The 7th May 2016
This Saturday, May 7, marks the 11th annual World Naked Gardening Day, which is exactly what it sounds like: Get naked, go outside, prune some things. Why should you be gardening naked, putting yourself at risk for sunburns and rashes in uncomfortable places, you may ask?
Well, according to the organizers’ website, “Second only to swimming, gardening is at the top of the list of family-friendly activities people are most ready to consider doing nude.” We have no statistics on that, but sure, why not! “Moreover,” they write, “our culture needs to move toward a healthy sense of both body acceptance and our relation to the natural environment.” That sounds cool, too!
However, gardening can be a dangerous activity, made even more so by your intimate bits being exposed to the elements. So here are a few tips on how to stay safe this World Naked Gardening Day.
1) Make sure you can actually be naked
The World Naked Gardening Day site lists “park cleanups” and “community gardening” as ways you can participate. But stripping down and riding the subway to go pick up trash at your local park will probably get you arrested. Your best bet is to stay on your own (or a good friend’s) property.
But if you’re going to go public, brush up on your local nudity laws. Fun fact: In New York City, it is perfectly legal for women to be topless in any public space, so feel free to go weeding in Central Park, ladies!
2) SPF is your friend
So are sandals.
3) Learn the power of the suggestive Instagram
Remember that scene in Austin Powers where everyone is naked but their private parts are covered up by well-placed fruit? Recreate that in your backyard. Take tips from this guy, who has mastered the art of angling flowers. [NSFW]
4) Keep it to gardening
World Naked Beekeeping Day sounds a little dangerous.
5) At least once, hold hands with everyone around you and dance in a circle
It’s just tradition.
6) Consider your tools
Given that your body will be unprotected from the elements, you may want to avoid any gardening chores that require picks, shears, or this “super shovel,” a.k.a. murder weapon. So go ahead, water your garden. Pick some fruit. Rub fresh lemongrass between your hands, breathe in the scent, and think to yourself how lucky you are to be alive in the bright sunlight. Just don’t accidentally stab yourself.
7) Avoid Poison Ivy
Leaves of three, let it be.
World Naked Gardening Day is Here — 12th Year of Putting Humans Back in Touch with Nature
“Sweet, sane, still Nakedness in Nature! –ah if poor, sick, prurient humanity in cities might really know you once more! Is not nakedness then indecent? No, not inherently. It is your thought, your sophistication, your fear, your respectability that is indecent. There come moods when these clothes of ours are not only too irksome to wear, but are themselves indecent. Perhaps indeed he or she to whom the free exhilarating ecstasy of nakedness in Nature has never been eligible (and how many thousands there are!) has not really known what purity is–nor what faith or art or health really is.”
– Walt Whitman, Specimen Day
World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD) is an annual international event celebrated on the first Saturday of May by gardeners and non-gardeners alike. WNGD has become a growing annual tradition that celebrates weeding, planting flowers and trimming hedges in the buff.
This year’s naked day of planting is on May 7th, and it is the 12th annual celebration. As the news of this unique celebration spreads, it has left many people wondering, why garden naked?
Well, according to the group who founded WNGD, first of all, it’s fun! Second only to swimming, gardening is at the top of the list of family-friendly activities people are most ready to consider doing nude. Moreover, our culture needs to move toward a healthy sense of both body acceptance and our relation to the natural environment. Gardening naked is not only a simple joy, it reminds us–even if only for those few sunkissed minutes–that we can be honest with who we are as humans and as part of this planet.
WNGD has no political agenda and is not owned by any particular group. It is a loose-knit group of people all over the world who encourage others to garden in the buff as a way of getting back in touch with our humanity and planetary ties.
All too often, we humans get caught up in our day to day lives and forget where we came from and how to live in harmony with the rest of the life on this planet. The results of humans detaching themselves from nature are evident everywhere.
If one feels their ancestral ties to the earth and all of the life on it, one seeks out how to live in harmony with that life rather than exploit or destroy it. What better way to reboot those spiritual bonds with mother earth than to remove your clothing and nurture and interact with plants that provide us with so much beauty and sustenance?
