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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!


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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!





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Before & After


MILLVILLE — The still at the Old Taylor site isn’t up and running yet but that isn’t stopping distiller Marianne Barnes. She’s already hard at work in her upstairs lab, cooking up different mashbills for future spirits.

Although the distillery will make bourbon, Barnes is focusing right now on gins. Specifically, on a gin to serve to guest at the upcoming Jon Carloftis Life + Style event at Old Taylor Distillery this weekend.

“Smell that,” Carloftis says, holding out a handful of plants to Barnes. “It’s nepeta.” The lavender-blue flower, otherwise known as catmints, is used in herbal teas and medicinal tonics.

Barnes adds it to her collection, which soon includes lavender, aronia, native mountain mint, juniper, echinacea and more.

She’s planning to concoct a gin flavored with estate-grown botanicals.

As Barnes and Carloftis make their way around a walking trail he’s installing on the grounds of the distillery, which has endured decades of neglect, vandalism and decay, the signs of progress are everywhere.

The peristyle, where the spring water flows in, has been dismantled for repairs. A wall along Glenn’s Creek is being raised to allow for a terrace for sipping drinks; the walking path is coming together with groups of plantings and landscaping throughout…

Read more of this story by clicking here…


Begins Friday with a cocktail party for attendees from 5 to 7 p.m. at historic Botherum, 341 Madison Place, his Lexington home. $50 per person.

Continues Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Old Taylor, for $125 per person or $900 for a table for eight. Includes breakfast by Frankfort’s Sage Garden Cafe, inspiring lifestyle presentations, lunch and a swag bag.

Proceeds from each LIFE+STYLE event benefit the garden, grounds and venues.

Tickets must be ordered in advance at Gardenlifestyleshow.com




Join us at Old Taylor Distillery for the Next LIFE+STYLE event of the season…



While the rejuvenation process is still ongoing, Old Taylor Distillery will soon be welcoming visitors back for the first time in over 40 years. Old Taylor has a unique history, being the first bourbon distillery to open its doors to visitors as far back as the 1880’s, where tourist arrived by train to see this one-of-a-kind place.

Before joining the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail, we invite you to experience its transformation from beautiful decay to a renewed Kentucky treasure, showcased at our third Proven Winners Life + Style event on September 12th 2015.

Similar to our two previous SOLD OUT Life + Stye events, we have gathered a host of elite speakers to present inspiring ideas on gardening, lifestyle and entertaining. A beautiful breakfast and lunch will be served… along with guided tours of garden works-in-progress including the Sunken Garden, Botanic Trail, and Peristyle Herb Garden.

To kick things off, join us the night before (Friday, September 11, 2015) at our home and gardens at historic Botherum for a cocktail party and garden tour of the Proven Winners Southern Test Garden.

For more information on schedules and speakers please visit gardenlifestyleshow.com where you can also register for this event. Just click here…

These 2-day events are an enjoyable way for you to learn, to get inspired and to have a whole lot of fun. We hope you can join us.

[ You can read more about Old Taylor Distillery here. ]






Rarely is there a time when a project stays true to the vision from beginning to end. It all seems like a good idea in the beginning, but after months/years of building, either money or just wanting it all over with, the vision can change. The Apiary was the dream project. The clients had their say in every decision and their taste is impeccable, so that makes it even better than left to our own devices… we love when an owner is so interested, involved AND has great taste! We believe the best gardens come out of a joint effort and The Apiary was certainly one of these… just look at the results!





When Keeneland Magazine asked us to open our home for their gorgeous magazine, we jumped at the offer. Lee Thomas did us proud with the photos and Patti Nickell sure knows how to tell a story.

Please enjoy this nice article about a most unusual home right smack dab in the middle of town!