More than 18,000 cut flowers will descend upon Washington, D.C., this spring, shipped from American flower farms across the country.
Once there, a team of volunteer floral designers will make a mad dash to arrange the blooms into more than 200 jaw-dropping centerpieces in time for the Congressional Club’s annual First Lady’s Luncheon.
At the epicenter of the floral storm, lead designers Kelly Shore and Mary Kate Kinnane will be busy coordinating the massive effort to present first lady Melania Trump with a 100 percent American Grown display.
It’s a tremendous undertaking, with flower shipments pouring in from multiple farms across the U.S. There are buckets that need filling, flowers that need processing and vases that need prepping.
It’s also a labor of love for the designers who can’t wait to share their passion for American Grown blooms with the first lady and more than 1,500 Congressional spouses and associates.
The luncheon is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have 18,000 stems of American grown flowers all in front of me to design with and to experience,” says Kinnane, who volunteered on the team last year. As the owner of The Local Bouquet in Rhode Island, Kinnane seeks out seasonal and sustainable blooms for her weddings and other events, using only local and American Grown flowers.
“I was able to see new American Grown product that I hadn’t yet worked with, I was able to shake the hands of some of the farmers who grew the product, I was able to introduce myself to influential people in my industry and I was able to grow my company’s name as a proud supporter of the American Grown flower movement.”
Shore, a renowned florist and owner of Petals by the Shore in Washington, D.C., is returning to the event for her second year as lead designer. She’s still glowing from last year’s smashing success, during which a sold-out crowd heard First Lady’s Luncheon Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Yoho compliment the beautiful flowers and request that “everyone, including the White House, support American Grown Flowers.”
Shore joined the American Grown movement after spending a week with flower farmers in Alaska, where she designed tablescapes for an American Grown Field to Vase Dinner.
“I feel like my designs and my aesthetic have become stronger and gained in character with each step I take to educate myself and seek out American Grown flowers and foliage,” says Shore.
For the past two years, the First Lady’s Luncheon has given floral designers the opportunity to shine a spotlight on American Grown blooms in front of a national audience—and this year will be no exception. The volunteer team is already being assembled and Shore and Kinnane are preparing new designs for the thousands of flowers American farmers have cultivated for the event.
Designers, volunteer to help here! It’s the American Grown flowers experience of a lifetime – for designers and guests.