LIFE+STYLE event at Old Taylor Distillery last weekend. Wow, was it a good one! With speakers sharing their knowledge about everything from how to integrate reclaimed wood into traditional or modern homes, experts on Proven Winners shrubs and how to use them in your garden, the herb specialists from Wilson’s Nursery, two very different floral designers on how to do do simple every day arrangements as well as special occasion arrangements, farm-to-vase growers and so much more! It was a really special day in a very special setting.

Some of you were not able to come, but not to worry!

In just a couple of weeks we have another amazing opportunity for you in Bardstown at My Old Kentucky Home! This is the fourth and LAST of our one-time Life+Style series coming up on October 2nd we are doing so don’t miss it! Visitors come from all over the country to enjoy Kentucky’s history and heritage there, and after all it was the inspiration for that classic song written by Stephen Foster!

What’s so cool about this event…

is that we are raising money to refurbish the old formal garden behind the mansion! As part of the beautification process, we’ve been hard at work clearing out shrubs which have overgrown slowly over the years and creating an all new formal garden. Our good friend, Matthew Bailey is the energetic director who is committed to revitalizing this beautiful landmark by reinventing the guest experience. He also happens to be a speaking at the upcoming event there on October 2nd where you can learn all about his plans for making this a key destination again.

For more information on this event and to see all the other interesting speakers please visit gardenlifestyleshow.com where you can also reserve your place. But don’t wait too long… space is limited and there are just a few seats left. We’ve sold out the 3 previous events and this will sell out too!