Fred Soviero has been taking care of the Hofstra arboretum for the last 30 years. (Photo courtesy of Hofstra University)

It’s no secret that walking around Hofstra’s campus is like strolling through a museum of living things. The arboretum trees look spectacular – whether you see them in blazing sunlight or buried under a foot of snow – and when the tulips bloom in the spring, Hempstead is transformed into Amsterdam. The landscaping is no accident; the Plant Department makes sure that each tree, shrub and flower is cared for on a daily basis. A 26-person staff makes the rounds to maintain and beautify almost every outdoor aspect of Hofstra’s campus.

The Plant Department is led by Fred Soviero, the director of Grounds and the Hofstra Arboretum. He’s celebrating his 30 year anniversary of working at Hofstra this week, and he knows just as much about gardening as Mother Nature. After majoring in ornamental horticulture at Farmingdale State College, Soviero worked at Adelphi before finding his home with the Pride.

“I wanted to grow plants for a living, just a grow and sell them kind of thing. Then I got into maintenance like lawn cutting and pruning … then I came here,” Soviero said. “It put everything I was learning in school together in one package. This place is moving and changing all the time.”

To get an idea of just how many living things are on campus (that aren’t people or cats), Soviero says there are about 12,000 trees and around 35,000 shrubs and bulbs. In addition to caring for them all, the Plant Department also manages all 250 acres of Hofstra’s property and the shared territory along Hempstead…