• ljmarkson

Fresh Gift Ideas for the Backyard Nature Lover

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

If you know someone who buys native plants by the carload, creates a safe backyard habitat space for wildlife, has seeds stratifying in their refrigerator, gets excited for the hummingbirds to return and depressed when they leave, is eager to offer native plants to from their yard to spread the word, or wants to share nature trivia with anyone who will listen, there’s probably something here they might like. The ideas are reflective of my personal preferences; there are no affiliate ads. Click the highlighted links for more detailed information. In general, I would encourage buying local or from small businesses. The list is not necessarily seasonal so it can be saved for gift giving any time of the year.


Novel ideas to please the any nature lover in your life, in no particular order:


Duluth Trading Canvas Bib Apron

What I like best about this durable work apron is all the pockets so I can safely hold my phone, pruner, and still have places to stuff tissues, plant markers, labels, and seeds. It has an adjustable design that fits everyone. The only caveat is my phone fits snuggly in the pocket so I’m not sure it would hold some of the bigger phones out there.

I can jam all sorts of gardening items in my Duluth Trading canvas bib apron. I just have to remember to take out any seeds I collect before washing it!

Gardening Overalls – You might seriously change a gardener’s wardrobe with a pair of Duluth overalls. I wouldn’t know how perfect their clothing is for gardening unless my millennial daughter with a sense of style gifted me my first pair of overalls. Apparently, overalls and jumpsuits are also kind of in right now. When I don’t have my gardening apron on, my gardening “uniform” is more often is a pair of Duluth shortalls, cooling overalls, or sweatpant (!) overalls. There are also men’s overalls which I’m starting see the hipsters at the farmers market wearing. Carhartt is another popular brand that also makes sturdy, hardcore women’s and men’s work overalls, including insulated overalls for outdoor work in climates colder than Atlanta.

I’m starting a collection of gardening overalls in different lengths and fabrics for every kind of weather.

Bird Art

  • Backyard nature lovers will appreciate art depicting birds they might see in their own yards. At a craft fair, my sweet husband found a darling little bird painting by local artist Evelyn Edmeades. I loved it so much that I picked out two more!

At a local craft crawl Evelynn Edmeades had one of the busiest booths with customers lining up to buy one of these irresistible little native bird paintings.
  • At nearby Garage Door Studio I spied a little framed Carolina wren print by Shannon Kelly, of DaisyLions Studio that my daughter scooped up to give me as a gift! The prints are also made into more affordable cards.

Of the many Shannon Kelly’s bird prints, the cheerful and bossy Carolina wren is the one that caught my eye. I think it’s because of a cute and noisy pair of wrens I see every day in my yard.

Bird Books or Niche Nature Books

  • My husband surprised me with a fantastic book on birds I didn’t know I wanted until he gave it to me. Take a chance and gift someone an interesting nature book!

The back cover description of this book nails it - It's a "treasure trove of stunning illustrations and extraordinary facts about what common and other remarkable birds are doing - and why."
  • Small independent bookstores are great places to find unique books to give to nature-loving friends and loved ones. I found multiple books on the restorative power of nature at the small, independent Eagle Eye Bookstore which is not far from where I live.

Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness about the healing power of nature is an appropriate book for the times we're living in.

Neighborhood Hawks by John Lane offers insight into how hawks are adapting to survive with man as well as a deeper exploration of our fascination and love for wildlife.
One or multiple books in an area of interest will surely be a welcome gift. I took this photo at the local Wild Birds Unlimited store near me.
  • If you know someone who is interested in nature but hasn’t yet become a Doug Tallamy groupie, give them one or all his game changing books about reclaiming nature in your own backyard.

You can't read a Doug Tallamy book without being inspired to help nature. For anyone who has never read Doug Tallamy, give them Nature's Best Hope to start. In fact, give everyone on your list Nature's Best Hope!

Possum House

It may sound a little out there, but this is actually at the top of my wish list. I was inspired by @yardsgonewild on Twitter who posts clips from a garden nature camera on a possum box she installed in her rewilded yard. For someone who wants to attract urban or suburban wildlife to their yard and loves possums, a possum house might just be the perfect unique, unexpected, and extravagant gift you’re looking to get them.

