The Donkey Sanctuary has been awarded an Artisan Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, the name of which will be 'Donkeys Matter'.

The garden will act as a focal point to celebrate the charity’s 50th anniversary and to showcase its international work. The Donkey Sanctuary was able to apply for a garden thanks to the generosity of a long-term supporter.

The ‘Donkeys Matter’ garden will use water as its central theme. The garden will demonstrate how owning a donkey means access to clean, fresh water for some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world.

The garden will be brought to life by North Devon’s Williams and Prebensen Garden Designs, who won a Gold Medal and Best in Show at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2010 for an Artisan Garden celebrating a Devon-based music festival.

The key design feature of the ‘Donkeys Matter’ garden is a path traversing from bottom left to top right representing the many journeys donkeys carry out on behalf of communities where no ‘white van’ or family car can travel. The garden will also feature a shelter and a well with a dripping bucket.

In places like Namibia, Lamu, Somaliland and Ethiopia donkeys are used to collect water for whole communities. A donkey will often collect 40 – 60 litres of water at one time. The simple act of a donkey carrying water reduces the time required to access it, freeing children to get an education and women to be economically active.

The Donkey Sanctuary CEO, Mike Baker, says: “How fantastic – a Donkey Sanctuary garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in our 50th year!

“Our garden will help showcase just how important donkeys are and why they matter so much. Their contribution to humanity is huge. The ‘Donkeys Matter’ garden will demonstrate how owning a donkey means access to clean, fresh water for some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world.

“This opportunity really wouldn’t be possible without the generous donation of one of our long-term supporters – I would like to put on record my sincere thanks and gratitude to them.”

Annie Prebensen and Christina Williams say: “Donkeys were a big part of our childhood as we both grew up with them. We have a real fondness and appreciation for these gentle, hardworking animals, so we were delighted to be asked by The Donkey Sanctuary to design an Artisan Garden to explain why ‘Donkeys Matter’.”

The planting of the ‘Donkeys Matter’ garden is suggestive of the dry Mediterranean. Bright vibrant flowers will bring beauty and colour to the harsh surroundings of the garden. Natural reclaimed stone and timber will be used throughout, providing visual cohesion and authenticity.

2019 will see The Donkey Sanctuary celebrating 50 years of championing the cause of donkeys and mules. Since its foundation in 1969 by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, The Donkey Sanctuary has grown from a charity rescuing UK donkeys from neglect and abuse to an international animal welfare organisation transforming the lives of millions of donkeys and mules, and the people who depend on them for their livelihood.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 will take place from 21-25 May 2019. The ‘Donkeys Matter’ garden will be located on Serpentine Walk, site number is 564.

The generous donation made by the long-term supporter was expressly for a garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower to showcase The Donkey Sanctuary’s international work and to highlight the plight of donkeys and their contribution to humanity.