Working with Anna Greenland
I first met Anna at a friend’s party in Thorpe Ness, Suffolk. I mention this as after an exciting period designing and establishing the kitchen gardens at Soho Farmhouse, she has since moved to the county.
On first meeting, our conversation quickly focused on her work as an advocate for organic gardening and food production, and on her work as a horticultural consultant. Her position on the world of green was inspiring and I was delighted she recognised these values were paralleled in the Pomarius works.
Anna invited me over to Oxfordshire to work with some of the produce being produced at Soho Farmhouse where she was still working at the time. I was given free rein of the incredible raised bed kitchen garden - all built from scratch and overseen by Anna and her team. The food grown was utilised for Farmhouse guests - supplying the bar, cooking classes and restaurants.
There was also a wonderful chilli house complete with a variety of citrus fruits and climbing cucumber varieties. I had my first encounter with stevia here - nibbling sweet leaves as Anna discussed their trials using the plant in cocktails and drinks. Stevia and the buzzing sensation produced by electric daisies were livening up botanical drink recipes!
Anna is a perfect example of one of the gardening figures I have come to know through Pomarius and so admire the knowledge and insight of. She began her journey into organic horticulture working in Cornwall at the Lost Gardens of Helligan before studying in the US and establishing a sustainable gardening programme there.
She has since won gold for her garden designs at Hampton Court Flower Show, established the Soho Farmhouse vegetable gardens as Head Gardener, and managed Raymond Blanc’s vegetable garden at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. From her home in Suffolk, she’s been producing a wonderful blog alongside instagram insights and tips - a great resource during lockdown when so many people have been turning to their gardens (of all sizes) for solace and rest-bite. (@annagreenland)
Staying at her cottage in Oxfordshire, I recall the piles of books on herbs and their applications alongside drying plants in the windows. For me, this knowledge of plants, history and a commitment to continuing and spreading this knowledge to others is at the centre of the Pomarius series. It is the recognised ‘inherent value’ I talk about being made explicit in the bronze works.
Dedicating yourself to a material or medium - in my case, the casting process - also feels like a common ground shared by those who choose to focus on horticulture. I think it is why I so enjoy collaborating with gardeners, people who also get their hands dirty in the pursuit of their craft.
I’m very excited to be working with Anna again later this year. We’ve been discussing drawing on her knowledge of herbs to produce a new collection of Adpressions - cast bronze plant reliefs - celebrating these humble and sometimes ancient plants. I see this collaboration as yet another opportunity to delight in the knowing and dedication of another to their field, and to rebound off this enthusiasm within my own .
The first image in this entry is from one of the presentations of Pomarius work at Soho Farmhouse. Thanks to Anna for the photos used in this blog. You can read up on her work and gardening advice here - https://www.annagreenland.co.uk