AFTER SIX YEARS as chief floral designer at the White House, Laura Dowling is back out there teaching and learning and arranging . . . and decorating her neighborhood with wreaths for the holiday season.
She wanted to experiment a bit and show that all sorts of things could be pressed into service to make a wreath, but what else could she do with the wreaths, which were made with such foodstuffs as sweet potatoes and marshmallows? “A neighbor told me she liked one of the wreaths, so after Kevin [Washington photographer Kevin Allen] had shot it, I gave it to her,” Dowling explained. Pretty soon there were colorful and unusual wreaths all over Dowling’s Alexandria neighborhood
“These are not wreaths that are going to last a long time,” she cautioned. Some will last longer than others, but some, she explained, are really for just a few days, perhaps a special event.
So making wreaths kept Dowling busy during the last month or so of 2015. Not to worry, Dowling will not be bored going into 2016. In February, she will be teaching a series of Master Classes at FlowerSchool New York. Every year she is a presenter at the renowned Philadelphia Flower Show, the oldest and largest in the country (in 2016 it runs March 5 to 13). In mid-April, she will deliver the keynote address at the Cincinnati Flower Show.
And, if that’s not enough, in late April she will travel to the Arts Quarter of Ghent, Belgium, to create a major installation for the international floral event Floralies 2016, which showcases innovative displays from around the world (Belgium itself is is home to an avant-garde of floral and landscape design).
Soon we won’t have to travel the country to keep up with Dowling: She has three books in the works!