FRANKFORT, Ky. — In Frankfort, many know the history of Buffalo Trace and its roots in bourbon distilling. What is not as well-know is that the distillery grounds are actually an accredited arboretum with over 100 species of woody plants.

What You Need To Know

  • Buffalo Trace offers guided tours of its garden every Tuesday seasonally 

  • Buffalo Trace is a registered, level two arboretum by Arbnet 

  • Former distillery president Albert B. Blanton is credited as improving the campus's aesthetics 

Most days, you can find Dennis Walsh working his job at Buffalo Trace Distillery. No, he’s not a distiller or bottler, but he’s in charge of maintaining the grounds and is an experienced horticulturist.

“It’s not a job, it’s a passion,” Walsh said.

Walsh cultivated that passion at the Ohio State University and began his career at Walt Disney World. It’s something that grew on him from a young age.

“I grew up in the Cleveland area and I always worked outside. I was the one kid that would always help my dad out in the yard. I was always interested in plants,” Walsh said.

While many tour the rick houses, bottling line and barrel warehouses, Buffalo Trace also offers a guided tour of its gardens every Tuesday seasonally. The garden is an accredited level 2 arboretum with over 1800 species of plants.

“We keep adding to that collection so really what that gives you is diversity to have something going on at all times of year,” Walsh said.

During the summer, the garden is bursting with color, as its day lilies are in full bloom. One of the species was named by Walsh and his crew, and is called the “Buffalo Trace Day Lily.”

“Our collection goes throughout the campus. Our clubhouse grounds are beautiful, it has a water feature down there,” Walsh shared. “The gardens have expanded out from this Stony Point and the Blanton Botanical Garden and throughout the ground you’ll see a lot of these unique selections.”

One of the distillery’s former presidents, Albert Blanton, led the distillery through prohibition and is credited as being responsible for much of the aesthetic growth.

“He was into the aesthetics. Like I said, he was a gardener, so you could see that in the clubhouse, the cabin, they were built during his expansion period,” Walsh said.

It’s a legacy that, much like bourbon, gets better with time.

For guided tours of Buffalo Trace, it is best to schedule ahead of time on their website. However, Walsh says the grounds including the garden are available to the public to walk through during their normal business hours.