Florist trimmed from White House

Laura Dowling was the florist behind the decor at the dinner for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit on the South Lawn of the White House on Aug. 5, 2014.

Washington (CNN)The White House found itself in a thorny situation recently when its chief florist, Laura Dowling, quit and was reportedly escorted from the residence on the eve of Valentine's Day.

That's according to a Monday night account by The Washington Post outlining the famed florist's mysterious departure from the White House.
First Lady Michelle Obama's office confirmed the florist's departure, and, in contrast to the Post's report, offered glowing praise of Dowling's skills.
    "As chief florist, Laura Dowling and her team treated guests of the White House to their beautiful floral arrangements. Ms. Dowling's creations were always lively and colorful, reflecting not only the season but the unique and historic rooms which they graced. No two arrangements were ever the same and each one left guests with a lasting impression of the elegance and history of the People's House," the statement said.
    "We are grateful for her contribution over the years and wish her well," it said.
    Dowling, a French-trained artisan who owns her own flower shop in Alexandria, Virginia, had been in the coveted position since 2009. She succeeded Nancy Clarke, who held the job for three decades. She didn't respond to a CNN request for comment, but in a statement issued through law firm Sidley Austin to The Washington Post, Dowling said she resigned "to pursue exciting new opportunities and explore my passion for floral artistry and design."
    "Over the next few weeks and months, I'll be launching a new platform for my work as an author, speaker, instructor and design consultant that builds on the creative ideas and partnerships I've formed during my tenure there. It's been such an honor to work at the White House and I will always be grateful for this incredible opportunity," she said.
    Hopefully, for the White House, a florist by any other name will still smell as sweet.