Conner Nesbit is certainly more flush since pocketing the $100,000 grand prize awarded him as HBO Max’s first Full Bloom champion a year ago. He’s also a lot busier. Since winning the reality show design competition, the Layton-based florist has freelanced for colleagues on projects far and wide: a celebration at Utah’s Amangiri resort, a wedding in the mountains of Crested Butte, Colorado, and a month-long series of affairs hosted along the dreamy coast of Lake Como, Italy. “This has a very experimental phase, working with other talented designers while exploring my own creativity,” he explains.
As the owner of Leuca Floral, he plans to put that creativity to work in 2022. “I’m finding potential in things that I had previously written off,” Nesbit explains. This includes yesterday’s top picks. “There’s a resurgence of Old World florals including everything from gladioli and carnations to tulips and marigolds,” says Nesbit, touting the new and interesting varieties of these and other conventional blooms. “There’s more complexity being bred into them all.”
That makes these newfound favorites ideal for the robust arrangements Nesbit designs today. “My work is reminiscent of old Dutch Master paintings with abundant, dramatic flowers all facing forward,” he says. The florist champions bigger blooms, richer colors and less foliage at a time when today’s ethereal, nature-inspired arrangements are all the rage. “I’m shying away from those and am looking for what’s next,” he explains.
I favor simple materials like natural stone and terra-cotta that let the flowers do the talking.
On Dried Flowers
They are hugely popular right now and I love them. I preserve many myself.
I love working with local growers. Every stem is unique and more interesting than many mass-marketed blooms.
I enjoy the therapeutic experience of arranging flowers—stripping foliage off of the stems, taking in their natural fragrances and working with so many fresh materials.