My family has been going to St. Augustine, Florida since the 1940′s and Jacksonville was always close by if we ever wanted to go to a larger city for something to see and do. For some reason we had never been to the Cummer Museum but on this trip we were taken aback by the beautifully curated collection (for instance, the special exhibit of iconic dresses by famous designers and worn by famous people like Cate Blanchett… very cool!), the gorgeous gardens, and some of the finest hospitality we’ve ever experienced.

The sold out luncheon was enjoyed under the magnificent Live Oak trees and the sold out Maker’s Mark Bourbon Tasting later that evening were both SO MUCH FUN! The Kentucky-inspired food was amazing and the view on the St. John’s River was like being in a movie.

Good People + Good Bourbon = Good Times.

And guess what? We are now looking forward to the Cummer Museum Travel Group coming to visit us in Kentucky in the Spring of 2015!

We’d like to share some photos from our day…

























When it takes time and effort to make something the best it can be, it’s ALWAYS worth it. Maker’s Mark has been creating premium bourbon longer than anyone else and each batch is still made on the farm… for the whole world! So naturally Canal House (Melissa Hamilton and our next door neighbor and BFF, Christopher Hirsheimer in Bucks County, PA) fits in perfectly with Maker’s Mark and their way of doing things right.

This special luncheon sold out in 45 minutes and 20 more spaces had to be made for people on the waiting list. As soon as guests arrived they were treated to Maker’s Mark Bourbon Sidecars, Maker’s Mark Manhattans and Maker’s Mark New Fashion Old-Fashioneds. It was a European-style dinner with each course deliciously paired with the right wines. People drove from as far away as Chicago and Columbus to eat lunch with Canal House and Maker’s Mark and it was worth every mile. DELICIOUS!

Here are some of our favorite photos from the day…























{ download the Maker’s Mark cocktail recipes here }




Some unique Jon Carloftis Fine Gardens holiday decorating ideas were featured in the December issue of Southern Living Magazine! We’ll have even more great ideas AND show you how to do them in the workshops at the Rockcastle River Trading Company Holiday Open House event tomorrow (November 19th) through Saturday (November 21st). Can’t wait to see you there!

Pick up your copy of Southern Living today for more great Holiday Ideas!





This handsome pair of wooden horses (6 1/2′ tall | 2′ wide) have taken center stage in one of my favorite client’s New York courtyard garden for many years. After a brief trip to the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky, they are now back east, this time resting comfortably on the front porch of my Bucks County farmhouse. They are show stoppers where ever they are. My clients are hoping to find them a new home. $5,000 / pair + shipping & handling.

Email me at for more information.

Large Wooden Horses

Large Wooden Horses

Large Wooden Horses

Large Wooden Horses

Large Wooden Horses

Large Wooden Horses

Large Wooden Horses



Please join us along with our good friend
and special guest
Valerie Schirmer of Three Toads Farm!


Thursday, Friday and Saturday
November 20, 21, 22
11am & 2pm

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Some of the topics we will cover include:

  • Forcing bulbs in time for the holidays
  • Creating beautiful tablescapes
  • Great shrubs and perennials from Proven Winners – perfect for fall planting!
  • Selecting your perfect container
  • Using indoor plants with style for a natural take on holiday decor
  • Creative ways to use your garden remains
  • Alternative colors for the holidays


All workshops are FREE!
No registration is required.

Food will be available and provided by our FAVORITE
Greek restaurant in Lexington…
Athenian Grill
so come hungry!

And follow or Facebook page to see more details as they become available!


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We are excited about a very full day of programming at The Cummer Museum in Jacksonville on Wednesday, November 5th!

There are two special events you can attend. First, during a daytime event, we will be speaking on “Art in the Garden and Nature as Art.” This talk will focus on how to integrate artwork in your personal garden and how to use trees, shrubs, stones, fish, animals, etc. as art. There will also be a wonderful luncheon (included in your ticket price) in the recently restored Olmsted Gardens located on the picturesque St. Johns River.Topping off the day with an evening event, will be a special Kentucky Bourbon Tasting along with small bites inspired by Kentucky cuisine, followed by a lecture focusing on “Style in the Garden”. Thanks to Maker’s Mark, guests will taste from the brand’s specialty collection, including, an over-matured bourbon, Maker’s White, the newest 46 Bourbon and Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bourbon, which is only available at their Kentucky distillery.

We can’t wait to visit this amazing museum and we hope we’ll see you there! Get your tickets today at the links below:

To make your reservation over the phone, call 904.899.6038. 

Don’t delay, seating is limited and you must
RSVP by Friday, October 31, 2014!





You are invited

to our fun Christmas Open House

Friday & Saturday

November 21st  & November 22nd

10am – 5pm

Great gift ideas inspired by nature, food from the Athenian Grill in Lexington and a chance to tour our beautiful property with your family… we look forward to seeing you!

Rockcastle River Trading Company
13855 S. Wilderness Road
Livingston KY 40445

Store Phone: (606) 843-0854

 Let us know if you’re coming on our Facebook page!

We are looking forward to this very special event on November 9th that partners two of our very good friends, Christopher Hirsheimer & Melissa Hamilton of Canal House Cooking and the good folks over at Maker’s Mark!
We’ll be there and we’ll be HUNGRY! Can’t hardly wait…

Please join us!


Sunday, November 9th, 2014
12:00 pm
Maker’s Mark Distillery
Loretto, Kentucky

For more information and to purchase a ticket to the luncheon, click here.





Old Taylor Distillery, founded in 1897, was the absolute original distillery built with tourism in mind. After going defunct in the early 1970s, it sat deserted and crumbling. But now, two young entrepreneurs, Will Arvin and Wes Murray and Wes Murray have purchased this 83 acre historic property and are working on big plans to bring visitors back so they can once again enjoy this unbelievable place. 

A small batch distillery will be up and running in the near future and Jon Carloftis Fine Gardens is restoring the grounds including the famous sunken garden (garden in progress) that will be used for an event space. Our next project is starting on the botanic trail which will meander throughout the whole property.

This distillery is about much more than bourbon. This is a treasure with future plans to include a restaurant, event spaces and tours to host people from all over the world. We are thrilled to be a part of it. 

This site is currently closed to the public.

Have a look at a little video tour of The Old Taylor Distillery:


We like to start them early. She’s gonna be just like her dads!


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