Don’t Miss the Stephen Rolfe Powell Exhibition at Maker’s Mark

  • September 16, 2019

Recently I was over at Maker’s Mark to check on the gardens we installed over the past couple of years and to see my friend Rob Samuels. Plus, I have to admit, I wanted to indulge in seeing the new exhibit from Kentucky’s most famous glass artist, Stephen Rolfe Powell. Maker’s Mark had previously commissioned a bespoke piece from Powell (on display at the distillery’s busy gift shop), and was excited about the prospect of showcasing Powell’s masterful art.

The exhibition was in the planning stages when Powell suddenly died. In honor of his legacy, Maker’s Mark was committed to making sure Powell’s plans were carried out just as he had envisioned.

Now on display, these incredible and elegant glass sculptures are playfully tucked in amongst barrels and in interesting corners of the property. They are available for public viewing through November 30. Make sure you get there in time to see it! 


Guest Appearance on Great Day Live!

  • August 2, 2019
Jon Carloftis On Great Day Live Show

Green thumb gardening tips

Recently I stopped by WHAS 11 with The Voice-Tribune columnist Janice Carter Levitsch to give some tips on gardening to the folks watching the Great Day Live show hosted by Angie Fenton.  

Alongside Janice, we talk about how to bring the green indoors to connect to the outdoors and cover things like how to grow a ZZ plant without light, ferns, and plants you can water once a month and finally about containers to add the finishing touch to your indoor plants. 

Alongside Janice, we talk about how to bring the green indoors to connect to the outdoors and cover things like how to grow a ZZ plant without light, ferns, and plants you can water once a month among other and finally about containers to add the finishing touch to your indoor plants. 

Have a look at this video and learn how to brighten up your indoors!

Third Year in a Row! The 2019 Salonniere 100: America’s Best Party Hosts

  • March 19, 2019

We are pleased to be amongst honorees from 33 U.S. cities which represent a diverse and creative group of people who share a common trait: an ability to leverage the power of parties to enhance the lives of others.

“Social gatherings play a vital role in our lives and communities, whether to connect people, advance ideas, support causes, or promote joyfulness, and those who host them well provide a great gift to humanity,” said Carla McDonald, The Salonniere’s founder and editor in chief. “The Salonniere 100 is our way of honoring those who are extraordinary at hosting events with passion and purpose and using the power of parties to unite, enhance, and improve the lives of others.”

—excerpt from The Salonière

Here’s to another year of fun and supporting the people and causes that make such a difference in our world! It’s worth every moment spent!

You can read more and see the full list here:

Lexington Cancer Foundation Derby Gala and Wine Auction

2018 Bourbon and Brews on Broadway to Benefit The Blue Grass Trust

  • June 21, 2018
2018 Bourbon And Brews On Broadway Photos

The summer event of the season… Bourbon & Brews on Broadway

Lexington is gearing up for round two of the Bourbon & Brews on Broadway, the annual event to benefit the Blue Grass Trust. For anyone who attended last year, you’ll know just how much fun we all had! We hope you’ll join us once again by heading downtown to enjoy this don’t-miss party of the summer!

Returning again is Joslyn & The Sweet Compression who will set the stage on FIRE with her cool, soulful sounds! Cocktails will be provided by the generous Maker’s Mark  and the best beer in Lexington provided by West Sixth Brewing. Fantastic food will be provided by Catering by Donna. Please mark your calendars and don’t miss this amazing night out in Lexington!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

6:00 PM to 10:00 PM

on Second Street, between Broadway and Mill

$60 (BGT members) – $70 (general public)
$75 at gate(if it’s not sold out!) 
We carry on, rain or shine!

Sponsored by Maker’s Mark,West Sixth Brewing and Jon Carloftis Fine Gardens.  

You can reserve your tickets by visiting:

BGT-Bourbon & Brews on Broadway



Win Dinner, Drinks & Tour of the enchanting historic property of the Carloftis Family, located along the Rockcastle River.

  • May 24, 2018

My sister Carcille is on the board of the Baptist Health Foundation Corbin who are holding their 13th Annual Silver Ball Gala on June 9th, 2018. She’s supported me all my life and so of course, I return the favor when I can!

