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Ahead by a rose? Va. florist pulls out front


A garden-style floral arrangement by Laura Dowling. (Kevin Allen Photography)

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
The hush-hush search for a new White House florist is almost over: The Reliable Source has learned that Laura Dowling, a floral designer from Alexandria, is the front-runner for the prestigious position.

In June, chief florist Nancy Clarke retired after 31 years in the mansion, and there was speculation that Michelle Obama wanted a more contemporary look for flowers. Two weeks ago, three designers slipped into the White House for a tryout: Each created a state dinner centerpiece, flowers for the Oval Office, etc. -- and Dowling's romantic French look apparently won the day.

The owner of Old Town's Intérieurs et Fleurs specializes in leafy garden-style arrangements that carry the outdoors in -- lots of vines and tendrils. In an interview with Fox Channel 5 this summer, Dowling described her style: "I take inspiration from flower design in Paris. ... I love this natural approach to flower arranging that they have -- it's elegant, it's fresh, and they take these couture touches to make the bouquets very special."

No word if the new florist will be named before the Obamas' first state dinner for India on Nov. 24; neither Dowling nor the White House had any comment.

Read more about life in Washington at Reliable Source»

Posted at 1:51 PM ET on Oct 19, 2009  | Category:  Washington Life
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