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Botanicals, Beauty and Bourbon – Buffalo Trace Distillery

The botanical garden was inspired by Colonel Albert B. Blanton’s love of plants and the natural world.  Blanton lived at the Stony Point property of Buffalo Trace while devoting his career to producing fine whiskey and preserving the Buffalo Trace Distillery.  The design process was very interesting and full of history.  As part of the process, I had the honor of meeting and interviewing Elmer T. Lee, who introduced single barrel bourbon in 1984, along with Maxine Wiley, Blanton’s secretary.   Both reminisced about the grounds and how spectacular the flowers were during those times.  The design entailed the entire Stony Point Buffalo Trace property and the first phase installation included all hardscapes and gardens in the rose and mum garden, a rock garden, a shade garden under a historic beech tree, and several single tree plantings along the drive.

Blanton’s rose and mum garden stone terraces were still intact, along with the remains of a water feature.   Several David Austin variety roses, mums, and rose companion plants (lavender, foxglove, daisies, and more old fashioned plants) were used  as well as the existing row of boxwood.  The colors of Buffalo Trace Distillery are rust orange, and all plantings are yellow, orange, and red with some purple to cool it down.  New paver paths with circle details replaced the old stone paths and large scale cedar arbors were added to the rose and mum garden for visitors.  The old water feature was carefully excavated and brought back to life with the existing limestone boulders which had beautiful water markings.  Additional paths and limestone slab steps in the rock garden were painstakingly added in consideration of working around the existing terrain and boulders which were to remain.  In the rock garden section, several native cultivars and unique species are planted, and all are labeled.  As with most projects, drainage was an issue, so a medium sized rain garden was installed to capture the runoff from the long blacktop driveway.

This project also includes several more phases designed by IOD and installed by the Buffalo Trace team.

Our latest Buffalo Trace design and installation took place at the Eagle Rare offices. It included conceptual design of the parking lot, walkways, and road (brought to life by engineers) and includes over 50 species of trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses. We also hydroseeded the massive work area after completion. Many plant sizes were largest available to us for an immediate effect when viewing from Wilkinson Street! Usually we want to highlight architecture, here the owner wanted the building to be hidden from view. Mission accomplished!

Stony Point Completed Late Winter/Early Spring 2012

Eagle Rare Completed Spring 2019

Frankfort, KY

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