Many of us have likely, at one time or another, skinny dipped. Have you ever felt the desire to weed your garden in the buff though? Maybe you have daydreamed of walking naked through the flowerbed or even tilling the soil “au naturel.” Well, my friends, you can do just that in May. Yes, that’s what I said! The Annual World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD) is real, and it’s celebrated on the first Saturday of May. Alrighty, so now that you know it’s doable, there are some things to “bare” in mind before you strip off those outer garments and jump right in.
What is World Naked Gardening Day?
World Naked Gardening Day was established in 2005. Mark Storey began the event with his friends following a survey in which people answered the question, “What do you like to do while nude?” Of course, swimming (skinny dipping) came in at the top of the list but, surprisingly, gardening came in at a close second. It has since become an annual tradition that celebrates weeding, planting, and pruning in the buff. Okay, so why would anyone really want to go naked in the garden? Well, for starters, according to the WNGD website, “It’s fun, costs no money, runs no unwanted risk, reminds us of our tie to the natural world, and does something good for the environment.” Best of all, its founders go on to say, “It doesn’t matter what kind of body shape you have or how old you are.” Be it alone, as a group, or whatever, it’s simply an opportunity to be outside with no clothes on – one with nature, as it was intended. There are no rules for gardening naked, so if you happen to find yourself in need of a hat or shoes, that’s perfectly okay. Just for fun, as if being naked isn’t fun enough for ya, why not really get into the garden naked spirit by planting something within this theme? Include interesting plants like:
- Naked ladies (Lycoris squamigera)
- Fanny’s aster (Symphyotichum oblongifolium ‘Fanny’)
- ‘Buff Beauty’ rose (Rosa x ‘Buff Beauty’)
- Naked man orchid (Orchis italica)
- Naked-seeded oats (Avena nuda) or naked buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum)
- Nipplefruit (Solanum mammosum)
- Nude sheath bamboo (Phyllostachys nuda)
- Naked star tulip (Calochortus nudus)
- Pig butt arum (Helicodiceros muscivorus)
- Woollybutt tree (Eucalyptus longifolia)
You get the general idea, as I am obviously having too much fun with this.
Gardening in the Buff Precautions
Whether you are naked in the garden alone or with a few friends, it does have some risks. Here are precautions to take should you decide to take part in the garden naked day: Check local laws – Many cities and neighborhoods have garden laws, ordinances, or other regulations with regards to placement, design, structures, and even plants for the garden. That being said, what you can wear OR NOT might also be a consideration. In many areas, it’s against the law to be naked anywhere you are visible to other people outside of your own property. Since public nudity laws vary from place to place, it’s important (and smart) to look into these before you disrobe in your neck of the woods. Avoid sharp instruments/plants – Keep a safe distance from sharp tools like hedge trimmers, shears, pruners, saws, scythes, and even weed whackers – especially the fellas. You may also want to avoid those thorny plants too, so the rose bush or yucca plant can be tended to later. When it comes to weeding, forgo the poison ivy/oak patch... just sayin! Beware of pests (not just nosy neighbors) – Beware of insects like ticks and chiggers in some areas. Be sure to get a thorough inspection following your naked day in the garden and take a shower to wash away any offending hitchhikers, along with dirt. Oh, and you may want to avoid being naked in the garden in the evening hours, as mosquitoes are most active then and are always looking for a good meal. If you feel the need, however, wear some bug spray! Protect your skin – If you have raw-chicken white skin like me, then you already know the importance of wearing sunscreen, even with your clothes on. It’s just as important to also apply this to the more delicate regions of your body where the “sun doesn’t often shine” to avoid painful sunburns. Consider privacy – This should be a given, but if you have nosy neighbors or are shy like me, it may be a good idea to screen off the garden or patio for privacy. Of course, not everyone is keen on looking out the window and seeing their neighbor, or anyone for that matter, walking around naked in the garden. At the very least, you should let your neighbors know that you intend to take part in WGND. If you’re really shy or worried about the neighbors, do it behind closed doors in the safety of your home by tending to indoor plants. So now that you know about the bare basics, on the first Saturday of May, get naked and do some gardening. Do it in your house, do it in your backyard, do it on a hiking trail, wherever. Be private about it or go public. Just get naked in the garden and celebrate natural beauty!
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Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.