Skitch and Evernote for Gardening: Tips from a Professional Horticulturist

Tips & Stories

Skitch and Evernote for Gardening: Tips from a Professional Horticulturist

Posted by Heather Williamson on 21 May 2012

Posted by Heather Williamson on 21 May 2012

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  • Name: Heather Williamson
  • Profession: Horticulturist and ‘Gardener to the Stars’
  • Company: A major Hollywood movie studio
  • Location: Hollywood

Bio

Heather Williamson is a horticulturist responsible for taking care of 800 plants on the lot of a major Hollywood studio. Heather helps to make sure that the physical property looks beautiful at all times and manages her day-to-day activities with Skitch and Evernote.

I use Evernote, Everywhere

I use Evernote for…

As as a member of a 6-person gardening team, I am tasked with helping keep our facility beautiful and conducive to doing business. My responsibilities extend from our 63 acre lot to executive offices. Before Skitch and Evernote, it was very challenging to keep track of all of our plants: Which ones were healthy? Which ones needed treatment? Which ones have I ordered? Which ones need to be replaced? Together, Skitch and Evernote allow me to stay on top of everything.

It’s amazing how many times I get asked, “How often should I water my plants?” and I’m glad when people ask, because it means they want to have success at growing plants. Gardening is the number one recreational activity in America, and whether you’re a professional like me, or an enthusiast, you can use Skitch and Evernote to help you keep track of your plants, their names, where you purchased them, your garden planning, layout and its seasonal progress, and in-home arrangements.

Evernote for staying organized

  • I organize all of my projects in Evernote. I have a few notebooks in my Evernote account and I keep all of my notes organized with tags such as ‘potted plants’ or ‘to-do.’  I have a running checklist of everything that needs to get done in my areas of responsibility, and am constantly adding to-dos to my master task list and checking off the completed ones (when I’m done with a task, I move it down toward the bottom of the list, so I can see all of the tasks which still need to get done at the top). I also have notes for all of the plants that I work with so I know exactly when one has been treated, if it has had issues, if it has been replaced with another plant, etc.
  • Evernote is my visual frame of reference, my project manager and my binder. Instead of having to carry a paper notepad everywhere as I used to do, taking notes and then searching to find those notes later, Evernote allows me to have quick access to my notes while out in the field, and allows me to be more effective and proactive in my activities. Evernote has made it easy for me to focus on the things that are important, like finding a better way to deal with an issue we’re having or being more creative.
  • My paper trail is in Evernote. I scan in any documents that I think I might potentially need into Evernote. If my boss asks me to save a piece of paper, I know exactly where to find it. I forward important email correspondences into Evernote, too. If someone asks, “What is the name of this plant disease we were talking about and what do we do about it?” I can look at the email I sent to a world-class expert, our exchange, and research I’ve conducted, all in one place. I’m able to find an answer immediately.
  • I can solve problems with Evernote. I use an extensive tagging system in my Evernote account, which lets me organize my research on a variety of different issues related to plants including pest issues, diseases, design and maintenance. Recently, we needed to figure out a way to keep fruit from possibly falling on cars. It didn’t take long for me to look through my Evernote account to access the information on exactly how to cut the fruit from the trees, while keeping them healthy and free of disease.

  • I keep gardening inspiration in Evernote. I’m often inspired by things I see online and out in the real world, and Evernote lets me capture my ideas wherever I am. If I see an interesting gardening article online, I use the Web Clipper to add it to my Gardening notebook. If I’m on a garden visit, I take pictures of various and interesting plants and designs. This helps me when I’m asked to design something; I can simply look through my gardening ideas and can pull up anything I’d like to reference and immediately share it with someone or use it as a seed idea for a new design. I also clip or take pictures of items I need (like replacement blades, new tools to try, plant food, novel bud vases, etc.).

Skitch for planning arrangements, keeping tabs on plant health, and more

  • Skitch helps me create office arrangements. Part of my job requires me to style executives’ offices with plants. As I’m touring an office, I use Skitch to plan out what types of plants I’ll order and how I’ll arrange them. I snap photos of bare office areas with Skitch and use my finger to quickly sketch a likeness of a plant, to scale in areas I think could be beautified with foliage and show it to a customer as we confer. I’ll jot down notes about what type of plants would look good in each particular space, based on lighting conditions and the size of the area being worked with and also note relative plant sizes. When I’m back at my desk, I can pull up my visual reference, along with my notes, and know exactly what I need to order. The annotated images also serve as my guides when I’m ready for the plant delivery and installation process.
  • I use Skitch and Evernote to keep tabs on plant health. When I treat plants, I take pictures of what they looked like before treatment, so that I can monitor how they respond to it. I note the type of treatment, date, and condition of the plants so I have both visual and text references. If an issue is new to me (for example, if I find a pest on a plant that I don’t recognize), I draw an arrow on the image of the plant so that I can quickly spot it next time I see it. From there, I can research the issue further and link the research to the note by using tags and placing it in a specific notebook.

  • I use Skitch to draw attention to places, concepts and ideas I might want to revisit. Skitch is a great visual reminder to revisit my ideas. For example, I’ll point out aspects of arrangements I see at nurseries and might want to recreate, or point to locations I should revisit. Once these annotated images are in my Gardening notebook in Evernote, I can quickly scan through them whenever I need some inspiration.

Skitch helps me brainstorm ideas for our yearly community volunteer project

Our studio gives back to the community every year in the form of a large volunteer project. This year, we’re working with a local elementary school and helping them improve their garden. I’m using Skitch to brainstorm the layout of their garden to help myself get organized while on a job.

Since this is a volunteer project, the group is broken up into teams, and a team captain could be a studio executive or an intern. Evernote gives key people an opportunity to participate in the learning process and have the chance to be successful at what might be a new task to them. I’ll snap photos of different plants and annotate them with Skitch to point out which are weeds and which are desirable plants. I’ll also snap photos of large areas and annotate them to show how they should be planted. For example, I’ll point out that grass should be planted near a rock because it makes for a nicer design. All of these notes can be shared with team captains, as well as anyone at the school, so they can easily reference the planting placement recommendations. In addition, it’s a great visual reference of the “before and after” effect that the project has made.

How are you using Skitch for gardening? Please share in the comments!

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35 Comments RSS

  • Terri

    Fantastic! Great ideas!

  • eduardo

    Great use of technology in an non-tech environment. Thanks for sharing.

  • Stacey

    This isa test

  • Capital Gardens

    Wow, looks like some pretty fantastic software – especially Skitch for recording and monitoring plant treatments and their effects. It’s hard enough keeping track of all that in one garden, can’t imagine in 63 acres!

  • KELLI2L

    Excellent explanation of the worthyness of Evernote… Thanks

  • Hwnwhaler

    Fantistic ideas, thank you for taking the time to relate them. Saved this to my web tips to further impliment your ideas.

  • John Laser

    I didn’t realise how useful evernote was. I’ve had it for ages but never used it. I’ll be using it from now on! Thanks!

  • Linda

    Loved all the info – great presentation – thanks

  • Heather

    Thanks for the great comments, everyone and glad that the post could be helpful to you, your lives and how Evernote can be helpful to it.
    Special thanks to Kasey Fleischer Hickey, who was a pleasure to work with on this project and who put together the blog post.

    • Patrick

      Good idea. I use it also for my worknotes as gardener.

  • judielaine

    I’ve used skitch to annotate photos of plants as i try to identify them, like in this note: https://www.evernote.com/shard/s6/sh/701eaba1-41a1-4f98-ae34-dbc1d149d899/baa74a7647ff8b9cbb190d2fb78118c5 One thing is odd, though. The skitch annotated images seem to transition to attachment views in the web interface, and don’t remain visible. Is it because skitch thinks the screen grabs from Adobe Lightroom are pdfs?

  • barrie

    thanks just scanned through ,will read again just found evernote site

  • barrie

    thanks just read through will read ,and use again

  • Edmond landscaping

    These are great gardening tips that will ensure the proper maintenance of our lawns. A lot of homeowners will surely find these ideas helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  • Nabil T. Younis

    Hi,
    I am an active user of evernote. A great app. I have also tutored a few friends on the benefits and different ways of making good use of the app.
    Is it possible to add an Ink Note in evernote, just like the other notes?,etc…on the ipad instead of having to use penultimate? What would also be cool is to be able to add a video note, like in the Note Binder app.
    Thank you

  • Cas

    I’ve used Evernote to scan in and archive the seed packets and plant tags of the seeds and plants I buy so I can reference them later (days to germination/harvesting come in handy). I also write notes regarding what I planted, where and when, and try to keep up on harvest dates, weather conditions, etc. on a regular basis, so I can reference them later and decide the next year whether to try a different variety instead, plant in a sunnier location, etc. like a gardening journal. These tips have inspired me to add even more to my gardening notes – thank you so much!

    • Heather

      Great use of Evernote for gardening, Cas! I love that idea and am going to add it to my Evernote Bag of Tricks. Thank you! ! Do you also take photos of the plants throughout the growing season? What about using Skitch- can I ask how you’ve been using that in your gardening endeavors?

  • kathy toth

    Evernote, you should make penultimate free to evernote users for 30 days to fast track integration; great use for inking anywhere. Heather, thanks for concrete application and stimulating ideas.

    • Heather

      You’re welcome, Kathy! I use Evernote everyday and recently linked Hojoki with it and am trying that out.

      Can I ask you what “fast track integration” means in regards to Penultimate? I haven’t used the app but would definitely try it out for 30 days if it were free. Good idea.

  • Heather

    @EdmondLandscaping – Thanks for the feedback! Your comment about the lawn care gave me the idea to share with you that I’ve also been using the Shared Notes feature on collaborative projects. If you have numerous techs working on the same properties, they can add to the homeowner files you can set up. You might want to consider the very affordable Premium account ( & Evernote’s not paying me to say that! ) It’s a great app for project management.
    If you find these ideas helpful, you can contact me to discuss more.

  • Valarie

    Thanks for some fantastic ideas. I wish Evernote was around when I did landscaping. But it has given my some great ideas if I start landscaping again, and definitely for my gardening, now.

  • Jeffery V Jasper

    Love this app and now I have another great use for it!

  • Ron

    Great Application integration. Got me to use Skitch and I’m very happy with it. I’m doing a home renovation that includes gardens and this works perfectly to describe what I can’t verbalize to contractors and suppliers. Easy to use, got results on my first photo. Works on my mac and iPad which is a home run. My thanks to you for the tip it will save countless hours of planning. (been a satisfied user of evernote premium for over a year now)

    • Heather

      So glad to hear that Skitch helped you hit a home run with communicating with the contractors, Ron! I use Skitch all of the time now and I wonder how we ever lived without it. What have the contractors said about your use of it?
      Premiun’s the way to go for sure. I totally agree with you and just recently paid for a year, which saved a little bit over the month-to-month.
      You’re very welcome for the tip. It’s fantastic to hear that it’s going to save you countless hours.

  • Nancy Perrine

    Hi Heather,

    Great ideas. We have a small family owned landscaping business in Pennsylvania. I downloaded the Skitch app months ago and haven’t used it. Thanks to everyone that has shared on this.

  • António Coelho

    Thanks for the inspiration! I also love gardening, but only for pleasure, and it’s so easy to loose track of the seeds and bulbs we already “hided” in the field!

  • Lisa

    Your viewpoint on the topic is very outright and convincing. Sheer professionalism and dedication!!@Lisa

  • Heather

    Hi Nabil, thanks for reading the article. I don’t know if your questions was ever answered, and I just saw it. My apologies for the late response. You might want to ask this question directly of Evernote, rather than in this post. Good luck.

  • Heather

    Hi Nabil, thanks for reading the article. I don’t know if your questions was ever answered, and I just saw it. My apologies for the late response. You might want to ask this question directly of Evernote, rather than in this post. Good luck.

  • Heather

    Thanks, Terri!

  • Heather

    Thank you Eduardo. It’s all about staying current and managing multiple priorities. Best to you and thank you for reading the post.

  • Heather

    Thanks, Capital Gardens. I use Evernote everday and it helps me stay organized so it’s not so overwhelming. Once I started using it, I starting making refinements and using it to suit my needs. It’s really handy out in the field for taking photos of before and after, using Skitch to mark it up, right in front of the customer, logging details about installations/ treatments/to-dos, etc. Thanks for reading the post and I hope that your business is going well.

  • Heather

    Thanks, Kelli.

  • Tessa Neill

    I use evernote too, but I’ve found that my garden journal gets lost in it as i use EN for so many other things. I’ve recently found Diaro and love that for my journal. Maybe I’ll give it another try since I do love skitch and currently I’m using other software to draw on my photos. In one of your examples above you say you draw plant-like sketches on your photos- how are you doing that? I don’t see any buttons on the toolbar for drawing in the Android app.

  • Tessa Neill

    I use evernote too, but I’ve found that my garden journal gets lost in it as i use EN for so many other things. I’ve recently found Diaro and love that for my journal. Maybe I’ll give it another try since I do love skitch and currently I’m using other software to draw on my photos. In one of your examples above you say you draw plant-like sketches on your photos- how are you doing that? I don’t see any buttons on the toolbar for drawing in the Android app.