Meet the winner and finalists in FR’s latest bimonthly flower design contest.

By Nita Robertson, AIFD, CFD

Florists’ Review is excited to present the winner of and finalists in our September “Best in Blooms” flower design contest. We received more than 40 entries from floral designers across North America. 

Three of those designers were chosen to compete in the “‘Kiwi’ Edition Best in Blooms” floral design challenge. Each finalist received bunches of beautiful Dianthus barbatus ‘Kiwi Mellow’ blooms, one of the varieties in Selecta One’s “Kiwi” collection of hybrid sweet Williams, which have distinctive green “hairs” instead of petals. The collection also comprises ‘Kiwi Boom’, ‘Kiwi Cherry’ and ‘Kiwi Chocolate’ varieties. We asked the finalists to create an “outside-the-box” bridal bouquet and coordinating boutonnière showcasing ‘Kiwi Mellow’.

The winner, John Regan, M.F.A., Ph.D., will receive a “Florist Spotlight” feature in a future issue of Florists’ Review and a $500 merchandise credit from Selecta One.

For information about how you can enter future editions of our “Best in Blooms” contest, visit our website at

Logo Kiwi

Kiwi Mellow’

Product Type: Dianthus barbatus

Variety Name: ‘Kiwi Mellow’

Breeder: Selecta One / Selecta Cut Flowers

Product Focus:

• Exceptionally large, perfectly ball-shaped flowers

• Pure brilliant green color

• Long vase life

• Straight, strong and distinguished stems

• Voluminous, with a very strong presence


John Regan, M.F.A., Ph.D.

Twisted Stem

Crystal Lake, Ill.


John Regan, M.F.A., Ph.D. describes himself as a floral designer with a Flemish-inspired with a modern twist. He is a veteran floral designer in suburban Chicago who is always seeking to learn new techniques and offer his clients something that reflects his shop’s tag line of “Edgy & Elegant Floral Design.”

About his design, Regan says:

“The thought behind the design of the bouquet is centered around a couple very connected to nature and the garden. The jute ‘fence’ around the bouquet provides a barrier that attempts to contains the Dianthus ‘Kiwi Mellow’, but, instead, it waterfalls over the edge. The underside of the European bouquet holder also features a richly green and thick carpet suggestive of thick grass. There are several types of foliage manipulation in the bouquet that add interest but allow the Dianthus to still command center stage. The folded and wired bits of flax, flax folded roses, coiled Liriope, folded Aspidistra and rolled Galax leaves meander throughout. A few stems of Panicum and Phytolacca break through the fencing. Two stems of orchids wrap low around the outside of the collar. Green dried spiny pods mimic the texture of the Dianthus in a varied tone. I added green wool to the acorn cap; acorns are a traditional long-life talisman. Inside the ‘flag-folded’ Aspidistra leaf on the underside of the bouquet is a shiny penny for luck.”



• Dianthus barbatus ‘Kiwi Mellow’ (hybrid sweet William)

• Phalaenopsis amabilis (moth orchid)

• Allium scorodoprasum ‘Art’ (giant garlic, sand leek)

• Jasminum officinale vine (poet’s jasmine, poet’s jessamine)

• Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet, climbing bittersweet)

• Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)

• Aspidistra elatior ‘Milky Way’ (cast-iron plant, barroom plant)

• Phormium tenax (New Zealand flax)

• Galax urceolata (beetleweed, wand flower/plant)

• Liriope muscari (lily grass)

• Panicum elegans/P. capillare ‘Frosted Explosion’ (witchgrass, old-witch grass)

• Quercus spp. (acorn, oak nut)

• Spiny seed pods 

Hard Goods

• OASIS® European Bouquet Holder, Round

• OASIS® Floral Foam Sphere, 4½”

• 1/2” galvanized steel hardware cloth 

• Jute twine

• Atlantisite stone


Garrett Skupinski, CF

Austin, Texas

Garrett Skupinski, CF is an International floral design competitor for Team USA and a freelance designer with Alpas Floral Freelance Team. Being a self-described “creative magpie,” Skupinski enjoys discovering new or recreated facets of floral artistry. Designing for events is his least favorite design project while personalized sympathy and art pieces are his true loves. 

About his design, Skupinski says:

“I named this design ‘Droplet Glam’, and it is inspired by the textures of puff quilting by Em and Bear [@emand.bear] and my favorite bouquet form, the teardrop. This pendulous bouquet showcases the stunning texture of ‘Kiwi Mellow’ physically and visually. With a textile effect of quilted bubbles in a rich green color and perfect round shape, the ‘droplet’ shape comes to life. I added enhancements of pearls on foraged olive branches, natural olive branches and just a ‘kiss’ of stripped ivy vine weaving around. The boutonnière features all elements in the bouquet but with its own form.”



• Dianthus barbatus ‘Kiwi Mellow’ (hybrid sweet William)

• Olea europaea, branches (olive)

• Hedera helix, vine stripped of leaves (English ivy)

Hard Goods

• Pearls, silver and white, various sizes


Bek Ortikov

The Purple Rose

West Hollywood, Calif.

Bek Ortikov has been a floral designer for 12 years, and he opened The Purple Rose in West Hollywood, Calif., three years ago, in 2019. Since he can remember, Ortikov has been interested in flowers— the colors, the fragrances, and, ultimately, the joy that they bring to people universally. 

About his design, Ortikov says:

“I was inspired by the slow, unhurried life of Los Angeles and the importance of slowing down and taking time to enjoy the little things. Soft-hued blooms rich with unusual textures and forms composing an otherwise traditional bridal bouquet accomplishes that lifestyle aesthetic. 



• Dianthus barbatus ‘Kiwi Mellow’ (hybrid sweet William)

• Gladiolus x colvillei ‘Albus’ (sword lily, Colville’s Gladiolus)

• Gladiolus nanus ‘Nymph’ (sword lily, dwarf sword lily, dwarf Gladiolus)

• Nerine bowdenii/N. sarniensis (spider lily, Guernsey lily, Jersey lily, Cornish lily)

• Serruria florida (blushing bride)

• Ornithogalum thyrsoides (chincherinchee, star-of-Bethlehem)

• Xerophyllum tenax (bear grass, elk grass, Indian basket grass)