What We Do

Fund Master Gardener Programs throughout Pierce County

As a land grant university, supported in part by federal grants, Washington State University is restricted in the activities it can fund.  The Master Gardener Foundation of Pierce County was established to ensure that we can adequately fund Master Gardener  Programs to deliver maximum benefit here in Pierce County.  Here are some of the programs we fund.

Local Food

Food insecurity is on the rise due to climate change and other factors.  Across Washington, one of our program priorities is to shore up local food programs.  In Pierce County we do this in a number of ways:

Community Gardens.  In addition to volunteering our efforts in many Community Gardens, the Foundation awards grants through our Sharon Ballard Community Garden Grant program which helps fund projects to make these gardens more productive.

Demonstration Gardens.  Your donations mean that we can operate two Demonstration Gardens in the county and we donate the produce from these gardens to local food banks.

Food Bank Donations

In 2023, we continued our practice of donating produce from our Demonstration Gardens to local Food Banks.
The harvest is in and the numbers recorded and we delivered a total of 1,400 pounds of Produce to the Gig Harbor Peninsula Food Bank and the Puyallup Food Bank.


With our Washington State University backing, of course we are all about horticultural education.  We operate many programs here in Pierce County, among them:

Demonstration Gardens.  We have two demonstration gardens in the County which act as our live classrooms.  They are set up so you can tour them to pick up gardening tips.  We also schedule regular classes out of our demonstration gardens.

Youth Gardening.  To educate future generations of gardeners, we run summer Youth Gardening programs out of each of our demonstration gardens.  Classes are free thanks to your support.

Speakers Bureau.  We can also bring the education to your organization through our Speakers Bureau program.  We cover a range of topics from what you can do about climate change in your home gardening practices to establishing pollinator and rain gardens to how to prune fruit trees.  With your support, these classes are free of charge, though we will gladly accept a Speakers Honorarium which is then plowed right back into the program.

Gig Harbor Demo Garden in Sehmel Homestead Park

Don and two previous Master Gardener of the Year recipients.

WSU Puyallup Scholarships

 This scholarship program is the result of a successful campaign of our foundation. We help fund scholarships for graduate students attending the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center (WSU PREC).  Partnering with faculty and administrators, we created an endowment to help defray the cost of higher education for graduate students studying horticulture or a related field. Since its founding, more than 15 awards of $1,000 or more have been awarded.  

Answer Gardening Questions

We began over fifty years ago by offering clinics where we answer your ‘thorny’ gardening questions (get it?).  We still do that today with over a dozen gardening clinics located in nurseries, hardware stores and farmers markets throughout the county.  All, free of charge due to your generous support of our organization.

Plant Sale

You might know us just from our Annual Plant Sale.  We spend about eight months of volunteering efforts per year just so we can create a ‘Pop-up Nursery’ on the last weekend of April.  We sell thousands of plants in just those two days.  People from all over the county come to shop.  And the proceeds from the sale provide much of the funding for all our programs here in Pierce County.  If you have shopped at a plant sale, thank you for your support.  If you haven’t… mark your calendar and check back to this site for more details.