Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, along came the sold out Proven Winners LIFE+STYLE Solstice Celebration event at the Governor’s Mansion hosted by yours truly. It was off the charts!

The rain was hardly even noticed as our guests were captivated by the knowledge and the expertise of our panel of speakers. I would even venture to say that the rain actually made the gardens look even richer and more vibrant for the visitors to enjoy! Everyone seemed to love the new 30 minute session format which the speakers used to pack their talks with super-informative information that was easy to understand and take-away. There was so much to learn about Monarch butterflies, the importance of bees, indoor and outdoor entertaining, creating tablescapes from the garden and so much more. And of course, the food was over the top! The wonderful chefs at the mansion were on their game as they helped make the day even more enjoyable.

We closed with a Kentucky bourbon toast to the history of Bulleit Bourbon and the success of the day with Betsy Bulleit’s famous “BLT” (Bulleit, Lemon, Tonic).

As Executive Director of the Kentucky Governor’s Mansion, Ann Evans says:

“You know an event was great and the ‘talk of the town’ when you’ve already started to get calls about when is it going to be next year!”

The bonus of the whole day was, of course, that we were later told that the event has now put the First Lady’s preservation fund over the $1 million mark, ensuring a brighter future for the Kentucky Governor’s Mansion for years to come.

Just a quick reminder that we still have two more LIFE+STYLE events coming up later this year at Old Taylor Distillery on Sept. 12th and My Old Kentucky Home/Maker’s Mark Distillery on Oct. 3rd. I know it seems a bit early to be spreading the word, but because these first two events sold out pretty quickly (unfortunately, we had to turn some people away) we just want to make sure you don’t miss out. You can get tickets now at: gardenlifestyleshow.com

Here’s a look through scenes from throughout this wonderful day day.


Garden Great #17

as featured in O Magazine | Summer 2008


Ultimate Guest Bedroom

People are always looking for an extra room for guests to spend the night, especially near a holiday. This space was on the cover of O Magazine. Created for a client in Maryland, we turned a little porch area into a “guest bedroom” which created the feeling of sleeping out in the gardens.



Read or download the full article here…


Beth's Blue® Star Flower Isotoma

Beth’s Blue®
Star Flower

Garnet Brocade™ Sedum, Stonecrop Sedum

Garnet Brocade™ 
Sedum, Stonecrop
Sedum (Hylotelephium)


Sonic Bloom® Pearl
Reblooming Weigela

Our Proven Winners® favorites are available at your local garden store or online at www.provenwinners.com



Garden Great #16

as featured in Garden Design | July/August 2009


When in Louisville

We were honored to have the pleasure of designing the horticultural installations at the beautiful 21C Museum Hotel in Louisville. I invited my friend, Sarah Kinbar for a visit and while here she visited some great Louisville gardens, including the rooftop garden we installed at the 21C.



“…this city offers every good thing for
discriminating pleasure and beauty seekers.”
—Sarah Kinbar

Read or download the full article here…


Superbells® Red Calibrachoa hybrid

Superbells® Red

Lanai® Twister Purple Verbena

Lanai® Twister Purple 

Sky Pointer® Japanese Holly Ilex crenata

Sky Pointer® 
Japanese Holly

Our Proven Winners® favorites are available at your local garden store or online at www.provenwinners.com



Garden Great #15

as featured in Southern Living | April 2009


A Natural Retreat

We laid out this pool with a garden hose… real “business-like”! But it turned out beautifully and it helped to create the look that our client was going for: elegance, practicality and a great space for entertaining in their very own woodland retreat!

“We ended up with a pool that fits beautifully into the landscape.”—Madonna Turner

Read or download the full article here…



‘Hudson Bay’

Heart of the Jungle Elephant Ear Colocasia

Heart of the Jungle 
Elephant Ear


Gatsby Pink® 
Oakleaf hydrangea

Our Proven Winners® favorites are available at your local garden store or online at www.provenwinners.com



Charlotte and Daniel Ward



How about this for inspiring?

