Contrary to popular belief, Mother’s Day was not invented by a worldwide conspiracy of florists and confectioners. It grew from the desire of one Anna Jarvis to honour the memory of her own mother, and was first celebrated in 1908 although it was not proclaimed an American national holiday until 1914, thereafter spreading around the world to be celebrated generally on the second Sunday in May.
World Naked Gardening Day, on the other hand, is celebrated on the first Saturday of May and is the creation (naturally) of two men, Mark Storey and Jacob Gabriel, who founded the Body Freedom Collaborative in 2005 to promote a day for gardening au naturel. Boys will be boys, but this intended prank took off when it was endorsed by various nudist organizations. This year we evidently celebrated the fourteenth annual Naked Gardening Day. I am tempted to assume that it is being secretly promoted by sunscreen and insect repellent producers.
Be that as it may (and it is May) last Saturday was World Naked Gardening Day. When I asked David what we should do to celebrate he replied that he preferred not to expose his shortcomings to the general public. He did, however, take his binoculars to the allotment garden.
Proponents say nude gardening fosters a healthy attitude to our bodies, grounding us in Mother Nature, feeling the warmth of the wind on our skin, unafraid to bare ourselves to the world, unarmed and unclothed. Naked gardeners, they contend, learn to feel comfortable gardening like Adam and Eve, although the pictures on the Naked Gardening website seem to be mostly Eve. Of course, these were the “before” pictures; there are no “after” pictures, nor are there recommended treatments for mosquito bites, sunburn, thorns or stinging nettles. I think that Johnson and Johnson are missing a chance to promote calamine lotion with a well placed advertisement, as are plastic surgeons. After all, if a girl plans on being seen in the altogether, she’d want to look her best. As the poet wrote:
There was a young lady from Styles
With the ugliest bottom for miles.
So a surgeon took pity
And made it quite pretty,
All dimples and poutings and smiles.
I don’t want to know where she plans to keep her trowel. David spent the day grumbling about lack of publicity. Now he says that naked gardening will never take off without more exposure.
Happy Mother’s Day!