White House Wednesdays

Today’s White House floral designer Laura Dowling was just recently acclaimed in this month’s Veranda (January-February 2012 issue) stating that her “lush and irreverent arrangements capture the wild romance of the garden”.  Her arrangements have been called more relaxed, natural and modern. Dowling studied the art of arrangement in Paris and operated her own shop, Interieurs et Fleurs, in the D.C. area. You can see more of the White House’s chief floral designer from her website and blog http://www.lauradowling.com/.  The White House chief floral designer has a difficult job, as this individual is responsible for the planning, design, arrangement and placement of all floral decorations for the First Family, their private entertaining, and official state functions at the White House, the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States.

Here you can see one of her floral arrangements, for the State Visit honoring Mexico, which sat in a hallway in the Residence of the White House, May 19, 2010.

A contractor works on floral arrangements for the State Dinner honoring President Felipe Calderón of Mexico and his wife, Mrs. Margarita Zavala, in the East Tradesman Entrance of the White House, May 19, 2010

White House Chief Floral Designer Laura Dowling arranges a bouquet in the Vermeil Room of the White House, Dec. 1, 2010.

Guests attend the State Dinner honoring President Hu Jintao of China in State Dining Room of the White House, Jan. 19, 2011.

Over the weekend the White House and all of it’s current and past occupants were saddened to hear the news of the passing of former White House chief florist Nancy Clarke.   Nancy Clarke’s floral designs graced the rooms of the Executive Mansion for 31 years, from the Carter to the Obama Administration.

In 1978, Nancy Clarke became a volunteer floral designer working side-by-side with the permanent staff to decorate the Executive Residence.  At the beginning of the Reagan Administration, in 1981, she became a full-time member of the White House Flower Shop staff under White House chief florist Dottie Temple .  In 1985, at the beginning the second term of President Reagan, following the retirement of Temple, she was hired as the White House Chief Floral Designer, a position she held until retiring on May 31, 2009.  For thirty-one years, she designed everything from simple bud vases to elaborate and formal State Dinners, coordinated and created all decor from the Christmas celebrations to the annual Easter Egg Roll. Nancy and all of her talent will be very missed – our hearts and prayers go out to her and her family.

Nancy Clarke did the flowers for this dinner in February of 2009, before she left the White House.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.