The city that gave us Buck Owens is this year’s best place to garden buck naked.

An analysis of weather conditions expected for Saturday, May 4, 2019 — World Naked Gardening Day — shows that the city of Bakersfield, Calif., has the most conducive climate for getting out and gardening in the buff. It’s expected to be a Chamber of Commerce day for undressed garden care, with mild temperatures, lots of sun, low wind speed, and low humidity.

This will be the 15th annual WNGD, founded in 2005 by Mark Storey of Seattle. “It’s just a way to get a little more comfortable with our bodies in a nonsexual way,” Storey tells LawnStarter.com. In polls, he says, gardening comes in as the second-most-desireable activity to perform nude, trailing only swimming. The day is “a lighthearted way people can do something for the Earth. There’s something about nudity, plus the care of the soil, plus the caring for the Earth, that seems to resonate.”

It resonates with Donna Price, a garden enthusiast who has been a “naturist” for a few years. She enjoys the event at her home in Spilsby, England, a town near the country’s east coast. “As for what it is that appeals to us in naked gardening, it can probably be summed up with being completely at one with nature, when it is warm, feeling the sun and breeze on parts of the skin which are normally covered, whilst weeding or mowing,” she says.

Donna Price enjoys gardening in the nude
Donna Price of Spilsby, England, enjoys a day of naked gardening. Photo (C) J&D Price.

A day for light gardening

It will be a day of light gardening for Storey. “This year, I’m going to clean up the flower beds,” he says. No power tools. If heavy-duty gardening is called for, it’s not a day for nude gardening. “If I’m working with a chainsaw, I want all the protection I can get,” he says. Ditto for working with Seattle’s local blackberry bushes. “I don’t want to be skewered by that stuff.”

Price agrees. “If you can get out there, then the important practical advice is safety first. Always wear relevant protective gear when using machinery,” she says. “Be aware of bites and stings from insects and plants, wear a hat and, most definitely, wear sun protection creams — very important for parts of the body that are rarely exposed to sunlight.”

Mark Storey of Seattle, founder of World Naked Gardening Day, prunes hops.
Mark Storey of Seattle, founder of World Naked Gardening Day, prunes hops. Photo courtesy Mark Storey.

City Ranking Methodology

To create our rankings, we figured out what would be an ideal day for naked gardening:

  • Warm but not hot: 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • 100% sun.
  • A gentle breeze of 5 mph — just enough to keep sweat off the birthday suit.
  • A relative humidity level of 45 percent, which most people find very comfortable outdoors.

We then took predicted measurements for each of the top 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the United States and compared them to the ideal. The closer a city’s predicted climate was to the ideal, the higher it scored.

Where there was a tie, the city’s expected ultraviolet index was used as a tie-breaker. On Naked World Gardening Day, some rarely exposed parts of the body will get some sun, so a lower UV level will prevent burning.

The results? Bakersfield, the Central California agriculture and oil center and the birthplace of country music’s Bakersfield Sound, came out on top. Here are the rankings of the top 15 cities where weather conditions will be ideal on May 4 for naked gardening:

1. Bakersfield, Calif.

Bakersfield sign
Credit: Wikimedia

City motto: “Life as it should be”

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 67 degrees F
Humidity: 40%
Wind speed: 4.3 mph
Sun: 100%
Ultraviolet (UV) index: 9

2. Ogden, Utah

Ogden, Utah signCity motto: “Still untamed”

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 59 degrees F
Humidity: 43%
Wind speed: 5.5 mph
Sun: 95%
Ultraviolet (UV) index: 8

3. Detroit

Detroit skylineCity motto:  “Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus,” which translates to “We hope for better things; it shall arise from the ashes.”

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 64 degrees F
Humidity: 35%
Wind speed: 5.8 mph
Sun: 96%
Ultraviolet (UV) index: 5

4. St. Louis

St. Louis Arch and skyline

Credit: Image by Alexander Schettino from Pixabay

City motto: “Justifiably proud”

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 72 degrees F
Humidity: 40%
Wind speed: 8.6 mph
Sun: 100%
Ultraviolet (UV) index: 5

5. Lakeland, Fla.

Lakeland skyline

City motto: “Little Mecca of Cool”

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 90 degrees F
Humidity: 30%
Wind speed: 4.8 mph
Sun: 100%
Ultraviolet (UV) index: 10

6. Los Angeles

Los Angeles skyline
Credit: Wikimedia

City slogan: “That’s So L.A.”

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 63 degrees F
Humidity: 43%
Wind speed: 7.3 mph
Sun: 96%
Ultraviolet (UV) index: 9

7. Memphis, Tenn.

Memphis skyline and bridge. Photo credit Jack Kenner
Credit: Jack Kenner

City slogan: “Home of Blues, Soul & Rock ‘N’ Roll”

Expected conditions
High temperature: 
75 degrees F
Humidity: 62%
Wind speed: 6.8mph
Sun: 71%
Ultraviolet (UV) index: 6

8. Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City skyline

City motto: “Different by nature”

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 57 degrees F
Humidity: 52%
Wind speed: 5.6 mph
Sun: 82%
Ultraviolet (UV) index: 8

9. Toledo, Ohio

Toledo skyline
Credit: Wikimedia

City motto: “You will do better in Toledo”

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 63 degrees F
Humidity: 40%
Wind speed: 7.6 mph
Ultraviolet (UV) index: 6

10. Albuquerque, N.M.

Albuquerque skyline
Credit: Pixels

City motto: “Change your perspective”

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 70 degrees F
Humidity: 14%
Wind speed: 5.5 mph
Sun: 78%
Ultraviolet (UV) index: 9

11. Fort Myers, Fla.

Fort Myers
Credit: Wikimedia

City motto: “City of Palms”

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 83 degrees F
Humidity: 60%
Wind speed: 7.8 mph
Sun: 100%
Ultraviolet (UV) index: 10

12. Tampa, Fla.

Tampa Florida

City nickname: “The Big Guava”

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 91 degrees F
Humidity: 34%
Wind speed: 3.3 mph
Sun: 100%
Ultraviolet (UV) index: 11

13. Grand Rapids, Mich.

Grand Rapids
Credit: Wikipedia

City motto: “Moto viget” (“Strength in activity”)

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 65 degrees F
Humidity: 43%
Wind speed: 6 mph
Sun: 37%
Ultraviolet (UV) index: 7

14. Baton Rouge, La.

City nickname: “Red Stick”

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 84 degrees F
Humidity: 63%
Wind speed: 4.2 mph
Sun: 60%
Ultraviolet (UV) index: 7

15. Phoenix

Phoenix skyline
Credit: Wikimedia

City nickname: “Valley of the Sun”

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 79 degrees F
Humidity: 7%
Wind speed: 7.7 mph
Sun: 100%
Ultraviolet (UV) index: 9

Honorable mention

Just outside the top 15 were Melbourne, Fla. (No. 16), Indianapolis (No. 17), Spokane, Wash. (No. 18), Jacksonville, Fla. (No. 19) and Daytona Beach, Fla. (No. 20).

While these are the cities with the best weather for it, they’re not the same cities with the greatest interest in naked gardening. That list is topped by Eugene, Ore.

Wherever you are, Storey says, give it a try.

“Nudity is a way of breaking down the barriers between people,” he says. “So if you try it, just get out in the garden without your clothes, it just feels different. Do it once, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. You’ll feel good.”

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