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Rockcastle River Trading Company

Old Wilderness Road
Livingston, KY 40445
(606) 843-0854
Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Explore the Beauty of The Rockcastle River Trading Company - Livingston, KY

Nestled along the banks of the Rockcastle River and surrounded by the Daniel Boone National Forest is one of Kentucky's best-kept secrets - The Rockcastle River Trading Company. It is owned by one of its own native sons, Jon Carloftis, who many know as the ingenious rooftop garden designer of New York City and his gracious mother, Lucille. While some might call this unique enterprise a shoppe, it is in truth much more.

The Rockcastle River Trading Company is located in the countryside on a rolling plot of 50 acres that is in actuality the lands of the Carloftis family homestead. Southern Living magazine notes “The Rockcastle River Trading Company is definitely worth the stop for any traveler visiting the state of Kentucky. Look for this unique stop off the interstate (I-75) just south of Lexington. Rockcastle River Trading Company invites you to take a break to stop and wonder its gorgeous grounds ... its beautifully landscaped gardens are a touch of Eden."

Livingston native Jon Carloftis is an honest-to-goodness gardening celebrity. He’s designed rooftop gardens for famous New York City clients like actress Julianne Moore, actor Edward Norton, and director M. Night Shyamalan. He’s made appearances on HGTV, Good Morning America, and Martha Stewart Living, and his gardens have graced the pages of dozens of national magazines, from Better Homes and Gardens and Metropolitan Home to Country Gardens and House Beautiful

A regular top-draw on the national garden lecture circuit and author of First a Garden, Beyond the Windowsill, and Beautiful Gardens of Kentucky, Carloftis, 41, has made a career of knowing just what to do to make any garden look fabulous. What really inspires him is “coming up with gardening ideas that everyone can do, not just the ultra-ultra privileged,” he says. And he thanks his “good ole Kentucky background” - which he promotes every chance he can - for that.

For Carloftis, giving back to Kentucky is a way to pay tribute to his family and the source of his lifelong love of nature: growing up along the banks of the Rockcastle River. There, his parents, Carlo and Lucille Carloftis,
ran Fort Sequoyah, a summer theater and tourist attraction in operation from 1955 through the late 1980s. “It was just an incredible life. Okay, so we were so far out in the country, we didn’t have TV. But who needed it?” he says. Regular walks with his dad two miles through the woods to check the family’s freshwater spring were his early textbooks into the beauty of all types of plants and trees.

And it’s a foundation that’s served him well. His career jump-started in 1988 when, fresh out of classes at the University of Kentucky, he went to New York and handed out business cards that said “Jon Carloftis, Rooftop Garden Designer” - despite the fact that he’d never yet stepped foot in one. All it took was one client to give him a chance, and he’s had as much business as he can handle —strictly through word-of-mouth referrals - ever since.

“ We are lucky to have a portion of the Wilderness Road right behind our home, along with a historical marker telling of its history.  Our decision to clear out invasive species and replant with Proven Winners native, yet sterile shrubs is exciting for it makes this native stretch more beautiful, more enjoyable for all who come to visit.  We are thrilled to be selected as the first Proven Winners Botanical Trail in the United States."  Jon Carloftis







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