“When you’re out there with a gentle breeze on you, every last hair on your body feels it,” the WNGD site reads. “You feel completely connected with the natural world in a way you just can’t in clothes.”
As mainstream media will attempt to paint this holiday in a silly and shameful light, it is important to approach it with an open mind. Releasing our societal bondage and reclaiming our ancient roots is nothing to be ashamed of or kept hidden away — and it will inevitably lead to a better understanding of one’s self.
In case you are left wondering how to start your sacred bond with the planet next Saturday, the kind folks at WNGD have some tips. First of all, on the first Saturday of May, find an opportunity to get naked and do some gardening. Do so alone, with friends, with family, with your gardening club, or with any other group collected for that purpose. Do it inside your house, in your backyard, on a hiking trail, at a city park, or on the streets. Stay private or go public. Make it a quiet time or make it a public splash. Just get naked and make your part of the botanical world a healthier and more attractive place.
Secondly, the group encourages you to tell someone about your experience. No one owns this event, so it does not matter whom you tell, but tell someone. Tell your friends about your day of naked gardening; write down what you thought of it and email it to your local newspaper; post your thoughts and images on social media and let the world know — you are connected and unafraid.
I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked; I am mad for it to be in contact with me.
– Walt Whitman: From Song of Myself (1855)
Good news, gardeners: World Naked Gardening Day is happening on Saturday, May 7, this year. That means that all you horticultural exhibitionists have a few days to get in shape for the big day of planting and pruning.
But, how to best tackle this bare-all out-of-doors event in the age of Instagram and when most hibernating Mainers are just starting to realize that layers will soon be shed?
We’ve got you covered. But first, will you get arrested for tip-toeing through the tulips without a stitch?
“We have never arrested a naked gardener. I have arrested a naked woman on a lawnmower for OUI,” confirms Bangor Police Department Sgt. Tim Cotton. “It was night and she was not doing lawn maintenance, as far as I could tell.”If you are dropping your drawers, unbuttoning your blouse and ditching all underpinnings en route to your raised beds on this high holiday, keep this in mind.
“We would more than likely summons a person for nudity if we had a complainant and if the person’s genitals were easily seen and offensive to someone else,” said Cotton. “I would say that nude gardening in your own backyard is not typically a problem for us here in Bangor.”
Phew. We are all clear to garden in our birthday suits: Bangor or bust!
Tips for successful naked gardening
For optimal results, follow these best practices for World Naked Gardening Day compiled by the BDN features team.
Hats on. You can and should wear a hat if it’s sunny. This adds shade — and perhaps a dash of modesty.
Ticks. This quasi-holiday is a field day for deer ticks, the scourge of the fullest-clothed gardener. On naked gardening day, think of all the crevices they can penetrate. When the day’s done, be sure to check, check, check everywhere.
Sunscreen. Slather on the 50 SPF sunscreen, paying close attention to parts you never knew existed. We don’t want to know what the nether regions look like scorched. Ouch!
No crouching. For sanitary reasons, it might be a good idea to reserve this day for raking, grafting, using the rototiller and all other vertical work.
No pricks. This isn’t a good day for pruning raspberry patches. Or rose bushes.
Own it. If you are going to do it, garden in the buff with pride. If your neighbors stop in shock, just wave! It’s your day.
Check the weather. During this chilly spring, catching the flu or a nasty cold could put a damper on this freewheeling parade. In Bangor, it’s forecast to be 67 and raining. Cotton suggests you plan accordingly.
“There might be weather challenges this year for those that choose to participate in this worthy event,” Cotton said.
The Naturist Society has been a leader in promoting body acceptance and nude recreation for more than 20 years.
“Officially, The Naturist Society was formed in 1980. Unofficially, however, it goes back much further, to the American “free beach” movement of the 1970s and, earlier still, to a back-to-nature ethos that emerged in Europe during the industrial revolution.”