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Floral artistry

Words by Hannah Tapping

A heady fusion of design and floristry celebrates a floral abundance of colour, texture and structure.

Left and middle by Ingrid Pop | Right by John Hersey

Setting up a modern floral design business wasn’t something that had crossed Hayley Scott’s mind, and certainly not running it in Cornwall. A north London girl by birth, Hayley grew up in Edmonton and after finishing college worked as a personal shopper in Selfridges, a job of dreams for some, but it wasn’t enough for Hayley whose vivacity and passion for life made her want more. Encouraged by her best friend, Hayley found a course in Fashion Design at Falmouth University. “I had never been to Cornwall, let alone heard of Falmouth,” laughs Hayley, “but within an hour of finding the course I was packing a bag and being driven by my best friend’s brother Rick the five hours to the Open Day. I was accepted on the course and that was the beginning of my love of Cornwall.”

After completing her degree, Hayley returned to London working in fashion and marketing with numerous major magazine titles over a period of six years. “I hit some really lovely goals in my fashion career, but the industry and pace wasn’t for me,” explains Hayley, “no accomplishment felt like I could stop and enjoy it; something was missing. My day-to-day routine wasn’t bringing me joy and I think I just wanted to move back to Cornwall and be by the sea. And that’s fundamentally what I did.”

On arrival in Cornwall, Hayley made Helston her home and enrolled on a floristry course at Duchy College. On finishing, she returned to her professional marketing roots for a short while, however redundancy and heartbreak were to be a sad but opportune catalyst for Hayley to sow the seeds for her business. Helped by a photographer friend, Jade Berry, Hayley Scott Blooms was born in Newquay in 2018: “Within two weeks, I had a website and six contracts in local shops, cafés and hotels. I think it was about the timing, offering something a little different and also being just a little bit bold.” Blooms has grown exponentially since and while lockdown was a scary time, weekly flower drop-offs became hugely popular and Blooms’ Instagram following doubled, such was the demand for Hayley’s arrangements as gifts or pick-me-ups: “Starting with the B2B side of the business and then growing a local audience during that lockdown period has allowed me to have the presence (in the Newquay community) that I have now.”

Left by Rosie Blake | Right by John Hersey

Hayley works with local growers where possible, as minimal flower miles and seasonality are key ethical concerns for Blooms: “This is such an important element of my business, and I’ve got some great relationships with local growers, The Cornish Flower Patch and BJ Richard’s who is actually a UK supplier, but based in the Tamar Valley. My bouquets are florist’s choice, which is really a nice way for us to be creative with the flowers that are in season. I love colour and feel that really carries through in my floral style. I think I definitely carry through some of the quirkiness from my fashion days into my palettes and combinations. It’s great to have the understanding of colour theory, whether that be monochromatic or polychromatic and so on, but then once you know the rules it’s also fun to be able to break them!”

The abundance of Cornish flowers allow Hayley to have access to a kaleidoscope of colour and texture, including roses, larkspur, delphiniums, dahlias, phlox, peonies and some gorgeous Cornish-grown eucalyptus. In addition to keeping flower miles low where possible, Hayley is also very conscious of the materials she uses to present her bouquets and displays. Gone are cellophane wraps and floral foam, replaced by the simplicity of ribbon, kraft paper, and Agra Wool blocks, with chicken wire, plywood and moss being used for larger installations.

As Blooms has grown, Hayley now offers wedding flowers which are beautifully bespoke. “I will always get a consultation call in the diary with the bride-to-be and I have a list of questions I like to run through in order to best understand their vision for the day. We often share Pinterest images to help define a palette. I will then create a bespoke proposal and, rather than being too prescribed, I tend to retain some creative freedom so that I can truly make the best of the blooms on the day.”

“When it comes to arranging, I really let myself be guided by palette, texture and interesting combinations; I think rhythm is a good word to describe the process. I also like to play with offbeat styles and throw in some unexpected design elements at times (like the mix of fresh and dried flowers), but often there isn’t necessarily a formula for what works best. Traditionally, florists are taught to work with odd numbers, so you might start with one really expensive flower, and then three of another and then five of another... but I don’t think that necessarily applies to modern floristry. I think by working to a rhythm you get a feel for when you get it right, and the arrangement flows.”

Since initially learning her craft, Hayley has attended a plethora of independent florist courses, from McQueens Flower School in London, and the Academy of Floral Art in Exeter, to the The Bath Flower School: “I really want to try to continue to educate myself and hope to take an independent course every year so that I can keep honing my skill set. Modern floristry has moved on and tutors want to make sure that everyone knows how to use techniques that are foam and plastic free.”

Left by Frankie Thomas | Middle by John Hersey Hayley’s studio in Newquay is a pastel haven of calm, where her huge workbench dominates the space. She’ll use this to line up her stems, with a bucket of water close by so they can be quenched as soon as possible. Wesley Yard, home to Blooms, is a growing community of thriving young businesses which Hayley is proud to be a part of. Collaborations are something Hayley loves, with work from local resin artist Zee Van Gils adorning the walls of her studio, and La Luna candles, Bloomtown beauty products and her own personalised bar from Kernow Chocolate, making up her customised gift boxes.

Perhaps most impressive out of Hayley’s work are her dried flower installations which have found homes in some of Cornwall’s most prestigious wedding and dining venues. She tells me that dried flowers are very on-trend at the moment and have seen a resurgence. “In a business or hospitality space, where you might have traditionally seen a piece of artwork, people are now choosing to have a flower installation,” says Hayley, who was commissioned to create a centrepiece for Adam Handling’s Ugly Butterfly restaurant on the Carbis Bay Estate. “It was a huge project and an incredible honour to be a part of. I approach my installations in a similar way to my wedding work with mood boards and sketched ideas. I work with the client so that the installation really enhances the space, and I always strive for each new installation to be my new favourite work!”

Hayley goes on to explain that in keeping with her ethos, the Ugly Butterfly installation was completely plastic free, using chicken-wire for the structure and moss to hold the flowers. “It took days and days of work to make sure that it was structurally secure while still having visual dimension and layers within the design,” explains Hayley. “These installations are long-lasting giving years and years of enjoyment, provided they are kept out of direct sunlight and not handled too much, and they also have the benefit that they can be refreshed and retouched over time and in tune with the changing seasons.” Alongside her bouquets and installations, Hayley also runs workshops in and around Newquay where guests can create flower crowns, wreaths or table arrangements all under her excellent tutelage in a fun and friendly environment.

When not creating her floral artistry, Hayley has fully embraced Newquay’s burgeoning coffee culture and can often be found having a pre-work cold water swim followed by a coffee at Basket Café (one of her favourites), and after work she enoys dinner at one of the town’s frequent pop-ups. She has also recently embarked on a pottery course with Wesley Yard neighbours Wedge Studio: “I love it, it’s so therapeutic and calming, and actually one of the few times where I can really switch off,” says Hayley.

And life seems to have come full circle for Hayley as friend Jade, who helped her launch Blooms, has recently launched her own foodie business, Naughty Nonnas. The girls will be collaborating with Hayley supplying installation pieces and dining styling, while Jade cooks up a feast – their first pop-up, held at Wedge earlier this month, was a sell-out success. It’s clear that life now for Hayley is a far cry from the thrum of the city and is blossoming on Cornish shores.


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