2019 Gift Ideas for the Native Plant Gardener

Posted by & filed under Learning.

We thought we’d compile a handy list for the nature lover on your list. Don’t forget the possibility of a gift membership to West Cook Wild Ones. 🙂 We originally compiled this list a couple of years back, but it still has a lot of really solid picks.


Flora of the Chicago Region by Gerould Wilhelm & Laura Rericha

From Prairie Moon’s site: The long wait for plant geeks is over! This massively improved sequel to the 1994 edition of Plants of the Chicago Region, by Floyd Swink and Gerould Wilhelm, still has the familiar distribution maps and descriptions, but now boasts many hand-drawn illustrations and animal (vertebrate and invertebrate) associations for thousands of native species in 977 genera.  

Mike MacDonald’s My Journey Into the Wilds of Chicago 

Heather Holm: Bee Identification and Forage and Pollinators of Native Plants

Charlotte Adelman and Bernard Schwarz’s new book Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees:  provides a comprehensive selection of native woody alternatives that, season by season, provide effects similar to those of nonnative shrubs and trees used for ornamental purposes and shade. Their previous book is another essential for the gardener–The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants 

Design Your Natural Midwest Garden, Pat Hill: a classic book that shares garden plans and gives detailed information about native plants and how to use them

Birdscaping in the Midwest, Marriete Nowak

Xerces Society’s publications Attracting Native Pollinators; Farming with Beneficial Insects (principles can be applied in small edible gardens too), Butterfly Gardening

Darke and Tallamy: Living Landscape

Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home 

Guide to Seed and Seedling Identification in the Upper Midwest, Dave Williams

The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben 

The Prairie in Seed: Identifying Seed-Bearing Prairie Plants in the Upper Midwest

ID guides for the area’s flora and fauna (some examples: Butterflies of IL, Birds of IL, Audubon Guides, Mushrooms of the Chicago Region, Illinois Wildflowers, Dragonflies, and more)

These next two books offer a thorough look at soil chemistry and biology.  You will never look at the ground you walk on in the same way after reading them. 

Teeming with Microbes, Jeff Lowenfels 

Life in the Soil, James Nardi

Gift Certificates

Prairie Nursery

Prairie Moon Nursery

Natural Communities, Native Plants


Gardeners can always use clippers (don’t forget clipper sharpeners), trowels, shovels, kneeling pads, sun hats, gloves, twine, and plant labels.


Heated bird bath

Bird nesting boxes

Bird feeders or hummingbird feeders (though we still think plants are best for that)

Binoculars (there are special binoculars for butterflies)


Izzel’s native plant t-shirts


Check out Etsy and find art that celebrates nature and is hand-made.

Local artists are a great option too.  


Morton Arboretum

Peggy Notebaert Musuem

Items Good for the Earth in General

Reusable shopping bags

Reusable produce bags

Jars/containers for bulk items at places like Sugar Beet Co-op

Gifts of donations to environmental non-profits

Give a donation to an organization like the Nature Conservancy in honor of a loved one

Donate to Save the Prairie Society (they work to keep Wolf Road Prairie in shape and give outreach about the prairie) 

Friends of the Forest Preserves: This local NFP organization supports the Conservation Corps- currently only 4 year- round crews for 69,000 acres of forest preserves. Friends also support Paid summer jobs for high school students-a learning, mentoring program for training “the next generation.”

Seven Generations Ahead:  supports many environmental and sustainability goals in the Oak Park/River Forest area and beyond.

Green Community Connections: works collaboratively to build a resilient, environmentally sustainable community locally, and to be an environmental leader in the greater Chicago metropolitan area. Hosts the One Earth Film Festival,the Midwest premier annual environmental film festival.

And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention perhaps a donation to your favorite Wild Ones.  🙂


Featured image photo: Cassandra West


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>