Plant Sale Positions

The leadership of the annual Master Gardener Plant Sale consists of the Chairs and Co-Chairs of the various Departments of the sale such as Consignments, Herbs and Edibles, Perennials, Traffic and others. Each year turnovers in the leadership offers the opportunity for MGs to participate in this activity. Below are the list of positions and descriptions of responsibilities for these Departments, and availability in the leadership roles. The Plant Sale Committee begins its work each year in the late Fall. If you are interested in any of these positions, contact Gary Scheider ( or Alison Johnson ( for information.

The Plant Sale Steering Committee meets during the year to review the plans for upcoming sales and provide ideas about the sale.

Time Commitment: The following are time and effort expectations for departmental leadership, such as Chairs and Co-Chairs, as members of the MG Plant Sale Committee. The actual time commitments depend upon how the Chair and Co-Chair decide to divide duties. One of these persons must be on site and available at all times during the sale.

  • Prior to sale: Monthly Saturday morning meetings in January, February, March, and April in Bellevue.
  • During Plant Sale set-up and actual Sale: Friday, all day through Pre-Sale; Saturday, 7:30 through take-down.

Succession Planning: The intention of identifying the Chair and Co-Chair for each Department is to allow for the rotation from Co-Chair to Chair after the sale, ensuring that the Department information is documented and passed on for the following year. This ensures that no one person is obligated for an extended commitment. Some department leads choose to stay as a team because they enjoy their work. The Departments may identify an ‘Understudy’ below who is willing to take on leadership in the future.

The following specific Department leadership descriptions of duties and suggested skill sets provide an overview of leadership requirements for the sale. This list denotes leadership positions.

Plant Sale Leadership, Gary Scheider and Alison Johnson:

  • Oversee and coordinate the general planning for and operation of the sale.
  • Maintain copies and manage any information related to contracts with the various UW agencies and all Plant Sale Departments.
  • Major time commitments are from January through the middle of May.
    • Plan, lead, and communicate during the monthly Plant Sale Committee meetings.
    • Be on site during the sale to deal with any issues as they arise.
    • Close the sale.
    • Ensure proper storing of supplies for the following year’s sale.

Consignment and Donations, Chair, Gordon Polson; Co-Chair : Open

This Committee communicates with consignors and coordinates the tracking and payment of their plants. The process is well documented. Accurate record keeping is necessary.

  • Organize and track consigned and donated plants prior to the sale.
  • Confirm consigned and donated plants at Take Down.
  • Ensure consigners receive their pay or unsold plants are returned to them.
  • Move any unclaimed donated plants into the specified area for donations to non-profit organizations.

Education, Chair, Alison Johnson; Co-Chairs Tina Gruendike, Sue Kraemer:

This Committee is responsible for fulfilling the MG mission to educate, therefore, we would like to show our customers how to find, identify, select, plant, divide, and care for plants for their particular needs.

NOTE: Since most of clientele comes to purchase plants, they do not plan for a scheduled speaker. Experience has shown that smaller demonstrations at various venues within the sale are more useful and draw more people in need of immediate and specific ‘how-to’ information.

  • Communicate with and coordinate all education-related volunteers and assignments prior to and during the sale.
  • Develop the list of potential information-related venue sites and demonstration personnel for the sale.
  • Prior to sale identify knowledgeable resources and strategically place them at the specific venues, i.e. close to tomatoes, herbs and veggies, in particular.
  • Organize the personnel for various informational duties at the sale, in particular, volunteers for the Information station, Personal Shoppers, and ‘Ask Me’ personnel during the sale.

Gloves & Burlap Bags, Chair, Marianne Langenbach; Support: Suzi O’Byrne

  • Order and stock gloves prior to sale.
  • Help Chair to sell gloves during the sale.

Herbs and Edibles, Chair, Suzanne Broback, Co-Chairs, Gia Parsons, Louis Ting; Vendor Support, Gary Scheider:

  • Oversee and coordinate the general planning and volunteers for the Herbs and Edibles in advance of and during the sale.
  • Manage inventory, vendor and order management for the sale.

Holding, Chair , Co-Chair, Valerie Garza:

Paid Holding and Un-paid Holding are at two separate locations close to the cashiers.

  • Un-paid Holding is for those who need to put down plants prior to checking out while they continue their shopping.
  • Paid Holding is for those who have paid for plants and are putting them into a safe place while they go to get their car.
  • Requires organization and presence at the sale, but relatively little pre-work.

Hospitality, Co-Chairs, Velentina Barel and Susan Dodd:

This Committee plans the procurement and delivery of food and snacks to volunteers and vendors for the duration of the sale.

