Sometimes flowers are stately. Sometimes they are more demur. Sometimes they are opulent and sometimes they become the news themselves. Regardless of the feelings or emotions they evoke, Laura Dowling, an individual with recent flower power knowledge and experience, is an expert whose new book, "Floral Diplomacy at the White House," offers an inside look at the life and times of a lead staff florist.

Dowling's book details her six years of experience (2009 - 2015) as the chief floral designer. During that period of time, she was responsible for the floral arrangements at an uncountable number of White House events.

The details that she provides shows that even a floral-focused position can have significant national impact.

The role of the chief floral designer

Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, in her role as First Lady, established the Office of the White House Florist and actually hired the first chief floral designer. From Elmer (Rusty) Young to Dottie Temple, to Nancy Clarke, and eventually to Laura Dowling (followed by Hedieh Ghaffarian), the role of the designer has evolved in scope, but remained steady in mission.

Today's chief has the responsibility to create, design, arrange, and maintain all floral pieces throughout the grounds as directed by the President for all functions regardless of type. The chief oversees the floral presence for both formal and informal activities whether that be state dinners or family birthday celebrations.

The floral impact

The chief floral designer has historically been expected to understand the emotional power of flowers. Which ones are associated with joy? Which ones are associated with sorrow? Which particular colors hold a different meaning for a visiting country than the meaning held in the United States? Though diplomacy and détente are issues guided by the POTUS within the White House walls, the symbolic nature of floral arrangements can add to and/or detract from the level of success achieved at any of its functions.

For those seeking more intimate details on the chief floral designer's office, where it is located (in the basement), how the chief meets the floral needs for all of the various and unique national events, and a glimpse into a few of the more interesting and behind-the-scenes real-life stories, Laura Dowling's "Floral Diplomacy at the White House" is a great read.