Anna Greenland is a vegetable gardener and cook at the heart of the organic growing movement. A descendant of a long line of gardeners, she spent three years running Raymond Blanc's vegetable garden and was Head Gardener at Soho Farmhouse. She is now creating her own organic vegetable gardens at her home near Snape Maltings in Brandeston, Suffolk. Grow Easy is her first book.
Congratulations on your book Grow Easy. What inspired you to write this?
During the first lockdown I was inundated with requests for gardening advice. I realised there were a lot of people out there who needed basic, no nonsense information on how to grow their own food. A lot of gardening books already assume some prior knowledge, but I wanted to make Grow Easy accessible to brand new gardeners too.
What is your ‘go-to’ recipe from the book?
I include a recipe for a Calendula Salve which I make all the time at home. It’s a soothing salve for tired gardeners' hands or skin irritations – think stings, burns, eczema, scrapes and grazes. It is a staple in our house, especially great for my toddler who is always in the wars, and makes a lovely gift for friends and family.
The gentle Anna Greenland, who looks after the vegetable garden and carries old wisdom and deep understanding of the seasons in her young soul, which is beautiful to see.
You currently live in Suffolk, what prompted your move to the country?
We had lived in Cornwall for many years, then moved to Oxford when I got the job with Raymond Blanc. Oxford is beautiful, but I’m a country girl at heart and was pining to be out of the city. My husband is from Suffolk and I spent a lot of time here on holidays as a child. We tentatively started looking and our dream project popped up. We’d found a tumble-down barn to renovate with some land. Within a week our Oxford house was up for sale and the wheels were in motion.
Name one of your most treasured possessions.
I have a first edition book Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets by John Evelyn from 1699. He talks about all the wild and cultivated vegetables that he enjoyed. It’s a fascinating window into life at that time and has inspired me to grow beautiful salads plants.
What is your favourite way to spend a day in Suffolk?
We have some lovely walks where we live near Brandeston. A long walk finishing at the pub is ideal. The Queen in Brandeston is a good meeting point for the village to gather, and I like the Easton White Horse and the Station in Framlingham. I’ve also recently discovered the Low House in Laxfied which is a wonderful community run pub. Then home to cook up some food from the wonderful suppliers that we have here in Suffolk. I love the butchers Salter and King and Passion for Seafood for fish. And for organic vegetables and other lovely produce Maple Farm.
If you could add three things to your home from our shop what would you choose?
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