It’s almost here!!! Let’s celebrate spring at the 2015 Garden Party

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 1,500 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, they go quickly when we open the gates at 9am!

Just as exciting are plant and seed sales, 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, so get out your jaunty caps, seersucker suits, frilly garden party dresses, and huge hats (friendly pets can dress up too).

Because it’s such a busy day, please consider carpooling or public transportation.

Check out the full schedule below – and please share with your friends and listservs!

********************************************************************************************Matt as Peter Rabbit

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

Community Forklift’s 6th Annual Garden Party will be held on Saturday, March 28th, from 9am – 5 pm at their large warehouse, just a few minutes from NE DC at 4671 Tanglewood Drive in Edmonston, MD (in the Hyattsville area).  It’s free and open to all.  

Gently-Used Garden Supplies:

Finding lots of pots

Garden supplies are very popular and tend to fly out the door early in the day!

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, planters, pots and architectural accents.  Local businesses Behnke Nurseries, Johnson’s Florist, and Campbell & Ferrara were also kind enough to collect donations from customers at their garden centers. 


These items will all be brought out for sale at 9am on the morning of the Garden Party – and at 25% – 75% below retail, the prices are easy on the wallet.  Proceeds support Community Forklift’s work to turn the waste stream into a resource stream for local communities.  


(Note to early birds:  no lawn & garden supplies have been put out yet.  The Forklift will not have any garden party items available until 9am on March 28th). 


Sales of Seeds, Plants, & Gardening Books: 

 Gardening books

The Hyattsville Horticultural Society will be selling seeds and gardening books.  There will be ornamental plants from Beltsville Garden Club, microgreens from Little Wild Things City Farm, and vegetable seedlings from nearby educational farm Eco City Farms.  In addition, Naked Botanicals will be offering locally made, non-toxic mosquito repellent.

Lots of seeds

Photo courtesy of Sarah & Samantha Photography 2013


Lemonade Lunch: 

Starting at 11:30am, visitors can enjoy refreshments and grilled goodies (both meat and vegetarian options).  


Big Hats, Seersucker Suits, & Puppies:  

Elegant costumesAdults, children, and (leashed) pets can win prizes 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.  Or, you can dress as your favorite flower, veggie, or symbol of spring.  Prizes for the most stylish and creative costumes will be awarded at 3:30pm. 


Live Bands: 

Wild Anacostias get wildLocal musicians will be performing throughout the day.  The diverse mix includes R&B and Classic Rock from Dave MacMillan and from the Mount Rainier Jam Band; Americana, Blues, Latino, & Jazz from the Sweet Back Papas; and New Orléans Jazz from the Wild Anacostias.  Wrapping up the end of the party is Blue Plains, who told us, “We’re not really sure what genre we play, but we like it, and we hope other people will too!”


Activity Zone & Pallet Place: 

Vertical Pallet Planter

From 9am – 5pm, folks of all ages can give hands-on help to our local rivers!  Help plant seedlings for the Anacostia Watershed Society to use in restoring wetlands. 

Or, stop by the “Pallet Place,” where you can pick up some FREE pallets, and Gary and Alia from GL Barnhart Construction will show you how to turn them into planters and outdoor furniture. 

The Forklift will also be giving away FREE vinyl window sashes for building cold frames and greenhouse boxes, which are great for extending the growing season. 


Gardening Advice & Community Partners: 

Master Gardeners exhibitFrom 9am – 5pm, the Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources, DC Greenworks, and Maryland Master Gardeners will share information about the Tree Relief Grant Program, Rain Check Rebates, and Bay-Wise landscaping. 


City Blossoms, Behnke Nurseries, and Veteran Compost will also be offering information on youth community gardening, and planting and composting advice.


MOM’s Organic Market, Green Ease, and Slow Food DC will be sharing info on clean, healthy, and fair foods.


Free Workshops:  

Container gardening


10am – 11am:  Container Gardening:   presented by Maryland 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!


11:30am – 12:30pm:  Healthy Cooking on a Budget:  presented by Brainfood.  Learn tips, tricks and easy substitutions for seasonal, healthy eating on a pinched budget. Community MVPs, teenage healthy cooking educators, will not only share their skills, recipes, and cooking stories with you, but will also give you a chance to get your hands dirty and practice new skills as we make a dish together in this workshop. Come join the (tasty) fun!  Brainfood is a non-profit youth development organization in Washington, DC. that uses food as a tool to build life skills and promote healthy living in a fun and safe environment.  


1pm – 2pm:  Is your Yard Really YOU?  Presented by Revolutionary Gardens.  Everyone’s home reflects their personality… on the inside. Not enough people carry that into their yard! Landscape designer Dave Marciniak shares how to take, tweak, and build on found objects to carry your sense of style into the garden.


2:30pm – 3:30pm:  Hodgepodge Mosaics:   Presented by City Blossoms.  In this hands-on workshop, you will learn how to mosaic with found materials like scrabble tiles and old bottles. If you are a recycling fiend, then this workshop is for you! Everyone will leave with a unique mosaic creation.  City Blossoms is a non-profit organization that creates kid-friendly, creative green spaces throughout the Washington DC area that inspire communities to learn more about the wonders of growing their own food.


4pm – 5pm:  How to Make a Critter Proof Compost Bin:  Presented by Josh Singer, the DC Department of Parks and Recreation’s Community Garden Specialist and Executive Director of Wangari Gardens.  He will present DPR’s new Compost Cooperative Network, and discuss how to build a critter proof compost bin at home.


For updates on the Garden Party and Spring Sale, visit 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:  Saturday and Sunday 9am – 6pm, Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm, & Wednesdays 10am – 7pm (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