This possum house on Etsy is the only possum house I was able to find. Apparently, most people make their own.

Squirrel Nesting Box – Anyone who works to create a welcoming habitat for wildlife tends to appreciate squirrels as part of their backyard ecosystem and would be tickled to have them nesting in a backyard tree. After becoming enchanted by baby squirrels I watched grow up in a poplar tree outside my window, I think a squirrel house would give the next squirrel family a safer place from the red-tailed hawks, cooper’s hawks and barred owls I've seen circling my small semi-urban yard.

Give the gift of seeing baby squirrels with a squirrel house! There are many designs, but I like this one because it has a predator guard to keep any baby squirrels in it safe.

Squirrel Feeder – My husband loves to watch squirrel’s antics so I put a squirrel feeder up where he can see it from his home office. The upside is it seems to distract the squirrels from focusing on trying to get to the birdseed in the bird feeders! There are so many whimsical squirrel feeders including swings, Adirondack chairs, and feeders designed with levers to open when squirrels step on them, which is the opposite design of the squirrel-proof bird feeders!

Give the gift of amusement with a squirrel feeder! These were at my local Wild Birds Unlimited store. Etsy also has many fun designs including some sassy ones.

Hori Hori Knife – The hori-hori knife roughly translates to “dig dig” and was first used in Japan by hunters to dig wild vegetable in the mountains. I don’t know any gardeners who wouldn’t love one or more as a present. Mine is the most essential, multi-purpose gardening tool I own. It is great for cutting or dividing roots, sawing plants, digging holes, and opening bags. Some have dual-edge smooth and serrated blades and many have gradient markings for gauging soil depth or measuring the distance between plants. I have two different brands and love both so it’s a matter of personal preference what particular hori-hori knife one you pick out.

My hori-hori knife is a workhorse of a too; it is invaluable and indestructible.

Native Plant Seed Catalogue Gift CertificateWinter sowing is becoming popular with native plant gardeners and right about now they're poring over native plant catalogues and websites as they dream of their future pocket prairies.

  • If you live in the Southeast, my friend Rita of Botany Yards sells native plant seeds, many hand collected in southeastern gardens. The whimsically designed seed packets she designs are already gift wrapped! She also designs native wildlife cards.

Buy a handful of seed packages from Botony Yards and just tie them up with twine for a sweet little eco-friendly gift.
Give a gift certificate from Prairie Moon Nursery and you’ll give someone the joy of spending time dreaming about native plants. This is a snapshot of the Prairie Moon Nursery catalogue.
  • Roundstone Seeds doesn’t appear to have gift certificates so you may want to buy a collection of seeds from them to give as a gift.

Choose a handful of seed packets from Roundstone Seeds to give to the friend who spends all winter talking about how their winter sowing is going.

Native Plant Nursery Gift Certificate – Shop local and give all your friends gift certificates for local native plant nurseries. If you live in the Atlanta area, you can ask for gift certificates as Beech Hollow Farms, Nearly Native Nursery, and Nightsong Native Plant Nursery (I just saw that NSNN also has small live Christmas Trees for sale )

Give the gift of native plants with a gift certificate to a local native plant nursery. This photo from last summer is of Beech Hollow garden Farm Native Plant Nursery's Scottdale location

Garden Kneeler/Seat – This year I accepted the reality that I can no longer kneel or squat for hours while gardening and still be able to move the next day. My thoughtful family gave me a clever foldable garden kneeler and seat with detachable tool pouches. This one does the trick for me, but there are plenty of other options such as knee pads to give as a gift to a gardener with knee, back or joint issues.

This is the garden kneeler/seat my family gave me when they saw it took me two days to recover for every day I worked in the garden. It can be used to kneel on or flipped over to sit on.

Yard Signs – If you know someone who has turned their lawn into a pollinator garden or pocket prairie, they would probably appreciate a custom yard sign to show off what they've created.

For the person with a pollinator friendly rewilded yard, there are many unique and welcoming yard signs they might like. This one on Etsy can be personalized with the name and year.

Note - there are never affiliate links in my blog. The highlighted text throughout the posts are just links to references, explanations or examples that might be interesting or helpful.

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