Reviewed: The Garden

Digging around the District for a new I-71 storefront to check out, we ended up at The Garden. As we left the city pocked with holes in our search for this wonderful shop, we accidentally struck underground electrical cables (pardon the outage, Georgetown), a gas line (call before you dig), and several dead interns. No sweat there, I’ve seen the Pelican Brief, I know exactly what to do. One quick call to the Capitol and mirthlessly grinning staffers hurriedly carted off the corpses, screeching excitedly about having new guests for “Master Mitch’s Tea Party,” whatever that means. Let’s not think about it and go get some weed from The Garden instead. Hooray for weed!

Shopping at The Garden

The Garden has a great location in Truxton Circle, right in the center of DC, at 1541 New Jersey Ave NW. They're open from 10am-9pm Monday thru Saturday and 12-8pm on Sundays, accessible from both Rhode Island and Florida Avenues on a quiet residential stretch of New Jersey Avenue. The Shaw-Howard metro stop is a ten minute walk away.

Depending on your approach, the first thing you notice when arriving at The Garden will either be the beautiful mural from DC legend Anikean Udofia on the south side of the building or the vibrant green turf covering the shop’s façade. The next thing you clock is the abundance of parking, with about a dozen dedicated spaces—which is rare for any kind of retail location in DC, let alone an I-71 shop! 

After the kind security guard checks your ID, you’re let into one of two main rooms that make up The Garden. A large glass case in the first room displays all of the shop’s gifts, including their entire selection of flower, pre-rolls, edibles, and extracts. The space also features a cool little lounge area, with a comfy chair suspended from the ceiling and some stools where you can chill out while waiting, as well as an ATM (The Garden is cash only, folks!).

the garden shop

Aniekan Udofia's gorgeous mural adorns the side of The Garden

If you’re visiting on a busy day, there’s a fair chance that you’ll select your gift and your shopping will be completed in this room, since it serves as an overflow service area. On a regular business day, you’ll be ushered into the second room of the service floor, where more products are on display, including premium CBD products and pet treats. You’re encouraged to browse The Garden’s CBD products and THC gifts before checking out at the counter. If you’re shopping at The Garden on a busy day and your experience is limited to Room 1, fret not—the point of the overflow room is to ensure every customer receives the same attention and care.

Speaking of attention and care, customer service at The Garden is impeccable. From my ID check with security, to the employee that showed me around the shop on my visit, to the clerk who rang me up, all were patient, courteous, informed people who seemed to genuinely care about the industry. The folks working at The Garden are passionate about their products, gifts, and greater mission.

What's on The Garden's Menu?

On to The Garden’s flower gifts, which are separated into three tiers with price corresponding to quality: Elevated flower ($40-$45/3.5g), Enthusiast flower ($55/3.5g), and Elite flower ($75/3.5g) at the top tier. When I visited, The Garden had three strains of Elevated gifts, three strains of Enthusiast gifts, and four strains of Elite gifts. It is worth mentioning, for those looking for the bang without the buck, each of the gifts on the Elite menu absolutely belonged there and would be well worth the price of the token. What token? Oh, sorry. I forgot to mention that when you make your purchase at The Garden, you’re actually buying a colored token corresponding to the gift tier you choose, which you then drop into one of four DC-area charity buckets, to which a “micro-donation” will be made from your purchase. How exactly does it work? The Garden's Mike Ficzko answered:

"Our donation system is fairly simple. Each color coin represents a dollar amount. The coins are tallied weekly and the amount is entered into our database. And at the end of the month, we add up the totals for each organization and send them a payment.

We choose  mostly black-owned organizations that are serving black communities. We came up with this model because we didn't want to be another I71 shop that just takes from the community. It's only right that we give back as long as we're in business. We don't have any specific criteria- as long as the organization is helping people, we are open to making donations to them."

The Garden also has a sweet selection of gear: carabiner clips, dome tents, lanterns, ice axes, medkits, spades, fishing tackle, jerry cans, buckshot, propane stoves, hatchets, inflatable rafts—everything you’ll need for a highly upvoted post on the r/RockCreekParkSurvivalists subreddit! But seriously, The Garden’s smoking gear is top-notch. Despite all of the dazzling cannabis gifts that fill The Garden’s display cases, your bong-bewitched reviewer’s eye was drawn to the Ooze Steamboat Silicone Bubbler sitting on their shelf (#$%& off, it’s MINE!). Next to this prime smoking piece were several uniquely designed rolling trays, some very cool glass beaker-style bongs, plus pipes, Clipper lighters, and any kind of paper you might want to roll up a tasty doob. Don't mind if I do!

Reviewed: Acai Berry Gelato

We were blessed with a gorgeous-looking and aromatic bag of buds for this review. Cracking into the mylar of Acai Berry Gelato (ABG for convenience), its fruity, floral essences were immediately apparent. The medium-sized nuggets were on the dense side, with nice round bases near the stem that tapered into multiple satisfying peaks-per-nugget poking out like little fingers. This strain had a striking mix of hues. Dark blotches of purple leap out from the forest-green bud, joined by vibrant orange hairs from the lighter green pistils. The manicure on these buds was impeccable, accentuating their natural shape. Trichomes are decent, roughly 75% coverage of transparent, immature crystals.

Acai Berry Gelato weed photo

Frosty Acai Berry Gelato nugs

The nugs were a bit dry- when pressed, the stem snapped instantly, but the depression slowly rebounded to the bud’s shape and only regained about 50% of its original form. The smoke wasn’t harsh, but it was heavy, and I had a light cough every other hit. A sativa-dominant hybrid, ABG has a focused high without raciness, a decent body and a strong euphoria. ABG has a peppery, cinnamon-like sweetness followed by a creamy after-taste. I gave it several puffs to confirm, and no, I am not tasting purple; the flavor is seriously intense, like Daniel Day Lewis with a beard serious.

Acai Berry Gelato is a decent morning flower for me on days off, where I don’t have to do any mental heavy lifting in the office, but have a mountain of laundry that requires climbing rope and a harness to scale. Heading over to The Garden for that Ooze Steamboat! Then I guess I have to go to an REI or something. (I’ve never mountaineered before.)

ABG is a “do the damn dishes” strain, a good “get in there and wage chemical warfare against your toilet bowl” weed. Not Sunday Funday, but a Sunday-Get-$***-Done-Day weed. If it’s that kind of high you’re digging on, or if you’re trying to plant any other kind of chill cannabis vibe, head on over to one of our new favorite I-71 cannabis gift shops in NW DC, The Garden!