Kentucky Governor’s Mansion

Sold out!

Kentucky Governor’s Mansion

Since 1914, the Kentucky Governor’s Mansion has served as the residence to twenty five of Kentucky’s leaders, including the current Governor and First Lady. The Mansion was designed in the grand and monumental Beaux Arts architectural style. The exterior design is modeled after the Petit Trianon, Queen Marie Antoinette’s villa on the grounds of the palace of Versailles in France. The mansion is situated on the east lawn of the beautiful State Capitol grounds on a bluff high above the Kentucky River in Frankfort and is surrounded by beautiful gardens of different varieties of blooming plants and shrubs.

On Saturday, June 20th, enjoy incredible food, fantastic flowers and meander through the Governor’s Mansion & gardens at this Proven Winners LIFE+STYLE event hosted by Jon Carloftis Fine Gardens. The day-long event showcases one of the most beautiful executive residence gardens in the south. Throughout the day you will hear world-class speakers sharing ideas about how you can make your own garden more enjoyable, your entertaining more jaw-dropping and your meals more amazing. Those participating in this event will also have an option to join us the preceding evening, June 19th, in a cocktail reception featuring Maker’s Mark bourbon as well as tour the recently restored home & gardens at historic Botherum in Lexington.

Friday, June 19 ~ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
~ 341 Madison Place Lexington, KY
Private Cocktail Party for attendees of the LIFE + STYLE presentations

Price: $50.00 per person


  • Tour of Proven Winners Southern Test Garden.
  • Cocktail Party.
  • Chris Comer Trio…jazz extraordinaire!

Cocktail Parties additional $50.00 per event.

Saturday, June 20 ~ 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
Kentucky Governor’s Mansion ~ Frankfort, KY
Summer Solstice Garden Celebration
LIFE + STYLE presentations

Price: $100.00 per person
Table of Eight ~ $720.00 (10% savings)


  • Breakfast ~ prepared by Governor’s Mansion Chefs.
  • Inspiring lifestyle presentations.
  • Lunch ~ prepared by Governor’s Mansion Chefs.
  • Incredible swag bag!


Jon Carloftis

Jon Carloftis Fine Gardens

Garden Topics:

Proven Winners Favorites

Kentucky native, Jon Carloftis, award-winning garden designer, garden writer, television guest, author, and lecturer, is a great American gardener. His career in gardening began in 1988, far from home in New York City where he became one of America’s pioneers and leading authorities in rooftop/small space gardening. 

Jon grew up on the banks of the Rockcastle River in South Central Kentucky, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It was there he began a love affair with nature. Jon is the owner of the Rockcastle River Trading Company, a popular home and garden store located on his family’s property in Livingston, Kentucky.  The beautiful gardens, designed by Jon, that surround the Carloftis home and store have been featured in Story, Sophisticated Living, BMW Magazine, Country Home, Garden & Gun, Outdoor Rooms, and Southern Living.

Be sure to check out the article on historic Botherum in the April 2015 issue of Southern Living!

Lucille Carloftis

Rockcastle River Trading Company

Garden Topics:

Southern Style

In 1955, Lucille and her husband Carlo had a dream which led them to build a popular roadside attraction complete with horses (real and mechanical), an outdoor theater, boat rides on the river, musical performances, a museum, a train from Cherokee Park in Louisville, log cabins and much more to entertain travelers just off U.S. 25. Nestled on the Rockcastle River, surrounded by thick woods and rolling hills, the couple’s frontier town was highlighted by American Indians living on the property and creating authentic, handmade crafts to sell in a roadside store.

The Carloftis family homestead is now marked by impeccable gardens and crowned with the family’s 40-year-old home that was built to look like a 1600s colonial manor. An antique post office, a one-room schoolhouse and several other outbuildings sit on the property, surrounded by beautiful gardens designed by Jon Carloftis. Lucille will charm you with their story and how they promote tourism to other wonderful places in the state, keeping visitors longer and wanting to come back for more. She is a business woman but also an ambassador to Kentucky.

Val Schirmer and Elizabeth Montgomery

Three Toads Farm

Garden Topics:

Garden to Vase

A little Kentucky bourbon is most likely the force behind every great big, totally far-fetched idea. That’s what happened in 1997 when Val Schirmer made a pact with family friend, Charlie Hendricks, to start a tiny business growing flowers. But not just any flowers. The pair had the crazy idea they wanted to grow the kind of flowers that could literally stop people in their tracks. Big awesome blooms. “Let’s grow what others don’t know about, won’t try or can’t grow.”

Over a few bourbon-infused toasts on that summer evening on the Schirmer’s front porch, Three Toads Farm — which Martha Stewart Weddings has just named one of the top 10 farmer-florists in the country — was born and the pair learned through trial and error over the next several years to grow the biggest, boldest Oriental lilies that most people have ever seen.

