Today is the tenth annual World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD).
Yes, you read it correctly. The first Saturday of May is a day for green-thumbs across the globe to peel down to the buffers and become one with nature while toiling about their gardens. It says so right on the webpage (WARNING: for mature audiences only).
I can’t say I’ve actually witnessed this in my own neighbourhood through the first nine years of the initiative, but perhaps it was that transparent in its naturalness, I just didn’t notice. Whatever the case, there’s lots of gardening to be done this weekend, and provided I effectively apply a full-body application of sunscreen, the local weather report couldn’t be better for a new gardening enthusiast to strip down and join the unclad masses.
Early in the day, it’s still a tad cool, but as I look ahead to joining a chorus of clanking garden tools and a day of casual springtime banter with soon-to-be naked neighbours, I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a set of conversational ground rules to observe. After all, for the moderately modest among us, there’s a considerable difference between a covert skinny-dip by cover of darkness, and full-frontal, midday exposure amid sweaty, neighbourhood participants tending to their gardens. Conventional terminology could take on new meaning as unfettered gardeners exchange the usual seasonal pleasantries.
I did a little research on peculiar plant names whose mere mention could produce an awkward moment under such circumstances. I provide this short list so that you might avoid getting caught with your pants down in your own gardens. For at least today, it would behoove the naked gardener to avoid any botanical references to the: Sticky Willy (Galium Aparine), Shagbark (Carya Ovata), Nipplewort (Lapsana Communis), Creeping Charlie (Glechoma Hederacea), and especially, the spirited deciduous, Diospyros Crassinervis – whose nickname is a cheeky reference to the Viagra-like properties it’s purported to deliver.
Crabgrass and Pussy Willows aside, a casual observation such as: “I think it may be time we trimmed that hedge out front,” or, even a well-intentioned request of the naked couple next door: “May I borrow your hoe?,” could be irreversibly misconstrued.
There’s also the matter of first showing protocol, as well as other practical issues to consider. For example, should one be first into the yard to set the nakedness standard? Or, is it better to wait for the neighbours to break the ice? And, would it be preferable to barge right out there in one’s birthday suit, or is there an advantage to easing in with a towel to be tossed after getting the lay of the land and establishing an appropriate starting position?
The weather is certainly beautiful for this event, but I suspect there are both pros and cons to the early May date – at least in this part of the world.
On the down side, there is precious little foliage to provide modesty cover. But, looking at the bright side, there is no risk of untimely observations on the size of the cucumbers or the ripeness of the tomatoes.
Happy World Naked Gardening Day!