Big White House Flower Story



Michelle Obama's Favorite Flowers for Arrangements 

This story is packed with juicy nuggets for us gardeners:

  • The floral preferences of the Obamas.
  • White House Floral Designer Laura Dowling's "garden" style.  It's more relaxed, with lots of unexpected touches.
  • The exciting Top Florist-type competition for the job.
  • The role of flowers in the lives of everyone living in and visiting the White House.  Like the "transition of flowers" on Inauguration Day, and a floral gift of friendship to Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. 
  • How floral design at the White House has changed over the years.
  • Dowling's bio, including years in Paris and a high-powered Capitol Hill husband.

Garden designers and gardeners alike are happily predicting a similar transformation in the gardens around the White House – because it's high time. Click here to see why.  

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Susan Harris

Susan’s a garden writer, teacher and activist in the Washington, D.C. area. Co-founder of GardenRant, she also wrote for national gardening magazines and independent garden centers before retiring in 2014. Now she has time for these projects:

  • Founding and now managing the pro-science educational nonprofit GOOD GARDENING VIDEOS that finds and promotes the best videos on YouTube for teaching people to garden.
  • Creating and managing DC GARDENS, the nonprofit campaign to promote the public gardens of the Washington, D.C. area, and gardening by locals.
  • Creating and editing the community website GREENBELT ONLINE to serve her adopted hometown of Greenbelt, Maryland (a “New Deal Utopia” founded in 1937).
  • Also in Greenbelt, MD, writing the e-newsletter and serving on the Board of Directors for the cooperatively-owned music and arts venue and restaurant called the NEW DEAL CAFE.

Contact Susan via email or by leaving a comment here.

Photo by Stephen Brown.


  1. I can almost picture the bouquets in the story – they sound divine ! But I wonder … What happens to the flowers & greenery once they are removed from display ? Composted, I hope … ?

  2. Great story Susan. Thanks for sharing it.

    Just the type of the story that I dream of covering on my Garden World Report show OR, on my OWN.TV show, if selected by Oprah’s new network people. I pitched it as “Eden Makers!”

    Happy 4th!
    Shirley Bovshow

  3. I don’t think you can compost commercially grown flowers because they are full of pesticides, fungicides, etc. I might be wrong though–would be interested to hear what others say about this.

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