Donkey Sanctuary garden to showcase international work

The Donkey Sanctuary will celebrate its 50th anniversary at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show with a garden in the Artisan Category showcasing its international work for animal welfare.

The Donkeys Matter‘ 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 in 2010 for an Artisan Garden celebrating a Devon-based music festival.

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

A pathway will traverse the garden from bottom left to top right, representing the many journeys donkeys carry out on behalf of communities. 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 30-60 litres 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.

Designers, Annie and Christina point out that Donkeys were a big part of their childhood and they 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,” they said.

Planting will be suggestive of the dry Mediterranean with bright vibrant flowers featuring beauty and colour amid the harsh surroundings of the garden. Natural reclaimed stone and timber will be used throughout, providing visual cohesion and authenticity.

CEO The Donkey Sanctuary, Mike Baker is delighted that the charity has a garden at the prestigious show to celebrate the charity’s 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,” he said.

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.

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

The garden will be built by Frogheath Landscapes who have won two Gold Medals at Chelsea – 2-14 for The Potter’s Garden and 2015 for ‘A Trugmaker’s Garden’.

Annie and Christina work together mainly on large private gardens in London and the South West of England.

The Donkey Sanctuary has 10 sanctuaries around the UK and Europe providing lifelong care to over 6,000 donkeys and mules.

Photo credits: All photographs ©The Donkey Sanctuary/Garden plan ©Williams and Prebersen