image of spiderwortA tablet/smart phone app will make me an organized and efficient gardener! I love to work in my garden, but every spring provides too many  surprises as unidentified shoots poke their way through the soil.  Typically, I go to a plant sale, see something pretty, buy it and stick it in the ground willy-nilly.  Placing the identifying marker next to the plant doesn’t help; they are rarely legible after a Maine winter.  Take the plant to the left–I know it’s a spiderwort, but not a clue what variety.  I bought it two years ago or was it three? See my point!

Notability and Evernote, super note taking apps, are useful for a gardener and pretty easy to master.  These apps give me a  visual record of my plants with accompanying helpful details like its preferred amount of sunlight/shade combination and what it likes to eat.

Notability is an app for iPhones and iPads. Cost: $4.95  Its note taking features allow me to add images, text, web clippings, and to share my information. Below are some examples.

1. I can have multiple notebooks and thus organize my information in several ways.  I can’t decide whether to keep track of my flowers by color or type or location.  I am going to play around with all three this summer and make up my mind at the end of the season.



Notability Library -- Show what notebooks you have created.

Notability Library — Shows what notebooks you have created.


2. Being able to combine images with text that is either typed or written with my finger or a stylus is so useful.  I can also add stickie notes.

Images, Typed Text, Hand Written Notes

Images, Typed Text, Hand Written Notes


3. I can also gather articles from the web and post them in my notebook as a web clipping.  I read Henry Homeyer’s column all of the time in my local newspaper, tear the articles out and then promptly lose them.  Now I go online if I want to keep a column and clip it to my gardening Notability notebook. Everything is in one place–I really like this feature!

image of Henry Homeyer's website

Henry Homeyer Column


Evernote works on a variety of devices, not just the iPad and iPhone. It is free though I can upgrade to a premium level.  It is similar to Notability in that I can add images, text, and share with others. An advantage over Notability is that I can also access my notes via my computer.

1. It organizes the notes by date and title.  The notes are searchable by key word.

Evernote Opening Page With All Notes Listed

Evernote opening page with all notes listed

2. The images and text are easy to insert and manipulate.

Note Combining Image and Text

Note Combining Image and Text

My Summer Office

My Summer Office

Which app is best? It’s all personal preference–some folks love Notability and others think Evernote is the best.  If you want an expert opinion — ask someone still in school.  Chances are he or she is using one or the other apps to take notes and organize their assignments.  Me–I’m sitting in my outdoor office, organizing my notes on–well I use Notability the most–and planning my next garden bed for which I will have of record of each and every plant and its location.  No surprises next spring–well hardly any!


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