For their silent auction, we are donating Dinner, Drinks & Tour of the enchanting historic property of the Carloftis Family, located along the Rockcastle River.*

Winners will enjoy:

  • A private tour and history of the botanical garden, originally part of Wilderness Road, by the charming Buzz Carloftis
  • A walk along the beautiful wild gardens and botanic trail, full of thousands of native wildflowers as seen in countless national magazines, including Country Gardens, Southern Living, Kentucky Monthly and Edible Lousiville
  • Drinks and a beautiful supper for 6, prepared by Jon Carloftis, on terrace overlooking the Rockcastle River

So, gather your worthwhile friends and put in your bid. You will remember this incredible experience for years to come!

Bidding is open now through June 9th for this once in a lifetime experience. For more information click here.

Opening bid is $1000 and will be raised in increments of $100. 100% of the winning bid will go to the Baptist Health Foundation Corbin.

*Winners will be notified and arrangements must be made within one year for the Dinner, Drinks & Tour on a mutually agreed upon date.

If you like, you can also attend the 13th Annual Silver Ball Gala on June 9th, 2018.

13th Annual Silver Ball Gala

Saturday, June 9th, 2018
The Arena
Corbin, Kentucky

Silent Auction at 6pm
Dinner at 7pm
Entertainment by G Miles and the Band of Helping Hands

To attend the Silver Ball Gala please call Lee Richardson at 606-523-8533 and reserve your place.

A Glorious Weekend at the Rockcastle River Trading Co. 2018 Spring Open House

  • May 21, 2018

Thank you to all who visited us at the Rockcastle River Trading Co. Spring Open House on Mothers Day weekend. It was one of the most successful opening houses ever, so we really appreciate you stopping over!

Val Schirmer of Three Toads Farm knocked the socks off folks with her incredible tips and the flower creations she had available for Mothers’ Day. The coffee was flowing thanks to Smokin’ Aces Coffee! And Local Feed served up their insanely delicious food to over 700 happy customers!

The store is now open through end of year, so if you missed it, you can still pop over and shop, walk the botanical trail and enjoy an afternoon along the beautiful Rockcastle River!

On the Porch with Jon Carloftis | Traditional Home Magazine

  • April 13, 2018
Jon Carloftis On The Steps Of The Garden Shed At Botherum

An interview with Clara Haneberg for Traditional Home Magazine

On a warm summer day, you can find me:

Working on somebody’s garden or in my own garden. I would rather be in a garden (training, pruning, cleaning, looking, learning….) than anywhere on earth.

Ever been stung by a bee?

Many, many times over the years, but every once in awhile it will be a hornet instead of a yellow jacket, wasp, or honey bee, and it is mind boggling how much pain they can bring!

Sweat tea or lemonade?

Like them both!

As a kid, I loved playing __________ outdoors.


In my garden I grow:

Lots of perennials, a few annuals, veggies, and herbs. Of course, our 1 acre property is Boxwood World, too!

For me, outdoor design is:

Essential for telling a story, making things exciting for visitors, and a huge part of entertaining in Lexington, KY.

My biggest outdoor fiasco involved:

Oh, there have been so many, but the one that still sticks out was telling my Argentine crew who didn’t speak English very well, to put out grass seed (it had been coated with a colored fertilizer) on all the grassy areas and they misunderstood and thought it was granular fertilizer and put it in every border and bed… arghhhhhhhhhhh. Pulled that out for years!

My favorite memory of being outdoors is:

Usually the day I’ve spent and think about it before going to sleep at night.

Sunglasses, floppy hot, SPF—or all three?

All three for sure!

You won a free ticket to any outdoor destination, you pick:

England to see gardens.

The ideal weather forecast is:

Light misty rain when the garden is gorgeous and the plants are happiest.

Every outdoor space should have:

A vista, a seat of some sort to sit and look at the garden, a couple of dogs that are garden friendly and don’t destroy things, some sort of art piece that could be a found object or created by someone, and some structure to get out of the sun.

My favorite outdoor activity is:

Playing with the dogs and walking through an interesting garden.

