Herb Plever, Editor of Bromeliana, Newsletter of the NY Bromeliad Society speaks with Opinion8ed
Most everyone has some kind of hobby(ies) that interests them and brings them pleasure in their spare time between work and time with family and friends. Few get so interested in a particular hobby however, that they become a world renowned expert. But Herbert Plever is not your ordinary fellow with an ordinary hobby. Now a retired attorney, he has cultivated rare and exotic bromeliads from his urban apartment in New York for more than 50 years. He is the editor of Bromeliana, the official publication of the New York Bromeliad Society and he has been invited all over the world to talk about his collection.
So just what is a bromeliad, anyway? Bromeliads are a family of tropical flowering plants that have over 3000 individual and unique species. Some of the more common varieties resemble the spiny leaves of a pineapple while other types are wispy and fragile looking things that attach themselves to the bark of trees and don’t require any soil at all.
Outside of tropical rain forests these plants were rare and hard to find when Mr. Plever first began to get interested but nowadays they are quite common – popular enough that you are likely to find some of the more common varieties at your local Home Depot or supermarket. As it turns out some varieties are relatively hardy – strong enough to survive the less than ideal conditions and treatment doled out by yours truly. In fact, the very definition of a hardy plant is one that can survive in my house.
The apartment that Mr. Plever and his wife Sylvia share in Rochdale Village, Jamaica, N.Y. is hardly the place you’d think to find a veritable jungle of tropical plants. But grow lights, humidifiers, weekly soakings in the bath tub and considerable time patchkehing (sp?) have yielded transformative results. Literally hundreds of bromeliads in a five room apartment is truly a sight to see.
Opinion8ed was fortunate to get a few minutes of Mr. Plever’s time for an interview to talk about his unique hobby, as in between growing bromeliads he and his wife are constantly on the go attending their weekly folk dance and Scottish dance groups (yup, experts in that too, giving demonstrations several times a year at various festivals), Thai Chi classes, theater, films, and opera. You can learn more about these interesting plants on the NY Bomeliad Society web site or by downloading some issues of their newsletter that Mr. Plever artfully edits and publishes (see below for links) or have a closer look at some of his specimen’s in the Opinion8ed Photo Journal (Bromeliad Photo Journal).
Link to the NY Bromeliad Society web site and example copies of Bromeliana: