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Nameberry Picks: The Best Nature Names

nature names

Nature names have become such a huge category of baby names that it’s difficult to corral all of them – the flower names and the animal names, the tree names and the water and weather names – into one list, much less pick the dozen best. But we tried, with several nods to other favorites. Photo by Georgia Brizuela from Documenting Delight.

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Sundance Catalog Names

sundance

by Pamela Redmond Satran

At this time of year, catalogs flood the house every day – the poor mail deliverer! – only to be promptly thrown into the recycling bin.

One of the few exceptions is the Sundance Catalog. It’s not as if I ever order anything from there, though if my husband is reading this, he should know that I’d be very happy to find any of their earrings under the Christmas tree.

It’s more the image and the lifestyle that attract me, at least for the length of time it takes to eat a peanut butter sandwich. Relaxed yet chic, feminine as well as outdoorsy, the Sundance Catalog depicts the kind of woman I’d be if only I spent my time rambling around a ranch rather than typing on a sofa.

What does any of this have to do with baby names? As usual, everything, as the Sundance Catalog includes lots of girls’ names and also nature names that are in keeping with its cosmopolitan Western bourgeois bohemian aesthetic.

Here, for example, are some of the girls’ names Sundance uses for blouses, boots, and bracelets — but that might work just as well for your own little cosmopolitan cowgirl:

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nature names

Nature names can mean a lot of different things, as our all-inclusive nature baby names list demonstrates.

There are flower names, long used for girls but newly in style now.  These include familiar choices like Rose and Lily along with fashionable exotic blooms such as Dahlia and Magnolia.

Then on the botanical side, there are newer tree names, spice names, and fruit names, from Oak to Sage to Banana.

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Secret Nature Names: Looking to the sky

Butterfly baby wallpaper

Secret nature names are an intriguing category: baby names that reference animals or weather or some other aspect of nature in their meaning without being explicit about it the way names such as Lily and Fox are.

If you’re a nature lover but value subtlety in your name choices, these kinds of secret nature names may be perfect for you.  We’ve explored secret garden names in the past, but today we turn our attention to nature names from the sky: names that mean butterfly and bird, that relate to rain and clouds and the sky itself.

Here, a wide range of secret nature names from many cultures:

girls

Alizeh – This Persian name meaning “wind” was used by actress Geena Davis for her daughter.

AmayaAmaia is a Basque name but its homonym Amaya is a Japanese name that means “night rain”.

Branwen — A Welsh name that might be thought of as Bronwen‘s lesser-known cousin, Branwen means “blessed raven.”

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Nature Names: The Secret Garden

babyflower

Nature names from the botanical world, including flower names like Daisy and Lily and tree names such as Maple and even spice and fruit names such as Sage and Plum, have become both more visible and more fashionable over the past handful of years.

But there’s another group of nature names that hint at their earthly roots rather than state them so plainly, a secret garden of baby names that reference plants and flowers in their original meanings.  One of the best things about these names is that they’re more even-handed than many botanical names in their gender identity, with several excellent masculine choices plus others that work equally well for boys or girls.

If you love nature names but also value subtlety, one of these secret garden names may be right for you.

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