What I love most about entertaining outdoors is:

Making folks excited about being outdoors. There are lots of people who don’t spend any time outside and they do when they come to my garden.

Who would you invite to your dream alfresco dinner party?

My closest friends, and that happens quite often during the year around our pool. Lots of laughter, cocktails, delicious food, and great views of the garden.

Every good outdoor gathering has:

Amazing cocktails.

Everything is ___________ outdoors.


To read more “On the Porch” interviews visit Traditional Home’s website

Hosts with the most: Lexington duo honored for parties with purpose | Lexington Herald-Leader | March 2018

  • March 27, 2018

Who throws a good party? Heidi Klum, Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber, Solange Knowles, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah — and Jon Carloftis.

For the second year in a row, the Lexington garden designer has been named to “The Salonniere” 100 for his expertise in hosting parties with a purpose. As the website puts it, “the Salonniere 100 honorees are America’s most gifted and influential cultural connectors.”

It’s a pretty tony crowd, selected after “six months of querying more than 1,000 in-the-know social authorities, including journalists, philanthropists, not-for-profit fundraisers, social luminaries, event planners, and cultural and business leaders from coast to coast,” the site states.

The Salonniere (“sal-on-yair”) is the nation’s leading website dedicated to the art of entertaining. The award-winning site is named for the women in 17th- and 18th-century France whose influential parties — called salons — proved the power of thoughtful social gatherings, the website states.

Other Kentuckians on the list: Priscilla Barnstable and Patricia Barnstable-Brown, famous for their annual Kentucky Derby Eve gala, and Tammy York Day and Tonya York Dees, Louisville executives and sisters who also host Derby parties.

“Did you see the people on there? Lord, have mercy,” Carloftis said.

Carloftis and his partner Dale Fisher, who own Botherum in downtown Lexington as well as a home in Bucks County, Pa., and another in Rockcastle County, were selected for their entertaining style.

“I plan everything to the last inch days ahead. I make sure that every surface inside and outside the house is pleasing and interesting and that the food and drinks are all set to go. Of course when our guests arrive, I make it seem as though everything has happened by chance, at the last moment, and then I take them on a magic carpet ride for the night,” Carloftis told the magazine.

Another key: what they do with their social capital.

Carloftis and Fisher bought the historic home six years ago and, after a year of renovation, opened it to events.

“This is not a public place, but we have opened it up to so many groups … and we’ve raised over $2 million for people with Botherum,” Carloftis said.

Here’s how much in demand they are: They put a Botherum party up for auction at the annual Lexington Cancer Foundation Wine Auction, a benefit at Donamire Farm.

“The first year it went for $35,000 and the second for $155,000,” Carloftis said.

“We did one last year for the Heart Ball, organized a trip that started here, visited a client — the Bruckheimers — then a tour of Maker’s Mark and lunch with the Samuelses. That went for $25,000.”

But Carloftis said their philanthropic entertaining will have to slow down a bit because he’s got several major projects coming to fruition, including the opening of the new Lux Row distillery in Bardstown, which he landscaped. And the Bulleit Distillery in Shelbyville that he is landscaping. And the Castle & Key Distillery in Woodford County … and the Maker’s Mark Distillery outside Bardstown … and on and on.

“Daddy’s got to work,” he said.

Often, they throw parties for garden and bourbon tourists, which increasingly overlap (see above.)

“We’ve got the best gig in the world,” Carloftis said. “We get paid to go speak at all these flower shows, antique shows and museums, mainly in the southeast … and in the middle of our talk, we say, ‘Hey, where are you going on your annual field trip? … Why don’t you come to Kentucky, and we will plan your trip out for free, get you into places not open to the public?’”

He said they work with Mary Quinn Ramer of VisitLex, restaurant owners such as Debbie Long of Dudley’s on Short to do a dinner and then tap their distillery and horse farm connections.

“We had the Tuckahoe Women’s Club from Richmond, Virginia, come, and in three days, they spent over $50,000 in local economy,” Carloftis said. A busload from the club enjoyed a private room at Keeneland’s clubhouse for a day at the races, visited a beautiful horse farm, saw lovely gardens big and small.