When we were ready to completely redesign the gardens at the Kentucky Governor’s Mansion a couple of years ago, we reached out to our dear friends, Charlotte and Daniel Ward of Longshadow Planters. Longshadow makes many of the beautiful garden ornaments and planters you see in our work, including at our own home, Botherum.

Because Charlotte and Daniel are so kind and so generous they offered to donate their beautiful planters to the Mansion so that we could add to the timeless elegance that we were striving to reach with this project. We couldn’t have done it without them…

Please join us at the Summer Solstice Garden Celebration, one in our series of LIFE+STYLE events, at the Governors Mansion in Frankfort, Kentucky on June 20th. The Wards will be lending their experience, knowledge and expertise to everyone who can make it to this wonderful event.

Here are some photos of the beautiful Longshadow planters you will see at the Governor’s Mansion:

longshadow Collage

Just a little bit more about these
very special people…

20 years ago Chalotte and Daniel Ward moved to Pomona, Illinois where they were surrounded by the rolling wooded hills of the Shawnee National Forest. There they planted their dream of building a grand garden and creating fine classic planters, beautiful and rugged enough to withstand the ravages of winter.

As Charlotte puts it: “22 years ago we were challenged by an Englishman asking why the Americans can’t make their own garden ornaments. We raise our our eyebrows at each other and realized we would save America from this condescending thought. From then on we’ve had this big driving dream and before we knew it we were entrepreneurs. We love the feeling of fine old gardens and take great pride in being a protective, positive, enhancing part of the gardening world.”

Charlotte and Daniel love to share the beauty of Longshadow planters and ornaments and the inspiring setting in which they’re crafted, making their own garden one which visitors from all over the country come to visit.

Website:  www.longshadow.com
Instagram:  @longshadowplanters


We couldn’t help giving you a sneak peak…

christopher and melissa in mh garden

I can never say enough good things about my good friends Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton… Just about everyone knows them from their books, The Canal House Cooking series (I should say, the award-winning series!).

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being lucky enough to taste some of their delicious creations you’ll know why my mouth is already watering in anticipation.

Well, it turns out that I was able to convince them to come down to Kentucky and be our very special guest chefs at the cocktail party we are hosting at Botherum on the night before the Governor’s Mansion LIFE+STYLE event… and boy did they put together an amazing menu!


Bulleit Bourbon Cocktail
Bubbly Water
White Wine

Delicious bites: 

Pimiento Cheese on Saltines
Stuffed Eggs with Asparagus
Fried Chicken with Watermelon Pickle
Shrimp Cocktail
Peanut Butter, Bacon & Bourbon Jelly
Grilled Cheese & Chutney
Endive with Gorgonzola Dolce & Toasted Walnuts
Candied Bacon

Looks delicious, right?!?

Now, I hate to say it but we’re close to SOLD OUT for this event… just a few tickets are left and in order to come to the cocktail party, you need to add it on as an option when you purchase your ticket to the Governor’s Mansion event… if you hurry, you might be the lucky few to get in on this really great party!

P.S. I wanted to mention that there will be live jazz performed by the amazing Chris Comer Trio from Cincinnati, Ohio (they were a big hit at our recent bourbon tasting event at the Cincinnati Flower Show)! So what could be better than great food, great music and great people on a Friday night? See you there!

If you would like to learn more about Canal House Cooking check them out here:

Website: www.thecanalhouse.com
Blog: lunch.thecanalhouse.com
Instagram: @canalhouse


Garden Great #14

as featured in Country Living | April 2012


Ultimate American Kitchen Garden

I was asked by Country Living to design and build an organic vegetable & herb kitchen garden… Oh what a torturous trail it was having to deal with rabbits, compacted soil and crazy amounts of rain! We, like every other organic gardener, learned all kinds of lessons and in the end it turned out wonderfully. Check out the tips in this great article to help you plant your own kitchen garden!

“Structure adds style… and that’s what separates us from the Neanderthals.”

