Saturday, May 28, 2016

Beautiful and American Grown

First Lady’s Luncheon flowers displayed proudly
during the Congressional Club’s Open House

Founded in 1908, the original purpose of The Congressional Club was to provide a non-partisan setting for friendships among the spouses of members of the House and Senate in Washington, D.C. An active member is the spouse of a sitting or former Member of Congress, Supreme Court Justice, or Member of the President's Cabinet.

The activities of the Club have changed over the years. What was once a weekly program tea is now a bi-monthly luncheon featuring well-known speakers, musicians, and personalities. Red Cross work has been succeeded by Community Services. The Children's Party has become the family holiday party in December. The Club's largest social event is the annual First Lady's Luncheon, honoring the First Lady.

This month the beautiful American Grown flowers that were the talk of the First Lady’s Luncheon were proudly on display the following day throughout the Congressional Club. About 200 spouses of Members of Congress attended this Open House to support the Club and its fund raising activities. The centerpieces and linens from the Luncheon, as well as other items were sold to raise money for Charity. This year the beneficiary is the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving which is committed to building quality, long-term, home and community-based services.

The Congressional Club is rich in history and tradition, and continues to be a source of great pride to its members.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Instagram: Photos We Dig

This month’s Instagram Inspiration is all about Kings! 10 fabulous photos showcasing these awesome flowers - the perfect styling for dinner, curation of the week, obsession with these pretties, absolute fave, drooling over this protea, FLOWER :: BOMB, beautiful in bridal bouquets and with diamonds too. Finally, a trip to the Kirstenbosch display at Chelsea Flower Show where the protea, especially the white Kings are simply stunning – Enjoy!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Celebrating CA Grown at the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress, built in 1897, is the nation’s first established cultural institution and the largest library in the world, with millions of items including books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections. The Library provides visitors with a rich, diverse and enduring source of knowledge to inspire and engage them and support their intellectual and creative endeavors.

This beautiful Library has also become the home to the annual Wine Institute Reception where Members of Congress, staffers and other DC leaders gather for an evening of wine tasting. The Wine Institute is the voice for California wine representing more than 1,000 wineries and affiliated businesses from throughout the state.

For the last three years the California Cut Flower Commission has teamed up with the Institute to provide flowers for this very popular Capitol Hill reception. California farmers from across the state eagerly provide the beautiful flowers that adorn this event. The flowers not only spread good cheer throughout the Library, they celebrate the amazing bounty that comes from California’s flower farms.

Special thanks to Andrea Gagnon from LynnVale Studios for doing the wonderful design work for this prestigious affair

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Spring’s Bounty: King Protea

Now that May flowers are in full bloom, we’re thrilled to finally be able to meander through the fields and harvest one of the season’s hottest wedding flowers – King protea! It’s safe to say we’ve been seeing these awesome protea being used in wedding bouquets and centerpieces at least a dozen times a week - and we’ve got the Pinterest board to prove it. There’s a little something there for every King connoisseur, from featuring a single stem to creating more lavish designs with an array of fabulous blooms. If you’re as crazy about these chic flowers as we are, you’ll certainly want to keep scrolling.

It’s time to take a quick stroll as well – Enjoy!
(Click here for video)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Grevilllea Hookeriana

Did you know the Australian genus of Grevillea consists of approximately 313 different varieties and 200 cultivars, and the numbers continues to grow? This amazing plant family was named in honor of the British patron of botany Charles Francis Greville, one of the founders of the Royal Horticulture Society in 1804.

Grevilleas are not only popular for their colorful spider-like flowers, the foliage is amazing as well. Yes, we’re all familiar with the fabulous Ivanhoe but do you know Hookeriana? This interesting cultivar, also called ‘Robin Hood’, is hardy, prolific and versatile. This lush plant which can reach heights of up to 7’ tall, has rich, green fern-like foliage with bronze tips and stems. Hookeriana adds incredible volume and texture to designs and it has a vase life of 14 days and longer.

The little cone buds and red tooth brush-like flowers, which are prominently displayed over the late winter and early spring, seem to turn this lush foliage into a fabulous filler flower!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Inspirational News: Certified American Grown Proudly Sponsors First Lady's Luncheon

The Certified American Grown program was a proud sponsor of the 2016 First Lady's Luncheon held May 12 in Washington, D.C. An annual tradition hosted by the Congressional Club since 1912 to honor the first lady of the United States, the luncheon is attended by over 1,500 people, including Congressional spouses, associates of members of Congress and cabinet members.

The Certified American Grown program worked with the Congressional Club’s First Lady's Luncheon Committee to help ensure that 100 percent of the flowers used during this year’s event were American Grown. With beautiful stems of flowers and greens from California, Oregon, Washington, Florida and Virginia, over 200 centerpieces and arrangements were created to fill the Washington Hilton Ballroom.

"This was a tremendous honor and opportunity for America’s flower farmers,” said Kasey Cronquist, administrator of the Certified American Grown program. “We commend the Congressional Club’s decision to seek and source blooms grown here in the United States for such a wonderful tradition of honoring our first lady.”

The bouquets featured beautiful American Grown roses, peonies, stock, tulips, lilies, protea, Bells of Ireland, alstromeria, bupleurum, dianthus, freesia, lisianthus, ranunculus, viburnum, waxflower, ferns, leatherleaf and curly willow.

The centerpieces were designed by Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studios, a Certified American Grown farmer, floral designer and American Grown Council member. David Beahm Experiences of New York carried out Gagnon's vision and provided logistical support for this large and prestigious floral installation.

Each year, the luncheon supports a nonprofit of the first lady's choice. Funds raised from this year's event will go to the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, an advocacy, research, education and service unit that provides support for both professional and family caregivers. Centerpieces were purchased by attendees to help raise those funds.

Representing American Grown from left to right are Daevid Reed, Tim Dewey, Bill Frymoyer, Diana Roy, David Register, Lane DeVries, Kasey Cronquist, David Beahm and seated are Andrea Gagnon, Debra Prinzing and Rita Jo Shoultz

For more on the American Grown Flowers program, go to