Bel Arbor Community Garden

Collection Metadata


Bel Arbor Community Garden (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Community gardens -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- History
Neighborhood Gardens Trust (Philadelphia, Pa.
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
Philadelphia Green (Program)
Bella Vista (Philadelphia, Pa.)


"Bel Arbor Community Garden, located at 1012-26 Kimball Street, Philadelphia, is a quarter acre that provides 25 individual garden plots, a small orchard area, a perennial grasses and wildflower meadow, and a woods/thicket area. The area once comprised the rear portion of a large tract of land on the 1000 block of Washington Avenue that was left vacant after a six-story factory burned down in 1993.

Determined neighborhood efforts led to the founding of a tree farm and a community garden on the lot. In 1999, the owner of the property donated the land on which both the garden/tree farm were located to the Neighborhood Gardens Association (NGA), a private, non-profit land trust dedicated to helping preserve community gardens." -- Bel Arbor Community Garden website

"With communal spaces including a gazebo, orchard, meadow, trees, and a bricked barbecue area, in addition to 23 individual plots, Bel Arbor Community Garden welcomes all kinds of life to Philadelphia’s Bella Vista neighborhood. The land has a long history in Philadelphia urban gardening, being the approximate site where Alexander Parker’s Botanic Garden stood in 1820.
When an abandoned factory burned down in 1993, neighbors created two organizations to transform the space: the vegetable and flower-producing Kimball Street Community Garden and the Bel Arbor Tree Farm (both began to organize in 1994). The land was preserved by the Neighborhood Gardens Trust in 1999, and the two groups combined in 2001 to form Bel Arbor Community Garden. The garden holds an annual summer solstice barbecue potluck and provides a community space for birthday parties and other impromptu outdoor gatherings." --Smithsonian Community of Gardens website

This collection is comprised of archival materials held by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's McLean Library, images courtesy of the Bel Arbor Community Garden, and recent interviews by Joseph Makuc with garden members Carla Puppin, Jon Snyder, and Alice Austin.


Philadelphia (Pa.)
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