Former White House floral designer to give talk on Wednesday
For almost 30 years, Cathy Miller walked the halls of one of the most famous residences in the world — the White House.
She met presidents and first ladies and knew many staffers by their first names.
You could say she brought her own sense of power to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Flower power, that is.
During the course of five administrations, beginning with Jimmy Carter and ending with George W. Bush, Miller served as a dried floral designer.
Completely self-taught, the New Jersey resident never imagined that she would land such a prestigious job.
But after winning several top gardening awards, she was featured in a six-page spread in a magazine, which caught the eye of the chief floral designer at the White House.
He had been looking for a more efficient way to decorate the many rooms throughout The White House and, in 1979, invited Miller to create several dried arrangements.
He liked what he saw and the rest is history.
After several decades of working in Washington, D.C., Miller is now back in the private sector, writing books and presenting flower arranging demonstrations across the country.
She will be sharing her talents, along with some of her memories of the five presidents and first ladies she worked for, when the Hagerstown Garden Club presents a champagne reception from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.
There also will be a raffle of one of Miller's award-winning arrangements.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the museum.
As a child, Miller said she never would have predicted a career centered around flowers.
Instead, many thought she would be a musician, following in the footsteps of her mother, who was a concert pianist.
She played in her first recital at the age of 7 1/2 and continued performing on stage into her late teens.
But, besides music, Miller had another love: flowers.
"My mother loved to garden, so I was exposed to this at an early age," she said. "In addition, my Grandma Catherine was a super gardener and I loved spending time with her in her garden. She would teach me the names of the many flowers that she grew."