Why we've become a nation of naked gardeners… despite the insect bites

At the weekend, a friend of the 38-year-old model and Loose Women panellist revealed Kelly had told her: “I do it naked in this weather to get an all-round tan. Sometimes with just wellies on.”

But Kelly is not the only fan to admit that when she gets her hands dirty, she does it wearing nothing more than a smile.

More and more Brits are also planting their perennials and pruning their pampas grass naked too.

World Naked Gardening Day has been running for the last 13 years. The day is celebrated across social media using the hashtag #WNDG and is held on the first Saturday of each May.

Celebrity participants include This Morning favourite Philip Schofield, who this year posted a Snapchat picture of himself at home in his garden with just a carefully placed sunflower emoji covering his bum.

Actress and Clueless star Alicia Silverstone is also in the club.

In an interview with Health magazine she said of her love of the hobby: "It probably started when I was doing my garden the first time. I’d be out there, and it would be scorching hot, so I would take off all of my clothes and garden.”

And on Instagram thousands of followers fans regularly post under the hash tags #nakedgardening and #worldnakedgardeningday too.

So we spoke to one woman who has been gardening in the buff for decades to find out what the fuss is all about.

The full Monty

Suzy Monty, 67, is a model and naturist. She lives in Cornwall with her husband John and says: “The freedom of being outside unclothed – just as Mother Nature intended – is wonderful."

The green-fingered naturist adds: "Why wear clothes that will inevitably smell when you work up a sweat weeding, pruning and planting? There is nothing sexual in it – I promise!

"I get more excited about picking up peonies for my beds. It's all about the freedom to be au natural.

“When the sun is out, slap on a bit of sun cream and get the rays all over your skin. Nothing beats it.”

Suzy first got turned on to naturism in the 1970s when the comedian Freddie Starr opened a naturist beach close to her Cornish home.

She remembers: “Once I discovered it – I wanted to be nude all the time.”

A happy husband

Suzy celebrates 45 years of marriage this year and reckons that she has been gardening without a stitch on for most of her married life.

“John doesn’t join in but he doesn’t mind that I do though," she says. "He’s got used to it now and beside he reaps the benefits.

“There is nothing nicer than fresh veg. My carrots, leeks and courgettes all do particularly well under my nude watch.

"I’ve got an apple tree that produces an amazing variety. It’s very Adam and Eve in our garden.”

Whatever Suzy and John don’t manage to eat they pass on to friends and neighbours – none of whom are peeping Toms.

“No one can see me when I garden in the nude," she says. "We have high fences otherwise I wouldn’t do it – I’m not an exhibitionist. My garden is very well protected which means I'm lucky enough to be able to strip off and sunbathe naked too.

Suzy describes herself as “body confident”: “I’m not vain but I am proud of my size 10 figure. I’ve had nothing done – it’s all natural. My secret is regular gardening and lots of walking. I go out everyday in all weather and hike for miles.”

This month Suzy is a magazine cover model too. She is appearing on H&E Naturist – the world’s biggest naturist magazine.

She says: “It is the second time I’ve been photographed for the front page. I know I’ll never be on the cover of Vogue but it is liberating popping into WH Smith and seeing yourself starkers staring back at you!”

Insect bites and scratches

Suzy has words of naked wisdom for first-timers thinking of shedding their gardening gear this summer.

“Always wear a pair of footwear," she warns. "My favourites are a pair of pink wellies.

"You’re dealing with forks, trowels and mowers. That’s a lot of metal to steer clear of when you’re in your birthday suit.

"I also have some TCP for any scratches that occur while I’m trimming my bushes. Then there is insect repellent for any bites which typically end up in awkward places."

Suzy reckons that everyone should try gardening without a stitch on.

“It is magical," she says. "If I’m stressed and get some sun on my body while tending to my favourite sweet peas I know I’ll always feel so much better.

“People are surprised when I reveal I tend to my garden in the buff. But starkers really is the best option.

"I don’t have to wash muddy clothes either. A quick soap in the shower and I’m done.”

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