As part of the local flower renaissance taking place around the world, Three Toads Farm specializes in growing uncommon and heirloom flowers (along with their signature lilies) as well as fresh-from-the-garden fine floral wedding and event design, thanks to Hendricks’ daughter, Elizabeth Montgomery, who interned as a Toad when she was 11.

At the Governor’s Mansion, Val and Elizabeth will share with us their favorite flowers, vines and foliages for the garden and vase, then show us how to use them in stunning farmer-florist style arrangements!

Daniel and Charlotte Ward

Longshadow Garden Ornaments

20 years ago Charlotte 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 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.

Wes King

King's Gardens

Garden Topics:

Proven Winners in Kentucky Gardens

Wes King is the General Manager of King’s Gardens in Lexington, KY. King’s Gardens is the premier garden center in Central Kentucky, serving its community as a full service Garden Center/Nursery for 25 years. King’s Gardens has consistently placed among the Top 100 Garden Centers in the nation. Wes also sits on the Board of Directors for the Kentucky Nursery and Landscape Association. Wes is a 2012 graduate from the University of Kentucky.

Joanna Kirby

Garden Club of Kentucky, President

Garden Topics:

Monarch Waystation/Butterfly Gardens

Joanna has 30 plus years of experience working, studying and promoting horticulture as a necessary part of everyday life. She is a Master Gardener as well as a Landscape Design Consultant for the National Garden Club, Incorporated. She is a Board Member for the National Garden Club, Incorporated and is a Life Member of The Garden Club of Kentucky, Incorporated, the South Atlantic Regional Garden Clubs and the National Garden Club, Incorporated.

She is a respected industry expert in Monarch Waystations and has adopted the protection of the monarch butterfly as her Presidential project. Joanna has initiated a partnership between The Garden Club of Kentucky and the Kentucky State Parks System to establish Monarch Waystations at many of the 49 state parks. Due to this statewide effort, the number of certified Monarch Waystations in the state of Kentucky has increased from 36, in the Spring of 2013, to over 160 today!

Joanna is a cut flower grower who lives on her husband’s family farm in Garrard County where they are working to re-establish native plants and pollinator species. Joanna has also established a Monarch Waystation in her garden, which has been certified by Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas.


Buffy Hargett Miller

Buffy Hargett Studios

Garden Topics:

Garden Design

Join Buffy Hargett Miller…Birmingham based floral designer, and stylist for Southern Living Magazine as she shares 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.

Marshall Dirks

Proven Winners

Garden Topics:

Great New Plants for 2015 ~ How a Plant Becomes a Proven Winners

Marshall Dirks will bring his enthusiasm, humor and 20+ years of experience with Proven Winners products to “center stage” at the Keeneland LIFE + STYLE event.  As the second employee hired by Proven Winners, he is technically in charge of marketing and public relations. All the plant geeks who surround him are turning him into a passionate gardener!



If any of your questions cannot be answered here, don’t hesitate to contact Proven Winners via the contact form below.

You may also contact us at:

Phone: 815-899-1973


When and Where will the LIFE + STYLE Event be held?

Friday venue:

June 19
Private Cocktail Party
Historic Botherum
Lexington, KY

Saturday venue:

June 20
Kentucky Governor’s Mansion
704 Capitol Avenue
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

What is the cost of the LIFE + STYLE Events?

Day Event: $125.00 per person

Table of Eight: $900.00 (10% savings)


How do I register for the LIFE + STYLE Events?

You can register online at Proven Winners or by calling 815-899-1973.

Will I receive a ticket for the LIFE + STYLE Event?

No, tickets are not mailed. You will receive an email confirmation once you have completed registration.

A name tag will be waiting for you when you provide your name at the door!

What if I register and for some reason can’t come?

Your registration is transferable.

To transfer your seat to another guest, please call the Proven Winners office at 815-899-1973 and we will be happy to change the name on the registration.


Recommended Hotel Accommodations

Double Tree Suites
2601 Richmond Road
Lexington, KY 40508

Hyatt Regency
401 W High Street
Lexington, KY 40507

369 West Vine Street
Lexington, KY 40507

Campbell House
1375 S Broadway
Lexington, KY 40504

Gratz Park Inn
120 West Second Street
Lexington, KY 40507

What is the dress attire?

Smart casual.
Comfortable shoes are recommended.

Are there options for my dietary requirements?

A vegetarian meal option is available. You can make that choice when you register at Proven Winners.

Will there be special accommodations for those with physical limitations?

All locations are handicapped accessible.


Looking For More to do in Lexington?


Historic Botherum directions.

Kentucky Governor’s Mansion directions.