  • Coordinate and plan for food sources, services, and personnel in the Hospitality area during sale.
  • Requires intensive commitment during the setup and sale.

Native Plants, Chair, Dick Decker, Co-Chair, Terry Roche, Understudy, Paul Gardiner:

  • Oversee and coordinate the general planning for the Native Plants in advance of and during the sale.

Shrubs, Trees and Woody Plants, Chair, Sam Mitchell:

  • Oversees and coordinates the general planning for the Ornamentals in advance of and during the sale.

Perennials, Chair, Wendy Fawcett; Co-Chair: TJ Wing; Support, Portia Wilcock, Kathy Lapham

This is the largest and most detail-oriented Department of the sale. There is a Perennials Committee to plan specific preparation in advance of and for the sale itself, such as the March Potting Party, labeling and plant identification, plant propagation, plant display and pricing at the sale, etc.

The central Committee Coordinator‘s responsibilities include:

  • Keeping records and meeting schedules.
  • Assigning the necessary personnel for sale-related activities and track scheduling.
  • This work could be done via telephone and e-mail, requiring relatively little on-site time.

Personnel, Co-Chairs, Jennifer Prichard:

  • Recruit and assign personnel to individual Departments using the online recruitment tool
  • Process and timelines exist.
  • Major communication effort is required in March and April to secure and assign volunteer staff to the various shifts and days during the sale.
  • Most of the pre-sale work can be done via ‘e’-mail.
  • Presence at the sale is important.
    • Sign in and direct personnel during the sale.
    • Re-assign volunteers at pressure points during the sale as needed.

Publicity/Communication, Chair, Pamela Wickard, Graphics: Suzanne Abbott; Other Support: Penny Kriese, Joyce Harms, Emilie Castle

This Committee anticipates opportunities and prepares the images and flyers/posters and various communications for press, community and garden group blogs and newsletters, etc., in order to inform and draw as broad an audience as possible. This is an on-going responsibility throughout the year.

  • Work with Chairs to develop Plant Sale branding (logo, images, text).
  • Work with individual Departments on promotion and education.
  • Prepare and disseminate flyers, posters, signs, and communications for web and community newsletters, blogs, websites, etc.
  • Skills: Experience in communications and marketing, graphics and production skills, and the ability to develop relevant connections and distribution lists.

Set-Up, Chair, OPEN:

This Committee is responsible for oversight of table setup, placement, coverings, etc. and coordinates with each Department.

Take-Down & Shed Transfer, Chair, Steve Layman, Co-Chair, OPEN:

This Committee is responsible for planning for the overall on-site sale facilities.

  • Secure all tents and tables by coordinating needs and requests with various Plant Sale Departments. Identify sources, manage delivery and pickup.
  • Secure permits from the University and Fire Department.
  • Requirement: Co-Chair who will learn the procedures and take over for the current Chair after 2014 sale.
  • Extensive commitment on set-up day and again on take-down afternoon.

tomato plantTomatoes, Chair, Steve Layman, Co-Chair :

This Committee is responsible for the Master Gardener-grown tomatoes that have been such a big attraction for customers. Steve Layman is the current Chair.

  • Select the tomato varieties to be grown, order the seeds, and manage the seeding at the CUH Greenhouse five weeks before the sale (around the end of March).
  • Manage the transplant of tomato seedlings into individual 4-inch pots two weeks after seeding.
  • Oversee watering of the transplants as needed prior to the sale.
  • Manage the Tomato Tent during the sale with the help of other volunteers.
  • Extensive commitment during sale times.

Traffic/Security, Chair,OPEN, Co-Chair, OPEN:

This Committee is responsible to managing traffic and providing security during the sale.

  • Plan and implement traffic patterns into the sale and parking areas.
  • Acquisition and placement of directional signs as needed.
  • Development of plans for security coverage for nights of the sale.
  • Extensive commitment during sale times.

Other Plant Sale Departments:

  • Cashiers, Co-Chair, Nicole Stanley; Co-Chair, OPEN
  • Preview Party, Co-Chairs, Bonny Nordgren, Ellon Jarvis, Marcia Dillon and Marg Walker
  • Raffle, Co-Chairs: Bob O’Connor
  • Tally & Cashiers, Co-Chairs, Daryl Schlesser, Nicole Stanley and Willa Conrad
  • Treasurer, Chair, Kristi Vellema; Co-Chair, Andrea Furedy
  • Vendors, Chair: Marty Byrne; Support: Debbie O’Neal
  • ZooDoo, Chair: Steve Layman


Updated January, 2017

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