Floral Diplomacy: At the White House
- Stunning floral creations from the Chief Floral Designer at The White House
Laura Dowling served as Chief Floral Designer at the White House form 2009 until 2015. In this unique position, she managed décor and flowers for thousands of White House events while using flowers as a strategic tool for communicating diplomatic, symbolic and policy messages. She is renowned for creating a new romantic style of flower arranging featuring free-flowing lines of vines and flowers emanating from a classical bouquet. This style is most evocative of nature and the garden, and balances a strong artistic vision with the wildness of nature. Under her leadership, Laura implemented floral artistry at the White House, designing bouquets of seasonal garden flowers in a style that is both modern and refined, yet casually elegant. She often presents her innovative arrangements in hand-made organic containers composed of leaves, branches and berries that are woven into patterns and motifs, creating integrated, cohesive displays that conjure both nature and the garden. Here, she describes her inspiration, provides tips and techniques on flower arranging and entertaining, and offers readers a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into both official and private White House life.
Dowling had opened her own flower design studio specializing in French-style bouquets in 2002, after a career in government and public policy. She left the White House job in 2015, setting off a flurry of speculation. ‘I was brought in to make change, and I did,' Dowling says. ‘It was time to start thinking about what I would do next.' What that has been is lecturing, teaching classes and writing a book, ‘Floral Diplomacy at the White House.' (Washington Post)
Ms. Dowling, 57, was walking around the flower district in New York on the first day of spring, discussing her new book, ‘Floral Diplomacy at the White House,' which contains a number of juicy details about decorating drama at her former place of employment, along with anecdotes about flower arrangements and craft projects. (Katherine Roseman The New York Times, April 6, 2017)
About the Author
Laura Dowling is an award-winning florist and designer. She is the recipient of the American Horticultural Society's “Great American Gardener Award” for achievements and contributions in floristry and is a featured speaker at leading flower shows, museums and cultural institutions across the country. In 2016, she received the “Distinguished Flower Ambassador” award from the Royal Horticultural Society of Belgium at a ceremony honoring international floral diplomacy in Ghent, Belgium.
A native of Chehalis, Washington, Laura received her B.A. degree in political science and Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Washington in Seattle. Fifteen years ago, Laura was inspired to change careers (from strategic communications to flowers) after traveling to Paris and becoming intrigued with French flower design. She studied French floral art under the direction of leading Parisian designers and operated a small studio out of her basement kitchen. From this position, Laura competed in the nation-wide search for White House Chief Floral Designer and won, proof that identifying and following a passion can lead to extraordinary things. By expanding her floral design and consulting platform to include writing books and teaching, Laura's goal is to continue to share a unique vision for creative floristry in the garden style and to inspire others with her story.