White House chief florist to retire after 31 years on the job

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Washington, Apr.3 (ANI): The chief florist at the White House, Nancy Clarke, is retiring next month after 31 years in the mansion.

"It's such a hard decision. I've been thinking about it for a couple years," reliable source quoted Clarke, as saying.

She's created bouquets for the Carters, Reagans, Clintons and both Bush administrations (she was especially close to Laura Bush) and the Obamas, but said the timing seemed right to leave -- she's expecting her first grandchild any day.

Clarke, 63, started working in the White House flower shop in 1978 as a volunteer, was hired as a floral designer, then promoted to the top job in 1985.

As for the changes that have taken place during these 31 years, Clarke said the biggest change was that 30 years ago, florists were limited to locally grown, seasonal blooms until they started flying in fresh flowers from around the globe. "The whole world opened up," she said.

White House social secretary Desirée Rogers called Clarke "nothing short of amazing" in creating arrangements from traditional to modern. But observers note her departure allows the Obamas to try some new things. (ANI)

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