Soft Spoken Flowers for Outspoken Ladies

4 years ago

Several years ago while cleaning out a desk in a Virginia funeral home – I came across a envelope marked “Favorite Flowers of the First Ladies”.   A few months ago I found the copy folded in my journal and decided to share them with you…


Famously, among her numerous choices of flowers Lady Bird Johnson loved Wldflowers and founded the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin Texas, in 1983.  Though on the ceremony for the widow of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, family and friends planned a private Eucharist in a room at the Wildflower Center – it was filled with arrangements of her other favorite flower, the lavender-hued bluebell.

During her tenure as First Lady, Pat Nixon took a special interest in the gardens of the White House and made them accessible to the general public twice a year for an autumn and spring garden tour.  She was also known to favor a gold or yellow color, as seen in her 1969 Inaugural gown: so, with that said – a yellow rose would be a safe bet as perhaps one of her most favorite.

 Jackie Kennedy seemed to enjoy a wide variety of flowers – except for gladiolas. In a memo she wrote to her friend, the landscape designer Rachel Mellon (who created not only the East Garden and Rose Garden of the White House for the Kennedy’s, but also the flower arrangements for all entertaining in the house) Mrs. Kennedy specifically asked that no gladiola be used in arrangements. The two flowers that sources repeat as her favorites were a fully opened and blooming white peony and the simple blue cornflower, which her son wore as his wedding day boutonniere in her honor.

As far as Betty Ford and Barbara Bush, in their White House portraits Mrs. Ford has pink roses in the background, and Mrs. Bush has white roses. Mrs. Ford often used snapdragons as a floral arrangement at state dinners. The “Snowy Lady” Shasta daisy is named after Barbara Bush. Incidentally, Mrs. Bush is an avid gardener at her home in Maine and much prefers fresh-cut flowers because store-bought arrangements and bouquets, she told Larry King in a 2004 interview, were a “waste of money.”

Today’s First Lady…Michelle Obama is quite simple, she favors roses.  From what I’ve seen, Red is her fav.




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