For a glamorous tradition this spring in Washington, D.C., the First Lady and her staff turned to flowers grown in the United States.
The First Lady’s Luncheon, held May 12, honors the First Lady of the United States and is attended by more than 1,500 people, including congressional spouses, cabinet members and other VIPs.
The The Certified American Grown program worked this year with the Congressional Club to ensure all of the flowers and foliage used were grown domestically. Flowers and greens from California, Oregon, Washington, Florida and Virginia could be found in more than 200 centerpieces and arrangements in a theme of “Posh, Peach, Southern Hospitality.”
Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studios in Gainesville, Virginia, designed the centerpieces and said she was inspired by the state flower of Georgia, the “Cherokee Rose.”
“I imagined our ‘garden-inspired’ florals to be reflective of the myriad flowers and foliages that might be grown, gathered and arranged by any southern hostess preparing for a much anticipated elegant event where her guests ease and comfort were paramount,” she said. “We hoped they would convey through their delicate textures, soft feminine color palette and lush blooms the event’s overall theme.”
Gagnon said that while she did not get to see Michelle Obama’s reaction to the work, she was impressed with the First Lady’s overall message of thanks to the gathered crowd.
“I was touched by her remarks of gratitude toward the members of the Congressional Club who had reached out to her and supported her when she first came to Washington so many years ago,” she said.
David Beahm Experiences of New York carried out Gagnon’s vision and provided logistical support for the floral installation.
“This was a tremendous honor and opportunity for America’s flower farmers,” said Kasey Cronquist, administrator of the Certified American Grown program, who pointed out that the Congressional Club “specifically sought out American Grown Flowers for this last luncheon with Michelle Obama. It was quite the honor for such a young organization.”