You Can Leave Your Hat On


Promotional material for the book describes it as:

The story of the creation of an extraordinary garden that has been
painstakingly and lovingly brought to life over the past ten years by
the Pollards, who prefer to garden au natural. It will appeal to both
experienced and aspiring gardeners everywhere.

but that hardly does it justice.  Ian Pollard and his wife Barbara have spent years restoring the historic Abbey House Gardens in Wiltshire, England in attire that would no doubt have shocked the monks.  The BBC’s Alan Titchmarsh described Ian this way:

in the middle of a rose bed, his long, flowing hair fastened back in a
pony tail, his face adorned with a grizzled beard he wore of pair of
knee length boots and a pink silk jock-strap. Nothing else! But if you
are looking for the non-naturists stereotypical view of a nudist you
will not find it in Ian. It is quite simply that he prefers to wear as
little as possible, and is comfortable enough in his own skin to be
unconcerned if it is seen by others.

Well, all right.  "Unconcerned" is one thing.  That makes it sound as though he wouldn’t be shamed right back into his trousers if a group of tourists happened to peek over the hedge.  But appearing nude on the cover of a book called "The Naked Gardener" shows a decided interest in being seen by others.

(And that pink silk jock strap is an image we could have done without. Surely the clever gals at Womanswork could have fashioned something a little more sturdy and garden gear-ish to do the job.)

Although we haven’t seen a copy of the book ourselves, we were able to page through a few virtual pages at the publisher’s website.  And if this whets your appetite for nude English gardening, you’re in luck:  the Pollards would love to have you come visit, and the Events page of their website advertises several clothing-optional days.

And hey, with summer just around the corner, you know we’re up for running any naked gardening photos you want to send our way.  Extra credit for creative use of power tools (now, now, girls!) and daring pruning shear maneuvers.


  1. One naked gardener I can understand. But two naked gardeners? A couple? I hope the book explains how they ever found each other, and what the conversation was like when one of them said, “Honey, I think we should…”

  2. That’s one strategically place allium flower on the cover.

    Don’t they have the equivalent of deer flies, black flies, no-see-ums or mosquitoes? (I don’t want to even think about ticks.) I wouldn’t call them natural gardeners, but careful gardeners. When I look at how raw my shins and calves are after a day of gardening in shorts, I can’t imagine what a day of gardening in the buff would do to me.

  3. Woo hoo for naked gardening.

    Just another case that the English must have better health care coverage then us Americans.

    One or two trips to the dermatologist and the accumulative costs could wipe out my entire spring budget for organic fertilizer and plants.

    Not to mention the pharmacy bills for ointments, salves and healing balms for itchy rashes from spiney lactating weedy thistles, euphorbias, musa sap , mosquito bites, and thorny roses.

    My purse strings are getting sore just thinking of the assuaging costs to ease my itching ass.

  4. The constant assortment of dings and dents, scratches and lacerations below my knees and biceps and above my collar most of the time anyway allow me to find much comfort in my pristine skinned lily white ass and central trunk region.

    The Pollards must be very very delicate gardeners or they have banished many plants from being used.

    As my eyesight diminishes I get stabbed more often and as the skin thins with age the resulting marks left behind are more pronounced.

    Gardening naked is for the young, please.

  5. I know some of you think I’m cranky (Susan) but I think naked gardening sounds like a great idea. I’m pretty much a fan of naked.

    And naked in a group seems better than naked alone. But what do I know?

    Of course, in MY CLIMATE, I’d die. So, maybe naked LATE SUMMER gardening is better.

  6. Their climate is not that much better. I’ve been in that area in August and it was quite chilly a couple of days (out of a week).

    In August. And rainy of course.

  7. In Florida, naked gardening is quite do-able. Many here come close. The thing that keeps me from trying it is the thought of where I would have to carry my Swiss Army Knife.

  8. “… is comfortable enough in his own skin to be unconcerned if it is seen by others. …”

    Uh, is that why he has long hair, and a beard covering his face?

    We love contradictions, oh yes we do.

  9. Hilarious! In shopping for a shack in the country, there were only two things that mattered to me. A. quiet. B. private enough to garden naked.

    So I could–but for God’s sake, there are nettles out there!

  10. Charleston has a great climate for naked gardening, although I can only imagine what all of those proper South of Broad women might say! It would be fun to find out.

  11. Oh well, the naked gardener, the naked chef, who cares? Saw this guy and his partner on telly a couple of years ago on the BBC. Yes, they were naked and on telly, so no a couple of tourists would not shame them back into some clothes. They feel comfortable in the buff and that’s fine.

    I, on the other hand, prefer to wear stylish yet affordable gardening clothes and shoes, and have a gardening outfit for every occasion. More of that on my blog.

  12. It would beat the humidity in the great lakes.
    I would go for it, maybe then my nosey neighbour would be too scared to come by and bug me.

  13. I’d give that nekkid pair about 18.5 minutes in my Georgia backyard before the fire ants convinced them of the error of their unclothed ways.

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