“We do a cocktail party here for them … we have the music on, the candles are lit and we entertain them in the garden, and it’s a trip they never will forget,” he said.

“So now we’ve got two buses coming this fall.”

Want to throw a party like Jon Carloftis?

Here are his tips:

  • “You’re going to have to do some planning.”
  • “If you can’t do the food, have someone do the food. Hire someone to help you.”
  • “You need a bartender. You can’t do it all.”
  • “Make it comfortable; if you’re not feeling confident about it, your guests are not going to have a good time.”
  • “Make it casual, no matter what. The worst thing is to feel stuffy or feel bad. I want people to feel good.”


Photo: Tony Vu As featured in One Kings Lane

Read more here:

We’ve been selected as an honoree for the 2018 Salonniere 100!

  • March 21, 2018

The Salonniere 100 recognizes America’s 100 best party hosts—those who entertain with unparalleled flair

Time to celebrate! (and you know we do it right…)

We consider being named to this list a great achievement. The nationwide selection process takes more than six months and involves querying social authorities and local in-the-know experts, including journalists, philanthropists, not-for-profit fundraisers, social luminaries, event planners, and cultural and business leaders.

As they put it…

“From the dawn of humankind to the days of the 17th- and 18th-century French salonnieres to today, social gatherings have always played a pivotal role in society. Those on the Salonniere 100 are our nation’s most vital connectors, and their contributions to our communities are invaluable. They are leading the way in furthering the tradition of hosting parties with a purpose, parties that connect people, advance ideas, and bring joy and inspiration to others.”

View the full list here:



5 Great Ways To Improve Your Outdoor Space | Chevy Chaser Magazine | March 2018

  • March 20, 2018

While lush with plantings during warm weather months, the garden at Botherum – the historic Lexington home of landscape designer Jon Carloftis, pictured here –illustrates lots of other ways to enhance an outdoor living space, from paths and walkways to sculptures, container gardens, seating areas and more.

March tends to be that month where we Kentuckians start to get the first real teasings of springtime: Green buds are popping up in the dirt, temperatures are slowly rising, garden centers are reopening. But still being a couple months away from the last danger of frost, it really is just that – a tease – for gardeners who are anxious to whip their yards into shape.

Rest assured, it’s a great time of year to get started on plenty of projects, large and small. We’ve tapped five local experts to help provide tips, guidance and inspiration for great ways to ready your outdoor living spaces – all of which don’t involve digging in the dirt.

Install a fountain or other water feature

Cast stone fountains, such as these from Campania International, can be a great option for those looking for more a significant visual and aural statement.

Incorporating the soothing sights and sounds of running water in your yard can be as simple as setting up a pot fountain. Kits are available to purchase at many garden centers.

Water features can be a great way to create movement, sound and structure into a space, especially when a focal point is needed.

“Not only do fountains provide great visual interest, they also provide that soothing sound to create a true garden experience,” said Wes King, owner of King’s Garden Center. “Fountains are often used to make a conversation piece on a table, draw people’s attention to a certain area, create movement in an otherwise dull area or dress up the ‘concrete jungle.’”

Options for bringing water to your backyard range from something simple like a tabletop water feature to a cast stone fountain or an in-ground pondless waterfall – and all have their pros and cons, King said.

Three things to consider when choosing a water feature are function, location and price point, said King.  Below, he has helped provide more detailed things to consider on each of these aspects.

Functionality. “What do you want your water feature to accomplish?” is one of the first questions to ask yourself when considering adding a water feature to your yard or garden. If you’re looking for something to just provide the soothing sound of water, a simple tabletop fountain might do the trick…

To read more, visit or click on the thumbnails to view full article.

Photo by Caroline Allison, for Garden & Gun

Story by Saraya Brewer, with expert advice provided from: Kyle Adamson (Red Oak Outdoor Lighting), Wes King (King’s Garden Center)Scott Pfeiffer (Scott Pfeiffer and Co.), Wendy McAlister (Nature’s Expressions)Jon Carloftis (Jon Carloftis Fine Gardens)

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