The grueling, reality-style competition to be the next White House floral designer



Templates for choosing White House floral designer?
Templates for choosing White House floral designer?

In March we reported that White House floral designer Laura Dowling was mysteriously no longer on the job. Well, today’s Washington Post updates us on the search for her replacement. After months, the legions of applicants have been winnowed down to 25 semi-finalists.

The process, similar to that used in 2008, is being described as a super-stressful, “reality-style flower off, which included designing three arrangements in four hours for the first lady, chief usher, social secretary and White House photographer.”

Also, the lucky winner of the process had better be prepared to be hurt.

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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. Hurt – as in thick skin to ward off verbal abuse or hurt, as in thick skin to blunt rose thorns?

  2. this just seems out of proportion – but I guess this a dream job for many so they probably want to show what they’ve got. But imagine trying to pick the winner + dizzying!

  3. The Post article says: “Most floral design decisions are discussed first between the first lady and the social secretary….”
    Think Bill Clinton will enjoy this task?

  4. Great……confirms my theory we are doomed. What next reality TV show for Secretary of State.

    Why not? We already have a President who won via reality TV.

    Overdue for female Pres? Even if a guy is more qualified we should just elect a woman ‘cuz it’s the right hing to do.


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