Alta Felton and the Garden of Eatin'

Collection Metadata


Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
Philadelphia Green (Program)
Urban gardens -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Community gardens -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Felton, Alta, 1913-2011
Point Breeze (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Greene Countrie Towne
Garden of Eatin' (Philadelphia, Pa.)


"In 1937 when Alta Felton moved to her home at 25th and Dickinson Street in South Philadelphia she says "It was like the suburbs back then. You could leave your doors open." She missed the trees that she had grown up with in Virginia and in 1959, she and her best friend, Rena Ennis planted a willow tree. You can see it now from the Point Breeze Community Garden near her house. Mrs. Felton has been told that it is the tallest willow tree in Philadelphia. When she was planting the trees in the 1950s, she was also participating in Louise Bush-Brown's pioneering window box gardens project, the forerunner of today's community gardens program.

Alta Felton has been a member of PHS since 1980 when the Philadelphia Green program was developing Point Breeze as the second Greene Countrie Towne. She and her neighbors had begun the garden with recycled fence materials, a love of gardening, and lots of energy and determination. There are now 37 plots in what has been christened the "Garden of Eatin," tended by 28 residents. Felton's daughter Rosetta Little, tends the colorful space that sports Point Breeze's signature sign, perhaps familiar to you, as this garden is a perennial winner in the City Gardens Contest.

Alta, at 82, scarcely slowed by a hip replacement last year, is definitely a force in this garden. She herself grows okra, collards, tomatoes, string beans, and squash (to mention just a sample). Her involvement with this garden has affected many more than just the three generations of her own family who have shared the harvest. She has led her fellow gardeners in cooperative ventures with many community-related agencies resulting in Penn State's crop trials and with a greenhouse built by the Grass Roots Alliance for a Solar Pennsylvania. ..." -- Mary Lou Wolfe. "The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Members Become Experts and Share Their Expertise." (1996)

Alta Felton’s huge garden that spanned from Reed to Dickinson on 25th no longer exists.

This collection is comprised on materials held by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's McLean Library.


Philadelphia (Pa.)