Local florist to help with Emmys

By Greg Gelpi

He may not be an actor or have anything to do with the television industry, but Thomas Wayne Denney's work will be displayed at the Emmy Awards.

Denney, 27, works for Connor's Florist & Gifts in Morrow and was asked to help with the floral arrangements for the Emmy festivities.

"I just about fell over," Denney said about being asked to contribute his talents.

While testing to receive his American Institute of Floral Designers certification in New York, he met Eddie Zaratsian of Tic Tock Florist, the Los Angeles company hired to work the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awards show. Zaratsian asked Denney to assist him in arranging flowers for the event.

Not surprised, Sherry Ott praised Denney's work. Denney designed and decorated the floral arrangements for her daughter Courtney Ott Cartwright's wedding this summer.

He worked within the Jessica Simpson-style theme and rules of the Forest Park church, while adding his own touches, Ott said.

"It turned out exactly how we wanted it to turn out," she said. "He did these grand arrangements in front of the church. I mean they were huge. You walked (into the reception) and the flowers blew you away again."

Although all went well with every aspect of the wedding, Ott said most of the comments she received raved about the $12,000 in flowers.

As Denney grew up in Carrolton, he was fond of his grandmother's flower shop and ability to arrange flowers. For 40 years she ran the flower shop, but it didn't take nearly that long for him to realize he wanted to follow in her footsteps.

"I guess I feel lucky that my interest piqued," Denney said.

Relating to the Christian Slater character in the movie Bed of Roses, he said the enjoyment of being a florist comes from the joy people get from receiving flowers. Their emotional response is reflected in his own joy.

"That's what I enjoy most about it is bringing happiness," the member of the Georgia State Florists Association said. "Each arrangement I do inspires me. Each arrangement I do is an artwork to me."

He has been recognized for his works of art by the Georgia State Florists Association, earning the Burton Cup two years in a row in recognition of his talent, Denney said.

"Each designer has his own specialization," Denney said.

He described his style as turning simple arrangements into something more, as opposed to crowded arrangements with many flowers.

The primetime telecast of the Emmy Awards is scheduled for Sept. 19.

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