Why? The Podcast is a show dedicated to bringing the world closer together, one question at a time. The hosts recently spoke with our own Bill Schroer about World Naked Gardening Day. Listen to the episode at this link!
People across the globe are encouraged, on the first Saturday of May, to tend their portion of the world’s garden unclothed as nature intended.
Gardening has a timeless quality, and anyone can do it: young and old, singles or groups, the fit and infirm, urban and rural. An elderly lady in a Manhattan apartment can plant new annuals in her window box. Families can rake leaves in their back yard. Freehikers can pull invasive weeds along their favorite stretch of trail.
Why garden naked? 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.
All that’s involved is getting naked and making the world’s gardens–whatever their size, public or private–healthier and more attractive. WNGD has no political agenda, nor is it owned or organized by any one particular group. Naked individuals and groups are encouraged to adopt the day for themselves.
Events like WNGD can help develop a sense of community among people of every stripe. Taking part in something that is bigger than any one household, naturist group, or gardening club can move gardeners with an au naturel joie de vivre toward becoming a community. And in the case of WNGD, 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.
So what should you do? 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. Just get naked and make your part of the botanical world a healthier and more attractive place.
World Naked Gardening Day is Saturday, May 4, 2024!
World Naked Gardening Day is always the first Saturday in May.
WNGD at Oaklake Trails
Glyn Stout Broom Pulling Day at Lupin Lodge
Los Gatos, CA
WNGD at Lake Edun
Alice in Wonderland Garden Party at Willamettans
WGND at Travelites Nudist Retreat
WNGD at Toadally Natural Garden
WNGD at Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park
WNGD at Sky Farm
Basking Ridge, NJ
Previously, WNGD has taken place on:
Saturday, September 10, 2005, Innaugural
Saturday, September 9, 2006, 2nd Annual
Saturday, May 5, 2007, 3rd Annual (date switched to May for first time, first Saturday)
Saturday, May 3, 2008, 4th Annual
Saturday, May 2, 2009, 5th Annual
Saturday, May 8, 2010, 6th Annual (2010, 2011 set to 2nd Saturday, instead of first)
Saturday, May 14, 2011, 7th Annual
Saturday, May 5, 2012, 8th Annual
Saturday, May 4, 2013, 9th Annual
Saturday, May 3, 2014, 10th Annual
Saturday, May 2, 2015, 11th Annual
Saturday, May 7, 2016, 12th Annual
Saturday, May 6, 2017, 13th Annual
Saturday, May 5, 2018, 14th Annual
Saturday, May 4, 2019, 15th Annual
Saturday, May 2, 2020, 16th Annual
Saturday, May 1, 2021, 17th Annual
Saturday, May 7, 2022, 18th Annual
Saturday, May 6, 2023, 19th Annual
World Naked Gardening Day is a family-friendly phenomenon. For specific questions or media inquiries, please contact:
Share the joy and freedom of naked gardening with others around the world!
Naturist Education Foundation (NEF) is an educational and informational public charity. NEF hosts the WNGD website and is a publisher of naturist material. NEF also operates the NEF Research Library and commissions public opinion surveys that reflect and measure attitudes toward nudity.
Naturist Action Committee (NAC) exists to advance and protect the rights of naturists throughout North America. NAC supports the responsible recreational nude use of public lands. NAC monitors legislative and bureaucratic actions and steps in with grass roots action, lobbyists and lawyers, as necessary.
The Naturist Society Foundation has been a leader in promoting body acceptance and nude recreation for more than 30 years. The Naturist Society is also the home of Nude & Natural (N) magazine, the leading publication on naturism in the United States and the authority on socially responsible and adventurous social nudity.
The American Association for Nude Recreation is a nudist organization based in the United States. It was founded in 1931 under its previous name, the American Sunbathing Association.
World Naked Bike Ride – It is time to stop indecent exposure to automobile emissions and to celebrate the power and individuality of our bodies! Naked Bicycle People Power!
Wreck Beach Preservation Society seeks to preserve the Wreck Beach area [near University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia], including foreshore and cliffs, in as nearly a natural state as possible from Spanish Banks West to the Musqueam Reserve!
“The body seems to feel beauty when exposed to it as it feels the campfire or sunshine, entering not by the eyes alone, but equally through all one’s flesh like radiant heat, making a passionate ecstatic pleasure glow not explainable.”
