By JORDAN BURKE
A garden from the artistic mind of nationally renowned garden designer Jon Carloftis will replace the existing Martin Tennis Courts to enhance the natural aesthetic of The Campus Beautiful.
New tennis courts will be constructed next to the existing indoor tennis complex across the Bypass.
Carloftis, a Kentucky native, grew up in Rockcastle County. While he attended the University of Kentucky and received a bachelor’s degree in communications, his brother Dusty Carloftis was studying at Eastern. So he was familiar with the campus when President Benson and his wife approached him with their “big dreams.”
Carloftis’ 25-year-old garden business bearing his name began when he moved to New York City in 1988. Over the years, Carloftis worked with many notable clients such as Mike Myers, Julianne Moore and Jerry Bruckheimer. Local clients Carloftis has worked with include the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Clermont, Belgravia Court in Old Louisville and the Kentucky Governor’s Mansion in Frankfort.
Carloftis has also been featured in publications such as Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Living and Metropolitan Home. His television appearances include HGTV’s The Home and Garden, Martha Stewart, Good Morning America and several others.
Carloftis said he loved that “you never knew if you were on campus or not” at Eastern. His garden will contribute to this because it will soon be next to the new campus entrance.
This will not be the first time Carloftis has designed a garden for a college campus. Several years ago he restored a garden at University of the Cumberlands and he also designed the University of Kentucky’s Arboretum.
The campus community can expect to see trees and shrubs native to Eastern Kentucky in the garden. There will also be a fountain and limestone urns. Carloftis said people would be able to “walk down in it and come to exercise around it.” More importantly it will be a “place of beauty,” Carloftis said.
Carloftis also said he hopes the garden will be “a place people come to take pictures,” because social media is such an important part of today’s society.
The completion date of the garden has not been made because they are waiting on the demolition of the old tennis courts, but it is expected to be finished within the next year.