This saturday is World Naked Gardening Day.
This may well be something which has, in previous years, passed you by as is not exactly a mainstream public holiday. The idea is that we should all venture out and, unfettered by our usual battered jackets, ancient jeans and leather jerkins, garden in the buff. This is not an unprecedented idea as the first gardeners, Adam and Eve, also gardened without clothing until forced to start cobbling aprons together with fig leaves.
It makes perfect sense if you think about it: where is the place where most of us have the easiest access to nature? our gardens. Surely a much more sensible place to wander around as nature intended than, say, a beach or a holiday camp. So the first saturday in May is the day.
It may be said that some climates are much better suited to nakedness but in Britain we have one big advantage over warmer countries: our lawns are much more comfortable to sit upon. Anybody who has been to the South of France or Spain will realise how prickly and sparse their grass is in comparison to our soft velvety swards. It may be chilly and we may get goosebumps and a bit of shrinkage but we will at least be comfortable.
The most famous naturist garden in Britain is Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury. This is the home of Ian and Barbara Pollard who swept into town in 1994 and set about transforming the old abbey into a home and a remarkable garden. There are over one hundred two thousand roses planted here (the largest private rose collection in the country) and 150,000 tulips to enjoy.
You might think that that many roses might not chime with nudity but Ian and Barbara have been keen naturists for years and have become known (through lots of press and a spell as garden experts on daytime television) as the Naked Gardeners – there is even a book with the same title. They then started getting emails from other naturists asking if they could visit the garden so a monthly “clothes optional” day was instigated. If you want to visit the gardens without inhibitions or trousers then there are details on their website.
If you want to try it in the privacy of your own garden then this saturday is as good a time as any to give it a go. You are good company – other noted naturists include Walt Whitman, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Richter (inventor of the Richter scale for measuring earthquakes) and Christina Aguilera.
Try not to upset the neighbours and, at least at first, steer clear of sharp implement and Berberis.