Rain or Shine, the Garden Party Goes On!


March 29, 2014

Community Forklift’s Annual Garden Party & Sale

Spring is a time for rebirth and renewal. Here at the ‘Lift, we give new life to old materials… So what better place to celebrate the season?  

Our annual Garden Party & Sale is our largest and longest-running tradition.  Drawing over 1,200 guests last year, it’s a crazy and fun-filled day!   After squirreling away landscaping and garden supplies all winter, we put them all out for sale at once – and yup, folks are already lined up at the gates when we open at 9am.  

Just as exciting are demonstrations, live music, activities for the whole family, and a lemonade lunch with grilled goodies.  Our favorite part of the tradition is the Costume Contest:  get out your jaunty caps, seersucker suits, frilly garden party dresses, and huge hats (friendly four-legged friends are encouraged to dress up too)!

Check out the full schedule below –

and please send it to your friends and listserves!

Photo of 2013 Garden Party courtesy of the Hyattsville Life & Times

Photo of 2013 Garden Party courtesy of the Hyattsville Life & Times

DC-Area Gardeners Mark the Return of Spring with Quirky Local Tradition

Community Forklift’s 5th Annual Garden Party will be held on Saturday, March 29th, from 9am – 5:30 pm at the large warehouse, just a few minutes from NE DC at 4671 Tanglewood Drive in Edmonston, MD.

stylish Forklift Fan in red dress compressed

This stylish Forklift Fan found a lot of great stuff!

Low-Cost Garden Supplies:

As a nonprofit reuse center, Community Forklift receives donations of modern and vintage building materials and home improvement supplies, then offers the items to the public at low prices in their huge thrift store, and distributes free materials to nonprofits and families in need.  

Over the winter, Forklift staffers squirreled away all the donations of gardening tools, outdoor furniture, brick, stone, landscaping materials, planters, pots and architectural accents (they also received items from several collections held in Bethesda at American Plant Garden Décor Boutiques).  These items will all be brought out for sale on the morning of the Garden Party – and at 25% to 75% below retail, the prices are easy on the wallet.

(Note to early birds:  no lawn & garden supplies have been put out yet.  The ‘Lift will not have any garden party items available until 9am on March 29th) 

Christian selling ECO city farms seedlings compressed

Christian shows off the seedlings

Seedling Sales: 

ECO City Farms, a nearby educational farm, will have vegetable seedlings for sale.  There are even options for folks who live in dim basement apartments:  Radiant Blooms by Ellie will be offering beautiful flower arrangements crafted from clay.

Lemonade Lunch: 

Starting at 11am, visitors can enjoy refreshments and grilled goodies (both meat and vegetarian options).  Doggie treats will be provided by The Big Bad Woof, a local store specializing in eco-friendly and organic pet supplies.

doggies compressed

These sweet puppies showed up in spring colors

Big Hats, Seersucker Suits, & Puppies:  

Adults, children, and (leashed) pets will earn discounts for sporting their best garden party attire.  Two- and four-legged Forklift Fans are encouraged to wear dramatic hats, frilly dresses, jaunty caps, and seersucker or madras suits.  Alternative options include gardening boots and overalls, or dressing as your favorite flower or veggie.  Prizes for the most stylish and creative costumes will be awarded at 1:15pm. 

Live Music: 

Local musicians will be performing throughout the day.  The diverse mix includes Appalachian and Irish tunes, as well as folk music from Riverdale Park’s mayor Vernon Archer, and zydeco and New Orleans jazz from local favorite Wild Anacostias

This little guy can't wait to start gardening!

This little guy can’t wait to start gardening!

Activity Zone: 

From 10am – 5pm, folks of all ages can give hands-on help to our local rivers.  Help paint rain barrels to be used in the Hickey Run Watershed Program, or plant seeds for the Anacostia Watershed Society to use in restoring wetlands. 

Gardening Advice: 

From 10am – 5pm, the UMD Master Gardeners, the Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources, and other partners will be offering information and demonstrations on topics including the Tree Relief Grant Program, Rain Check Rebates, and Bay-Wise landscaping.  There will also be composting information from Compost Cab and Veteran Compost.

Free Workshops:  

colorful cold frame

10am – 11am:  Cold Frame Building 101:  Chris Gummo shows you how to turn old window sashes into as mini-greenhouses, so you can start seeds earlier and continue growing when the weather gets colder – and Community Forklift will be offering FREE vinyl sashes so you can start building! 

12pm – 1pm:  Starting Seeds and Raising Seedlings:  presented by Deborah Wren of ECO City Farms.  She says, “We grow vegetables using intensive agricultural methods. Because we’re urban, we grow in a small space and use a variety of methods of amending and seeding. In this workshop, we’ll discuss our different seeding methods and how you can adopt some of these methods for your own personal use.

upcycledrawer2pm – 3pm:  Container Vegetable Gardening:  presented by UME Master Gardeners: Explore vegetables that you can grow in containers of various sizes and small yards.  Enjoy fresh vegetables no matter the size of your garden, and eat healthier!

4pm – 5pm:  Composting 101:  Veteran Compost is here to talk about tea:  “We’ll share the history of compost tea, starting back to the Middle Ages to today. We’ll examine the benefits of compost teas, the biology behind teas and the different brewing and application modes. You’ll walk away with the knowledge and enthusiasm to brew up compost tea at home for free. Also, bring your home composting problems – we promise to troubleshoot any and all composting issues people may have.”  Jason will also be giving away FREE compost tea, while supplies last!

For updates on the Garden Party and Spring Sale, visit www.CommunityForklift.org or call 301-985-5180.


Community Forklift, the metro DC area’s largest thrift store of surplus and salvaged building materials, opened in 2005. The unusual name refers to the nonprofit’s mission:  to lift up local communities by keeping waste out of landfills, creating green jobs and making renovation supplies affordable. Open 7 days a week:  Monday & Tuesday 12pm – 6pm; Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 10am – 6pm; and Saturday and Sunday 9am – 6pm (If you are picking up a bulky item or making a donation, arrive at least a half hour before closing).  

Address: 4671 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston, MD 20781. Five minutes from DC, in the Hyattsville area.  Bus, bike, and driving directions at www.CommunityForklift.org