Chitra Nagarajaiah

Chitra reconnected with her childhood and confidently tackled new challenges through an RHS qualification

My interest in gardening stems from my love of cooking. My philosophy regarding fresh ingredients dates from my childhood. I grew up in India among a family of farmers. My childhood memories of food are of celebrating seasonality, eating local and eating fresh. I was inspired by my father, whose love of food meant he always sought out the highest quality ingredients that were fresh, in season and in abundance.

For me, gardening gives me a connection to food and life. I can switch off, sweat it out, relax, meditate and be in tune with myself when gardening.

To improve my skills, I enrolled on a horticultural course teaching an RHS qualifcation, which encourages gardening amateurs and professionals alike. The course has been a valuable learning experience and exceeded my expectations.

I’ve enjoyed the process of learning about things I knew so little about. I’ve loved it so much, I’m planning to do another! I am a novice in the gardening world. This course has provided me with a good foundation and at the same time has stimulated my interest so that I voluntarily spend time in deeper study into certain topics. I have learned lots of new things and gained confidence to try new things.

Although my main career is in medicine, taking this course was a leap of faith and one of the best decisions I’ve made – the experience and knowledge I’ve gained is invaluable. In the future I am hoping to incorporate gardening into my clinical practice as it can have such a positive influence on wellbeing.

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The RHS offers a range of qualifcations for people interested in learning more about horticulture or hoping to launch a career in the industry.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.