Page 3. " I left gardening college and came to work at the Royal Horticultural Society. "

RHS Wisley
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeRHS Wisley - Credit: Adam Greig
Britain's Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood. The goal of the society was to "collect plant information and encourage the improvement of horticultural practice."

In the 1820s, the society held the first of its popular flower shows at the Duke of Devonshire's estate in Chiswick.The 1850s saw a decline in membership and the society was forced to sell the contents of its library which contained many rare volumes and drawings.

In 1861, Prince Albert, the society's president, revived its fortune by rewriting the charter and renaming the organization The Royal Horticultural Society. The society began a new garden in Kensington, which remained its home until 1888. Its funds replenished with help from the royal family, the society was also able to purchase John Lindley's collection in 1866. The Lindley Library is now the world's foremost horticultural collection, containing over 50,000 books, 1,500 periodicals and 18,000 botanical drawings.

The Royal Horticultural Society is perhaps best known for its annual event, the Chelsea Flower Show, which has been held in the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital since 1913. Wisley is the Society's flagship garden.

"The Royal Horticultural Society continues to encourage the science, art and practice of horticulture in all its branches. It is now the world's leading horticultural organisation, with extremely active science and educational departments."

from - Royal Horticultural Society

Page 10. " Virginia Woolf, the novelist and essayist "

Adeline Virginia Stephen was born on 25 January 1882 in London. Her father was Leslie Stephen (1832-1904), the first editor of the Dictionary of National Biography.  Virginia's mother was Julia Margaret Cameron (1846-95). Both Virginia's parents had been previously married and so, in total, there were eight children living at 22 Hyde Park Gate, Kensington. Summers were spent in St Ives.

While at Cambridge, Virgina's younger brother, Thoby, befriended Leonard Woolf, Clive Bell, Saxon Sydney-Turner, Lytton Strachey and Maynard Keynes. This was the nucleus of the Bloomsbury Group. Leonard Woolf was also to become Virginia's husband in 1912.

"Virginia was allowed uncensored access to her father’s extensive library, and from an early age determined to be a writer. Her education was sketchy and she never went to school."

After her mother's unexpected death in 1895 death, Virginia suffered her first mental breakdown. When her father died in 1904, Virginia had her second breakdown.

Virginia began writing her first novel, The Voyage Out in 1908. "It was finished by 1913 but, owing to another severe mental breakdown after her marriage, it was not published until 1915 by Duckworth & Co." Her second novel, Night and Day,  was published in 1919. Virginia is best known for her novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To The Lighthouse (1927) and The Waves (1931).

from The Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain

Virginia Woolf on Book Drum

A Room of One's Own on Book Drum

Page 14. " You're with the Land Girls, then? "

The Women's Land Army (WLA), or 'Land Girls' as they were more commonly called, was a British civilian organization created during the First World War. The Land Girls replaced farming men who had been called up in both world wars. The WLA was formed by the Board of Agriculture in 1915; by the end of 1917 it had over 20,000 members. With conscription in World War 2, that number swelled to 80,000.

The WLA was disbanded in 1950. A badge of honour was presented to over 30,000 former Land Girls in 2008.


Page 15. " That's because he's from Newfoundland, says Raley. "

Newfoundland is Canada's youngest province; it joined Confederation March 31, 1941. Some parts of this island's coast would have been the first land seen by Europeans crossing the Atlantic. Viking explorers from Iceland and Greenland settled here in the 10th century. King Henry the VII awarded John Cabot 10 pounds for discovering the "new isle" in 1497. It is the seventh largest Canadian province, and is slightly larger than Japan.

Google Map


Newfoundland and Labrador Official Site

Page 21. " Trying to find a cure for parsnip canker. "

According to the National Vegetable Society, parsnip canker is disease which causes the parsnip to blacken around the top and work its way down the vegetable rendering it  unusable. One of the various fungi that can cause the disease is Itersonilia pastinaceae which is found in the soil. The disease usually occurs in autumn and, according to Down Gardening Services, " sowing later to avoid root fly damage and earthing up to prevent spores washed down from the foliage are two measures which can be taken to reduce the problem."

From Down Garden Services

From National Vegetable Society