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Green Acre #336: We Missed Naked Gardening Day!

Start with one basic photo of a naked woman in a wheelbarrow (why? oh Lord, why?), superimpose the face of Baby, LittleBird Stephanie’s daughter, then Photoshop the whole assemblage into a photo of the Cavanaugh back 40. The result is a fitting tribute to Naked Gardening Day, which we missed by more than a month. / Photo illustration by Stephanie Cavanaugh.

By Stephanie Cavanaugh

DRAT. I MISSED World Naked Gardening Day again, as did all of my neighbors—I think. Who really knows what they’re doing in their little fenced patches of city back yard?

I wouldn’t have noticed it myself, except I was reading the New York Times on a poolside lounge in Florida during the sun portion of the mission of mercy the Prince and I were conducting last week and came across a brief mention. If my neighbors were frolicking in the buff, I would have missed it anyway. World Naked Gardening Day was Saturday, May 1.

And what is this curious event? Dreamed up by American naturists, naturally, and endorsed by The Naturist Society, Clothes Free International and American Association for Nude Recreation. World Naked Gardening Day just celebrated its 16th year. It’s always held the first Saturday in May, unless you are in New Zealand, which adopted the last weekend in October, as it’s better suited to their upside-down climate; or in Canada which prefers the first Saturday in June as May is still too nippy in (and for) most parts. 

Mark your calendars for whichever day suits you. 

Perhaps you’re wondering why you should bother reading about an event that was either over last month or, for the Kiwis, will be occurring well into the Fall. Because it is part of the great rabbit hole that is the Internet, here condensed just for you, by me, thereby saving you a morning or more of wandering into strange cyberplaces. It was also mentioned in the New York Times, which lends it a certain gravitas.

The Times referenced Lawnstarter.com, the website for a company I’d never heard of, possibly because I have no lawn. They offer a nationwide lawn-care service that handles your lawn concerns from seeding to mowing, and whatever else one does with grass. They also have some very curious blog posts, including this one, which includes comprehensive and highly informative charts and graphs with lots of numbers and things. For them, espousing naked gardening is perhaps self-serving, since it is strongly suggested by various knowledgeable sites that mowing lawns naked is not for the foolhardy. 

But for many,* any day is fine for shedding your shorts and deadheading the zinnias. Said some page somewhere: “Besides being liberating, nude gardening is second only to swimming as an activity that people are most ready to consider doing nude.”

And as a family activity.


Here are some facts and tips culled from Lawnstarter that I uncovered. 

Of the top 100 cities least interested in searching Google for naked gardening, Washington DC is number 94. One might think that’s because residents are too busy being important, or paranoid about being discovered. But how then to understand Laredo, Texas, which comes in dead last?

Meanwhile, the No. 1 city researching naked gardening is New York, a place where most would struggle to keep an aspidistra alive on a windowsill, if they have a window. Is that not fascinating?

For actually gardening in the buff, Miami sits on top. I suppose it is not surprising that naked gardening is more a thing in warmer climates: All of the most popular spots are ether in Florida or on the West Coast. 

And now, from around the web (don’t ask where), 10 tips—because people like 10 tips. 

  1. Avoid gardening naked in the front yard.
  2. Do not garden naked in a community plot.
  3. Think twice about power tools.
  4. Roses and cactus, any plants with thorns, are best tackled fully clothed, as are patches of poison ivy. Suggested safe plants include Peter PepperTeton de Venus tomato, and German Johnson tomato.
  5. Apply sunscreen liberally. 
  6. Bug spray too. 
  7. Shoes and gloves don’t count. Wear them.
  8. Be careful where you squat.
  9. Watch out for the law.
  10. And my favorite: Keep it classy!

*Many is a fuzzy number since no one seems to know how many naked gardeners are out there. Indeed, there may be more writers writing about naked gardening than there are naked gardening enthusiasts. 


2 thoughts on “Green Acre #336: We Missed Naked Gardening Day!

  1. stephanie cavanaugh says:

    Oh maggie — would that I knew that old joke when I was writing!

  2. Maggie Hall says:

    Thank you – a laugh a line! And that picture of your daughter is a keeper. Though it would not be a good illustration for the old joke I’m reminded of: garden in the nude – it’s cheaper and far more effective than a scarecrow.

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