Read or download the full article here…



Sundaze® Blaze 
Bracteantha (Xerochrysum)


Sweet Romance® 
Lavandula angustifolia


Miss Molly
Butterfly Bush

Our Proven Winners® favorites are available at your local garden store or online at www.provenwinners.com




Will Arvin and business partner Wes Murry are currently investing their time and effort into the gorgeous Old Taylor Distillery in order to bring it back to life so they can open it’s doors to visitors once again.

On Saturday, September 12, my dear friend and expert on preservation in Kentucky, Sally Van Winkle Campbell, will be on hand at the Old Taylor LIFE+STYLE event to give you first hand insight into helping secure Kentucky’s heritage.

“During the ten years that it took to produce SAVING KENTUCKY – my friend and reknowned photographer – Thomas Hart Shelby and I traveled Kentucky – driving up and down two-lane roads where sagging tobacco barns bore witness to an industry once so important but now all but gone from the landscape. We traveled the roads of the Bluegrass – and saw first-hand the majesty and the heartbreak of the eastern Appalachian Mountains and the people who live in them.

“SAVING KENTUCKY tells the stories of an amazing group of Kentuckians who are going to extraordinary lengths to save the things that are so important to our heritage: the land – the mountains – the small towns and historic buildings – a way of life. And they are doing it not just for themselves – but for all of us – and for our children and grandchildren.” — Sally Van Winkle Campbell

Once again, at this LIFE+STYLE event, ALL PROCEEDS made from the ticket sales will go back into to reviving this Kentucky treasure back to it former glory.

Sally Van Winkle Campbell is a native Kentuckian and author of two award-winning books; BUT ALWAYS FINE BOURBON, and SAVING KENTUCKY.

You can get tickets here.



Did you know that EVERY PENNY made from the ticket sales of the Summer Solstice Garden Party at the Governor’s Mansion will go directly into the Preservation Fund for the Governor’s Mansion?

photo 1

Please support Ann Evans and First Lady, Jane Beshear, who want to make sure that we keep the most beautiful Governor’s Mansion in the U.S. up and running by joining us at the Summer Solstice Garden Party on Saturday, June 20th.  

Tickets are available for singles attendees… or get your friends together for a table of 8 and get a 10% savings!

In two upcoming LIFE+STYLE events at Old Taylor Distillery (Saturday, September 12) and My Old Kentucky Home (Saturday, October 3) we remain committed to making sure we support keeping Kentucky beautiful. Hope we will see you at all of these wonderful events!

We are thrilled to bits that Buffy Hargett Miller agreed to join us at our next big LIFE+STYLE event.

01-23-15 Buffy Hargett Miller 008

Folks, I’ve met a lot of talented people over the past 25 years of business, but Buffy is one of the best in the biz…Not only does she come up with fantastic ideas but she shows you how you can do them yourself. If you love entertaining or have a special event coming up, then don’t miss Buffy Hargate at the Summer Solstice event!

Her formal training in art and design provided the foundation to explore many creative opportunities, including a 20-year career as senior photo stylist for Southern Living Magazine. Inspiration comes from travels to favorite place… Canyon Road in Santa Fe, the flower district in New York and summers spent on the Carolina cost with close friends and family.

Please join us at the Kentucky Governor’s Mansion & gardens for the Summer Solstice Garden Party (a Proven Winners LIFE+STYLE event) hosted by Jon Carloftis Fine Gardens where we will be showcasing one of the most beautiful executive residence gardens in the south and where you can come and be INSPIRED by world-class speakers all day long.Buffy will be sharing her tips for summer-ripened arrangements inspired by a trip to the farmers market. She will share her creative approach to basic floral design as well as giving us a behind the scenes view of a recent photo shoot, and a glimpse of some spectacular event flowers from the past year.

Get tickets here.

Here is some inspiration from Buffy’s latest creations including a featured article in Alabama Magazine’s most recent bridal issue.
Buffy Magazine Collage
Buffy Collage
Website: buffyhargett.com
Facebook: buffyhargettflowers
Instagram: @buffyhargettflowers