Gardening might not sound like a high-pressure job, but try doing it under Raymond Blanc. “It was full on,” says Anna Greenland of her years as head vegetable grower at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Blanc’s two Michelin-starred restaurant and hotel. “Raymond’s a perfectionist: we’d grow hundreds of different varieties of vegetable to get the right flavour.”

For Anna, who is passionate about organic growing, it was an ideal training ground. “When Raymond started Le Manoir 30 years ago, it was unheard of to have a vegetable garden alongside your restaurant,” she says. “Now, if you’re a good chef, it’s almost a given.”

 

 

Anna’s parents were keen gardeners, but she first trained as a journalist. Waitressing at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant in the evenings, she got talking to local farmers and growers. “I started growing stuff for Jamie and for local markets, and just loved it. I’d come to work and see ‘Anna’s broad beans’ on the menu. It was cool.”

Anna completed her horticulture training in California – “the mecca of all things organic” – and before Le Manoir, worked at the renowned Huntington Botanical Gardens in LA. She is thrilled to be leading the design of the vegetable gardens at Farmhouse, growing produce for the bars and restaurants and cookery school on site. “I’ve got a blank canvas – it’s a really lucky break,’ she says.

Anna plans regular garden walks with Soho House chefs and bartenders. “This first year will be about experimentation, seeing what works on the soil here and taste-testing. I want to get as many of the young chefs in there as possible too. That experience of seeing something harvested can provide inspiration for dishes and drinks.”

 

Anna’s guide to cocktail gardens

"Herbs are ideal if you want to make a drink a bit more unusual. They tend to be low maintenance and will grow in any sunny spot – even a very small outdoor space.

Try coriander in mojitos and gin collins. Place in a sunny position that offers some shade during the day. Coriander does best in light to well-drained soil. Like all herbs, water it in the morning, not at night."

Sage and Borage

"Try sage in honey cocktails. Cut the leaves right back in the spring, and top with fresh compost at autumn so it will spring back up again the following year. Fine in pots.

Borage is easy to grow from seed, just don’t let it dry out. Try freezing the flowers in ice cubes: they maintain their colour and look really pretty. Try borage in Pimm's.

Rosemary, Lavender and Verbena

"Rosemary is a tough plant that does well in containers and open ground. Don’t over-water. Try it in citrus cocktails or champagne.

Lavender is good for negronis. Buy plants, not seeds. Hidcote is a reliable variety. After it flowers, trim right back to the leaves."

Verbena is my favourite herb ever! It won’t stand frost, so between October and May bring it inside to a sunny windowsill. Try it in gin cocktails."

Garden Collins

Try lemon thyme in gin fizz, whisky sours A drought-loving plant, so only water when the leaves start to lose colour. Trim after it flowers to encourage new growth.

"This is a simple but effective take on a classic. Shake 50ml Bombay Sapphire with 25ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, 20ml sugar syrup and two freshly picked herbs (try lemon thyme with lavender). Strain into a highball, top with soda and garnish with herbs and a lemon wedge."

Soho Farmhouse

Enjoy the fruits of the kitchen garden at Soho Farmhouse