Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Laura Dowling, New White House Florist

The White House has a new head florist, Laura Dowling, who has been at work since last week, according to the First Lady's Office, although there has not yet been an official announcement. Dowling "accidentally" outed herself as the new White House rose wrangler this weekend by posting a Facebook update, according to ABC news. Dowling wrote "Laura Dowling is excited and honored to be named the White House florist," and reporters got wind of it. (Above: One of Dowling's creations)

Dowling is taking over from florist Nancy Clarke, who retired earlier this year after three decades at the White House (there are a lot of those three and four decaders at the White House). Until arriving at the White House, Dowling operated from her Alexandria, VA-based studio Interieurs et Fleurs, which had a special focus on French-inflected country floral designs; her bio notes that she regularly travels to Paris to study with top floral designers. She's been featured in local magazines, TV, and HGTV.

And yes, while Dowling is not officially kitchen-related, her designs will be surrounding all future food dishes at White House events, which is why you're reading this post (and the video clip below is entirely food centric; Dowling creates a series of bouquets with "locally grown" produce). Dowling's first official work at the White House will be on display when President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host a State Dinner for India on November 24. Interestingly, while Dowling's FB is now locked, her website is still live as of this writing.

White House policy is usually to shut down electronic 'footprints' before announcing or confirming the news of new staff or appointments.