top of page

March Lecture at Purley Barn



a talk by Francesca Murray

Tuesday 19 March 2024 at 7.30pm

In the wonderful old surroundings of Purley barn, Francesca Murray, gardener and garden history enthusiast, will give a talk on Perennial as it celebrates 185 years of helping people in horticulture.  We will hear about the work of Perennial, its history, and what it does in the 21st century to help gardeners.

We’ll also explore the gardens Perennial has been gifted such as Sir Roy Strong’s gift this year of The Laskett Gardens in Herefordshire (illustrated below and left) to Perennial to mark his 85th birthday.

Francesca is studying for a PhD at Queen Mary University of London on Nineteenth-century gardeners, nurserymen, and the associations that came to their aid. She has a Masters in Garden History from the University of Buckingham and is a contributor of garden history articles and guest speaker for Perennial, the modern-day Gardener’s Royal Benevolent institution, and a trustee of the Gardens Trust.

She has co-written a history of Exbury Gardens with Lionel de Rothschild, The Eighth Wonder of the World: Exbury Gardens and the Rothschilds, published in 2022.
Francesca’s talk will address her research on the Gardeners Royal Benevolent Institution and destitute gardeners of the 19th century.  This is not as depressing as it might sound but relates to Exbury and other gardens that we all enjoy and visit. Many of the Charity’s recipients worked as head gardeners and nurserymen supplying these gardens and many of the garden owners supported the Charity, and still do today.

In 1952 a residential home for retired gardeners was opened at Horton, Berkshire and an appeal for £20,000 appeared in The Times.

Venue: Purley Barn, off Beech Road, Purley-on-Thames, Berkshire RG8 8DR.

Time: Please arrive on Wednesday 19th March from 7.30 pm on and the talk will start at 8pm.  If you have any dietary restrictions, please email immediately after booking.

Booking: Tickets are £12 (BGT members) and £15 for non-members. 


Queries: Kim Hacker at BerksGTmembership@gmail for queries about lecture, ot to let us know if you have any dietary restrictions.

NOTE: We will be taking photos during this event. Please let Kim know when you arrive if you do NOT wish to have your photo taken.

Pictures courtesy of Clive Nichols, Perennial & Charlesdrakew, Public Domain.

Perennial 1.jpg
Perennial 2.jpg.png
bottom of page