MAXWELL GRAHAM

Joh Bates Studio_Max Graham Garden


Maxwell Graham 

FOLLOWING THE SUCCESS OF HIS POP-UP IN SOHO, THE CHURCHILL’S PORT HOUSE, MAX GRAHAM IS PREPARING TO LAUNCH BAR DOURO, A PORTUGUESE RESTAURANT IN LONDON BRIDGE THIS SEPTEMBER. DRAWING INSPIRATION FROM HIS HOME WITH THE HELP OF RISING STAR CHEF TIAGO SANTOS, BAR DOURO WILL SERVE SMALL PLATES INSPIRED BY TRADITIONAL HOME COOKING, ACCOMPANIED BY A PORTUGUESE WINE LIST SPECIALISING IN WINES AND PORTS FROM THE DOURO VALLEY.

See www.bardouro.co.uk

EARLIEST MEMORY OF A GARDEN 

Our family home growing up in Porto, Portugal. The garden stretches along narrow terraces carving the steep granite valley. Passion fruit flowers creep up stone walls and agapanthus conceal the bird fountain where we made mud pies. Through the orange and lemon groves the river Douro can be seen meeting the Atlantic. I remember spotting Toby the tortoise for the first time out of hibernation under the magnolia tree and running the fearful gauntlet to our playroom at the bottom of the garden, guarded by Donaldo, a fierce yellow duck.

Joh Bates Studio_Maxwell Graham Bottom Garden

Our family home in Porto, Portugal.

FAVOURITE PLANTS

It is a tragedy that my favourite tree has fallen victim to the red palm weevil, a greedy beetle decimating palm trees across Portugal. For centuries these trees have punctuated the cityscape with their flamboyant hairdos; today their balding heads bow in melancholy.

Pink camellias because they are the first thing I see when I return to our family home in Portugal.

The Cardoon thistle-like flower for its architectural form, with sprouting, phosphorescent, purple bristles. It is also used as a coagulant to make my favourite Serra da Estrela cheese.

Wild hydrangeas in the Minho region in different shades of lavender and blue.

Almond tree blossom, which from late February covers the Douro valley in a sheet of snow.

Cobalt blue-violet agapanthus

Joh Bates Studio_Maxwell Graham Palm tree

A palm tree with red palm weevil

WHAT AND WHERE IS YOUR GARDEN NOW

At the back of our ground floor flat in White City, we have a small garden with lots of Bamboo. Jasmine grows up the stairwell and prickly cactus and succulents thrive in terrariums.

FAVOURITE GARDEN OR OUTDOOR SPACE, WHY?

I spend my summers in the Minho, a region in the North of Portugal. Man still works the land with ox and cart and mourning widows, dressed in black, scythe the fields. Terraces burst with vegetation and the meadows are painted with wild hydrangeas, cherry blossom and orange trees. The vines that train along the edges of fields and climb up pergolas yield refreshing vinho verdes, and pine forests climb sleepy hills, whose burnished granite peaks sit wrapped in lavender. The narrow river meanders its way through the valley, racing towards an overgrown waterfall, which once powered a ruined bread mill. The Atlantic Ocean roars in the distance beyond the sunblushed cornfields.

Joh Bates Studio_Maxwell Graham The Minho

The Minho

MONEY IS NO OBJECT, DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM GARDEN

A walled garden housing all manners of exotic trees, shrubs and blooms allowed to run riot among mysterious dens and hidden stone niches, with a door that leads out to a wild meadow with views of the Atlantic beyond.

 There would also be a working kitchen garden, packed with heritage vegetables and fruit orchards, and a large wood-burning stove for lunches in the sun.

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