Carloftis speaking to Master Gardeners

Special to The State Journal Published:

SHELBYVILLE Landscape designer and lecturer Jon Carloftis will be the featured speaker in a program sponsored by the Shelby County Master Gardeners and the Four Seasons Garden Club at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25. The presentation, open to the public, will take place at the Shelby County Extension Service Center, 1117 Frankfort Rd., Shelbyville

The Master Gardeners and the Garden Club members, in keeping with their missions, offer this educational program, featuring this special Kentuckian. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, which may be purchased at the Extension Office or by mail. The contact person is Dana at 502-633-4593.

In his most recent book, First a Garden, Carloftis combines his words with scores of photos by Helen Norman to express his love of gardens and demonstrates how rural Kentucky's natural beauty continues to influence his award-winning work.

Carloftis has designed gardens large and small for clients throughout the U.S. The HGTV cable channel and popular landscaping magazines have featured his work, which has received recognition from The Museum of the City of New York.

In 2005, he gave 22 presentations to various civic and private groups throughout Kentucky.

He will be featured in the March 2006 issue of Martha Stewart Living. Later his work will appear in Kentucky Living, Garden Rooms, Water Gardens, and Vegetable Garden Made Easy. Jon is a contributing editor of Garden Design Magazine, and a regional writer for Country Gardens. His designs also have been featured in House Beautiful, Country Home, Interior, The New York Times and Country Living Gardener.

He has made television appearances on The Style Channel; The Home and Garden Channel, in which two of four designs in a show called "The Secret Gardens of New York" were Jon's; and ABC's Good Morning, America, where two of his gardens were featured.

Carloftis is a Rockcastle County native and a graduate of the University of Kentucky. Secrets of a Kentucky Gardener, his first book, provides easy-to-follow advice for Kentucky gardeners.

He lives in an 1850s farmhouse in Bucks County, Pa. (which he calls his "Kentucky home away from home") and commutes daily to New York City, where he continues to design rooftop and terrace gardens.

He frequently returns to Rockcastle County, where he and his mother, Lucille, have turned the 50-acre family homestead into a thriving home and garden accessories business, the Rockcastle River Trading Company.

Carloftis was born in 1964, the youngest son of Carlo and Lucille Carloftis who moved in 1955 from a comfortable home in Pineville to the rugged but pristine hills of Livingston, in Rockcastle County. It was here they built a family store, staged "Wild West" Indian shows and offered paddle wheel rides on the river. It was here that Jon Carloftis formed ideas that led to his successful garden design firm in New York City.

Jon attended elementary school in Livingston and graduated from Laurel County High School in nearby London. He then attended the University of Kentucky, graduating in 1986 with a B.A. degree in communication. But he knew he was not meant to work behind a desk under florescent light.

"I decided I wanted to do professionally what my hobby was . . . growing things and being outdoors." He returned to the University of Kentucky and studied horticulture, landscape architecture and art history. Shortly after that, in 1988, he moved to New York to begin his successful landscaping business.

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