A semi-retired electrical engineer and full-time computer consultant who has lived in Marple Township for 38 years, Neil Lipson volunteered to water a tree in Veterans Park because he has a strong interest in horticulture including research into fertilizers, growing techniques, and insect and pest control. Neil has been growing plants all of his life. At age 7, he was growing carnivorous plants and to this day maintains a large collection of them as well as a large collection of cacti; however, growing violets is his passion.
“I received my first violet as a present from my wife in 1985. She knew I liked plants and explained that she gave me a violet because it had pretty flowers.” That single violet has grown into a collection of 300 plants. Through his research, he developed an African Violet with a solid black, striped flower. Of the more than 20,000 different types of African Violets, Neil specializes in Chimeras. Neil has written 8 articles on Chimeras alone in the span of 20 years, as well as dozens of articles on growing African violets for African Violet Magazine, which features his articles and photographs on a regular basis. Neil has been a contributing editor of the magazine for the past 20 years. As a member of the African Violet Society of Springfield, Neil shows his violets at their annual show at the Springfield Mall where he has received dozens of awards in the past 7 years, including Best Variegated and Best Tri-State African Violet Collection. (The next show is on April 20, 2013.)
“Photography is a serious hobby for me.” His photographs of violets as well as every single plant at the Philadelphia Flower Show speak to his passion for photographing plants. “I like to photograph plants, but I also volunteer to take photographs for other clubs, magazines, and various charity events.”
If that were not enough to keep him busy, Neil is a serious pianist. He spends many hours practicing on his 7-foot-long, concert grand piano to prepare for recitals. Most recently he performed portions of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto and the Well-Tempered Clavier No. 2 by Bach for the Coterie Music Club in Bryn Mawr. Somewhere along the way, he learned to tune pianos, which he does gratis for churches and synagogues. Can there be any doubt that Neil Lipson is truly a Renaissance man!