The Grubby Gardeners (David Lewis, Michael Perry, Darren Jacques, Andrew Lane, Ben Jones, Tom Frost, Andrew Wain and Marcelo Serfaim) go naked at the Roof Gardens Kensington
I’ve never really understood the point of World Naked Gardening Day, taking place tomorrow. I’m prepared to imagine that gardening barefoot on a dewy lawn is pleasurable for some. But complete nakedness in the garden just seems like asking for trouble, unless the kind of “gardening” you indulge in consists of wafting around, flower snips in hand, delicately selecting blooms for a vase (I’m more of a crowbar-under-a-hedge type). According to the WNGD website, “Gardening naked is not only a simple joy, it reminds us – even if only for those few sunkissed minutes – that we can be honest with who we are as humans and as part of this planet.” Ah yes, the slap of a nettle against a bare thigh can do that. And “sunkissed”? It’s not really a year-round pursuit in the UK, is it?
But in the grand fundraising tradition of the WI Calendar Girls, a group of gardeners is embracing World Naked Gardening Day by posing at the Roof Gardens in Kensington to raise money for Perennial, the Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Society. As you can see from the picture above, there are a lot of strategically-positioned watering cans and men hovering next to shrubs, but even so, you have to admire their cojones (I mean this only metaphorically, not literally).
What’s brought on this fit of clothes-free action? The Grubby Gardeners have launched a social media campaign calling on people to post a selfie on World Naked Gardening Day tomorrow (naked or clothed) using the hashtag #gardeningselfie, and make a donation via text message (GRUB89 to 70070).
David Lewis, one of the Grubby Gardeners team and head gardener of the Roof gardens, said: “Perennial support horticulturists, young and old, who need support, advice and assistance in times of crisis. The charity is 175 years old this year and yet not many people – even in the trade – have heard about it.”
The team have already completed a gruelling assault course as part of their bid to raise £20,000 for the charity, which helps horticulturists in need. Grubby Gardener Michael Perry, new product development manager at Thompson & Morgan, said: “The shoot at the Roof Gardens was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities and we had brilliant fun setting up the pictures.” I guess after an assault course, baring some flesh must have seemed almost relaxing.
This may be a stunt for charity, but some people take nude gardening far more seriously. Perhaps some of you are thinking this naked gardening lark doesn’t sound bad … if you don’t have a garden of your own to try it out in, or if you’d like to meet like-minded naturist/gardeners, Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire hold clothes-optional days once a month, and the next one is May 18. There’s a (carefully posed) video here.