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White House florist shows Obamas' relaxed style

By Ed O'Keefe

White House chief floral designer Laura Dowling. (Post)

By The Post's Jura Koncius:

Michelle Obama has Obama-ized the White House with healthful menus, planted bok choy and rhubarb to supply them and ramped up the fashion quotient with metallic strapless dresses and studded belts. Her latest style statement: official flowers in a looser "garden" style by Laura Dowling, the new White House chief floral designer.
Dowling's hot-glue gun has been smoking as she's created hundreds of arrangements, many in custom containers she's wrapped in birch bark, moss and dried apricots. The more relaxed, sometimes unexpected look incorporates armloads of romantic blooms, trailing vines, shaggy ferns and the occasional hot pepper and Brussels sprout. "It's my job to create a new signature style," said Dowling, who took over the job in October. "And sometimes instead of flowers, we can use vegetables for a centerpiece."
The humble cactus is even crashing the party. At the May state dinner for Mexican President Felipe Calderón, prickly pear cactus showed up in vermeil wine coolers, and Dowling also tucked a few among the in the centerpieces of fuchsia roses and Cattleya orchids. The look had the surprise of one of Michelle Obama's Thakoon/J. Crew outfits.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | July 1, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Administration  
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