Cover image for Flowers, White House style
Flowers, White House style
Temple, Dottie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2002]

Physical Description:
ix, 209 pages ; 27 cm
Added Author:
Format :


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Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB449 .T42 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Whether decorating the grand halls for visiting dignitaries, transforming a room for a holiday, or simply gracing the private family quarters, flowers are an essential part of life in the White House. In Flowers, White House Style, former White House Chief Floral Decorator Dottie Temple reveals the secrets to these fabulous floral arrangements while offering a rare glimpse into the inner workings of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. With more than 125 original and archival photographs, many seen here for the first time, Temple and her coauthor, Stan Finegold, guide us through the floral displays created for five presidential administrations, offering history and insight from the most famous house in the world. Supplementing this rich memoir, renowned historian William Seale offers intriguing vignettes and little-known facts about White House floral history during the mansion's first 150 years. For example, in the 1840s, it was believed that fresh flowers absorbed all the oxygen in the air and they were banished to the outdoors. The flowers for the wedding of President Theodore Roosevelt's daughter Alice were very restrained; only jasmine and white orchids were used. Walk through the White House florist shop, where thousands of flowers are delivered every day, and witness the planning and coordinating of each arrangement for important official events. Floral selections must be carefully made so they offend neither visitors nor the President. White flowers are never used for Japanese guests, because they are reserved for funerals in Japan. The favorite flowers of dignitaries are always remembered -- for example, anemones for former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britainand roses for President Francois Mitterrand of France. These insights and more are revealed on every page of Flowers, White House Style. Stunning photographs and step-by-step instructions will inspire all those who love flowers to recreate the more than forty detailed historic and contemporary arrangements in the book and bring the elegance of the White House into their homes. Temple describes lavish floral centerpieces and impressive flower designs ranging from those created for numerous State Dinners and three White House weddings (Tricia Nixon; Lynda Bird Johnson and Luci Baines Johnson) to garlands and wreaths for spectacular White House Christmas celebrations. With ample ideas and tips on vases, flowers, and tools, Temple and Finegold make these beautifully artistic creations accessible to everyone. Whether you are a professional looking for inspiration or simply an enthusiast who loves the natural beauty of fresh blooms, Flowers, White House Style will be the book you'll turn to. Filled with revealing anecdotes and behind-the-scenes information on the workings of the White House that only Dottie Temple can provide, Flowers, White House Style offers history, inspiration, and innovative ideas in a lush and exquisitely designed volume.

Author Notes

Dottie Temple, former White House Chief Floral Decorator, began working with the White House during the Nixon administration, and was appointed by Nancy Reagan as Chief Floral Decorator.
Stan Finegold and his firm, The Intelvid Group, created and packaged the fifteen-part PBS series The Presidential Palate

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

The first First Lady to regularly use live flowers in the White House was James Buchanan's niece, Harriet Lane, who had picked up social graces in the court of Queen Victoria. The White House now has its own florist in the cellar, with a conservatory attached. This book by Chief Decorator Temple (who began during the Nixon years and retired during Reagan's second term) is a combination of how-tos for very specific arrangements (categorized by container and occasion) and a unique perspective on the postwar White House. In addition to relating her duties and experiences, Temple (with co-writer Finegold) includes carefully detailed instructions for putting beautiful blooms together, illustrated with more than 170 color photos of the plants and the people who favored them: Betty Ford and Happy Rockefeller "share a light lunch in the solarium" along with a silver bowl of delphiniums, carnations, and pompoms. Ronald Reagan toasts then Crown Prince Akihito of Japan from behind a centerpiece of tall topiaries. Lady Bird Johnson "enjoys a quiet moment upstairs in the Lincoln Sitting Room with a small pierced vermeil bowl and tray filled with pink snapdragons." The book is nonpartisan: Jacqueline Kennedy, Rosalynn Carter, Barbara Bush and the Clintons all make appearances. White House historian William Seale sets the scenes of many of the photos in detailed sidebars, and Nancy Reagan provides a "note" at the front of the book. The arrangements are lovely, but the candid photos and inside scoop on the preferences of the presidents and first ladies are likely to be the collection's main attractions. (Oct. 17) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

William SealeDottie Temple
A Note from Nancy Reaganp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Forewordp. 9
1 The Flower Shop at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenuep. 13
2 Guidelines for Grand Designp. 37
3 Formal Containers and Vasesp. 65
4 Informal and Whimsical Containersp. 87
5 Upstairs in the Family Quartersp. 109
6 White House Weddingsp. 133
7 A First Family Christmasp. 155
8 Celebrationsp. 179
Bibliographyp. 203
Indexp. 204
Art Creditsp. 209