Editor’s note: See updated story on World Naked Gardening Day.
What is it about World Naked Gardening Day that makes some of us blush like a tomato? Maybe it’s the thought of having so much skin exposed to the sun that makes us turn beet red. Plenty of gardeners are stocking up on sunscreen and getting ready to grin and bare it on May 4, 2019, as gardening buffs celebrate by gardening in the buff.
The idea was the brainchild of Mark Storey, a Seattle man who established the celebration in 2005 as a way to get people to be more accepting of their bodies. But when you think about it, gardening in the nude had been around since the Garden of Eden.
We can’t take you back to the Garden of Eden, but we can tell you where you’re likely to find the barest gardeners … or at least where people are the most curious about digging while disrobed. A review of Google Trends data gives that honor to Eugene, Ore.
It’s not surprising so many people Google the term “World Naked Gardening Day.” While Eugene isn’t the gardening capital of the country (that title belongs to Philadelphia) it does rank as the No. 1 city for hippies. It’s a city where you can buy tie-dyed underwear (though you might not see much on Naked Gardening Day.) Eugene has also hosted the American Association for Nude Recreation convention and is home to the Willamettans, the largest nudist club in the Pacific Northwest.
“Eugene is a very forward-thinking town and there are a lot of gardeners and a lot of nudists,” says local gardener Mindy Valpey. “We like the chance to show off our goods.” But Valpey won’t be gardening naked this year. “I’m too old.” she quipped. “My birthday suit needs ironing.”
Eugene’s interest in naked gardening didn’t really knock our socks off, but the city that comes in second may surprise you. Maybe it’s the nudists who put the “buff” in Buffalo, N.Y.
Buffalo is home to the largest garden walk in the country, but that takes place at the end of July. While gardeners are busy searching online for World Naked Gardening Day, they obviously neglected to search the forecast. Accuweather is predicting a chance of rain with a high of 58 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 42. Most gardens there are still clothed for the season.
The remaining top cities on the Google Trends search list for naked gardening will be a little warmer on May 4th this year. Our methodology for the search was to look for the metropolitan areas that searched most often for the phrase “world naked gardening day” when we assumed interest would be greatest, between March 15 and May 15, 2018. Take a look.
1. Eugene, Ore.
Google Trends score for World Naked Gardening Day: 100
2. Buffalo, N.Y.
Google Trends score for World Naked Gardening Day: 75
3. Fresno-Visalia, Calif.
Google Trends score for World Naked Gardening Day: 74
4. Spokane, Wash.
Google Trends score for World Naked Gardening Day: 71
5. Roanoke-Lynchburg, Va.
Google Trends score for World Naked Gardening Day: 65
6. Des Moines-Ames, Iowa
Google Trends score for World Naked Gardening Day: 61
7. Wilkes Barre-Scranton, Pa.
Google Trends score for World Naked Gardening Day: 51
8. Knoxville, Tenn.
Google Trends score for World Naked Gardening Day: 50
9. Albuquerque-Santa Fe, N.M.
Google Trends score for World Naked Gardening Day: 36
10. Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.
Google Trends score for World Naked Gardening Day: 29
It remains to be seen how many of these cities will have large turnouts on May 4th, but it’s worth a reminder that gardening in the nude has its risks. You may want to wear some of the essentials, such as gloves and a sun hat. Garden tools are sharp and chemicals and some fertilizers are dangerous when they come in contact with your skin. In addition to sunscreen, you may want to add a coating of bug repellent. The ticks and mosquitoes have a lot more places to land. Finally, you may want to save the rose bush and cactus planting for another day.