Laura Dowling Brings French Flower Style To The Obama White House

Thomas Jefferson would approve of Laura Dowling’s appointment as the new White House florist. He might engage in a bit of finger wagging when Dowling jumped the gun, sharing her good news on Facebook with 64 friends which included the D.C. network.

The White House scrambled to say “yes indeed, Laura Dowling began quietly working at the mansion last week. Apparently, the Parisian trained Alexandria florist was the front-runner for the prestigious position, after trying out with two other designers. 

Paris will not be the focus of Dowling’s first big gig. Rather, food, flowers and guest list will be India-inspired for a state dinner honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Nov. 24. On a technicality, the event will be called a “state dinner”, even though the largely-symbolic title of president of India belongs to Pratibha Devisingh Patil.

Last April, Laura Dowling shared her thoughts on floral arrangements, as part of Earth Day. In fact, she suggested that with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Earth Day organic gardening gig, entertaining on Earth Day takes on new relevancy.

 Laura Dowling sets an Earth Day table with exquisite flowersEach year on April 22, Earth Day compels us to focus on the beauty of nature and our role in protecting it, bringing the principles of green living to life. These concepts, including reducing consumption, recycling, and re-using and re-purposing everyday items, are important guidelines for leading a more eco-friendly lifestyle, and confirm the fact that environmentalism is a compilation of smart choices we make each day. On Earth Day we have an ideal opportunity to share our environmental commitment with friends and family and to promote the message that we can all make a contribution, conserving precious natural resources and forming vital partnerships to ensure the health and well-being of people and the places in which they live.

Personally, I have always adored French flower arrangements and have visions of a Michelle Obama/Laura Dowling French natural style coffee table book, proceeds to charity of course.

In speaking to Earth Day last spring, Dowling advised readers to:

- Choose an earth-friendly theme — such as a garden-style party, a woodlands fête, or a seaside soiree.

- Celebrate your event outdoors. That’s a challenge in the New York but we will adapt.

- Select a color scheme that incorporates earthy shades of green and brown. Punctuate with bright colors of early spring.  This is not the strategy in the photos, where monotone pales are gorgeous. We forgive.

- Choose linens made of natural fibers, avoiding plastic or disposable items that crate waste.

- Fine vintage items at the flea market or thrift store for sustainable reuse.

- Make your own centerpieces and decorations using locally grown, sustainable materials, including a wtreath made out of vegetables, an herbal topiary tree, or green bouquets set in natural containers of leaves, moss and twigs.

In French floral design, the container is key to Laura Dowling’s designs.A key elements of French floral decorating is making the container a key part of the arrangement.

We LOVE the selection of Laura Dowling and the French floral influence that she will bring to the White House. When one is asked the desert island question … if you could only take five elements in your life with you to the desert island, exotic flowers are always on my list.

Enjoy Laura Dowling’s blog. No word yet on whether it will continue. Anne