– John Muir
“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
As any seasoned horticulturist can attest, gardening involves much more than putting a seed into the dirt, keeping it watered, and watching it grow. Serious agrarians insist on the importance of lore and ritual in gardening. The Old Farmer’s Almanac stresses the importance of planting according to the moon phases. Rural grandmothers will swear that parsley must be planted in three sowings (“two for the devil and one for the gardener”), or that spicier peppers can be achieved if the gardener sows the seeds while angry.
Some even claim that nudity has a role in gardening and horticulture.
In the late 1800s, a group from Indiana purchased land in Crossville, Tennessee and established the Pomona Settlement to tend to the apple orchards of the former Pomona Fruit Ranch, which had been owned by John Wood Dodge, a respected artist whose paintings can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Pomona Settlement drew the attention of locals when it was learned that the women of the group would rise “early in the morning to dance nude in the apple orchards, hoping that the dance would assist the apple-growing process.” It’s not clear if the nude dancing helped with the apples, but two nudist campgrounds did emerge in Crossville, some years later. (1)
In a 1953 essay titled Nakedness in Ozark Folk Belief, folklorist Vance Randolph relays a story about a fisherman who, in the spring of 1920, told him that he had seen a man and woman in a field in Southwest Missouri, just before dawn, “both stark naked, chasing each other up and down like rabbits.” When Randolph mentioned this to a friend who had lived in the area, the friend replied, “Yes, I’ve heard of such doings, it’s supposed to make the corn grow tall.” After subsequently interviewing hundreds of old-timers in the region, Randolph concluded, “There is no doubt in my mind that many early settlers believed that newly cleared fields were benefited by some kind of nude skylarking. Many of them thought that certain crops grew better if the persons who sowed the seed were naked.” Randolph soon uncovered a number of Ozark crop rituals involving nudity, including one in which flax seed was sown by naked farmers chanting, “Up to my ass, and higher too!” (2)
Since then, naked gardening folklore has appeared in a variety of publications. A reader’s letter published in the Spring, 1992 issue of Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living claimed that, “Turnips must be sewn on a summer night when the moon is full with the sower working stark naked in the bright moonlight.” (3)
Even some noted contemporary horticulturists have suggested that there’s a role for nudity in gardening. In 1967, a New York painter named Robert Dash moved to Sagaponack and began work on what would ultimately become The Madoo Conservancy. He spent his days at Madoo painting, writing poetry, and gardening. At certain symposiums, Dash would encourage his audience to consider the “microclimates” of their gardens, which he believed was essential for understanding the best spots to nurture different plants. According to Dash, there was one sure way to identify these microclimates: “Take your clothes off in midsummer and walk around your garden. Let the air be still, and let it be night. You will at once feel the different temperatures on your skin. These are the microclimates to be observed by your plants.” (4)
Janet Draper, the Smithsonian horticulturist responsible for the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden tells gardeners that the ground temperature, not the air temperature, should be considered when deciding when to plant certain annuals. Her advice? Take the “bare bottom test.” “Sow warm weather annuals when you can sit on the soil with your bare bottom comfortably.” (5)
With so much history and folklore surrounding gardening and farming in the nude, it’s only fitting that the activity should have its own dedicated day. In 2005, Nude & Natural magazine consulting editor Mark Storey and permaculturalist Jacob Gabriel founded World Naked Gardening Day, as a project of Seattle’s Body Freedom Collaborative, but the event quickly evolved from its Seattle roots. “No particular organization owns World Naked Gardening Day,” Storey explained in a 2013 interview with the New York Daily News. “It could be a little old lady in downtown Chicago with a potted plant, or a group raking leaves at a nudist club.” (6) The first annual World Naked Gardening Day took place on September 10, 2005, but the event has since moved to the first Saturday in May, and become an international happening.
This year, World Naked Gardening Day will be celebrated on Saturday, May 6. If you have a private garden spot, it’s the perfect opportunity to spend a little time enjoying the spring day. If you’re the adventurous sort, you might consider getting up early and dancing nude in your apple orchard, or grab your loved one and run naked around your freshly-plowed cornfield like a “pair of rabbits.” Perhaps take a moment that evening to strip down and locate the “microclimates” in your backyard, or find yourself an empty plot of dirt and try the “bare bottom test.” If you’re feeling particularly enthusiastic, revive the old “Up to my ass, and higher too!” chant of the Ozark farmers as you work. It’s not clear if these activities will produce bigger fruit and more colorful flowers, but they’re almost certain to add a little joie de vivre to your gardening.