American Grown flowers were the subject of delight — and even friendly competition — for about 1,850 Congressional spouses and associates this week in Washington, D.C.
For the third year, Certified American Grown, a coalition of U.S. flower farms, organized the floral décor for the Congressional Club’s First Lady’s Luncheon. While First Lady Melania Trump was not in attendance this year — she is still recovering from surgery earlier this week — the event drew a VIP crowd, including Second Lady Karen Pence, making it an ideal venue to highlight domestic flowers and skilled floral designers, said Kasey Cronquist, PFCI, administrator of Certified American Grown.
“We’re proud of our farms and proud to be a part of this bipartisan tradition,” Cronquist said. “No matter your politics, this is really a wonderful example of people coming together.”
Kate Penn, CEO of the Society of American Florists, attended the luncheon as a guest of Certified American Grown.
The annual luncheon is an all-star attraction in Washington and coordinating the sourcing, transportation and design of some 15,000 stems — just days after Mother’s Day — was an all-industry affair, said Cronquist. Among other partners, about 15 flower farms donated to the effort, and the team received transportation support from DVFlora and donated hardgoods from Accent Décor.
“It was a very generous effort by everyone involved to commit their product and time leading up to and during the event,” Cronquist said.
The 32-person design team, headed by Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore in metro Washington, D.C., and Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet in Little Compton, Rhode Island, used all American Grown product to create designs for the room, including centerpieces for 150 tables. Those centerpieces proved to be a highlight of the event — with a per-table giveaway generating excitement (and lots of cheering) as attendees checked their luncheon programs for winning tickets. (See video below.)