Meet The Volunteer: Chris

What is your name?

Mr Chris Wylam

Why did you decide to volunteer, was there a particular thing or person who inspired you?

As a local, I have been visiting West Dean Gardens for many years and have been impressed with the transformation and its evolution over time.

Having spent my career restoring antique clocks in a workshop in Bosham, I was keen to spend more time outdoors connecting with nature.

Recently, having found more free time, I have been visiting the gardens on a more regular basis intending to gain ideas and inspiration for my garden. This led me to strike up a conversation with one of the full-time staff members who suggested I might like to consider becoming a volunteer gardener here at West Dean.

What is your favourite spot in the garden?

This is an almost impossible question to answer for me. But if I had to choose it would probably be the Walled Garden and especially the magnificent Victorian Glasshouses for their heritage and architectural beauty.

Have you developed any new skills since you started volunteering at West Dean?

My previous horticultural knowledge has been very limited but, since volunteering, with the help of the full-time staff and the other volunteers, I am gaining valuable knowledge and learning more new skills all the time. I am enjoying a huge variety of daily tasks. These can include pruning an apple tree, cutting grass, or maintaining flower displays.

How has it been to work with your fellow volunteers?

Since becoming a volunteer at West Dean Gardens, I have had a chance to meet some amazing people and I enjoy working and mixing with like-minded individuals.

What are your plans? 

I just have enrolled on an RHS Level 2 course in Horticulture. I plan to continue developing my skills in this field.