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Paeonia Lim

Lim Sun-young says her favorite flower is the paeonia. The fragrance and grandness of the flower deeply attracted her at first sight, in a paeonia garden in her native South Korea. As an ornamental plant, the paeonia also has medicinal properties in its root and seeds.

"Paeonia is not only pretty but also healing," observes Lim. "My teacher hoped me to become a beautiful paeonia, affecting and benefiting more and more people in society." So her teacher determined to give her the English name of Paeonia Lim. And she used the same name for her Guangzhou floral shop, which opened on Christmas Eve of 2011.

Paeonia Lim Flori is in the lobby of the R & F Center, which is located in the hub of bustling Zhujiang New Town. Zhujiang New Town, the central business district of Guangzhou, has attracted many five-star hotels such as The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Hyatt and Four Seasons, as well as a considerable number of international enterprises and consulates. The shop's colorful commodities lure office people and nearby hotel guests as major customers. Every morning, busy people rush into the office building bearing Starbucks coffees and breakfast. When they pass by the colorful garden, the scent of the flowers slows them down.

From the escalator to the second floor, one can catch a bird's eye view of the fl oral shop, half of which is a refrigerated glass enclosure and the other half a display and working area. Walk into the shop, and one will fi nd orchid arrangements displayed on a shelf and freshly cut roses in vases. Shop girls are busy changing water in the vases and cutting stems. The shop also sells "Topiay" – bear-shaped or rabbit-shaped pieces of wet soil planted with greens upon them. "It can make the indoor space more moist and is good for girls' skin in the office," explains Lim.

Artwork designed by Paeonia

The nearby Vlife Restaurant, owned by a friend of Lim, shows off her plants in a small corner of the eatery. The green plants, seen through a large window next to the restaurant's entrance, lure the random eater to walk in for a look and take a seat. "Both the guests from the restaurant and from the fl oral shop favor the natural life," says Lim. "That is the reason why I want to have such a spacious area for appreciating my flower works, making people feel life without the commercial sense by the freshness of flowers."

Florists have a natural affinity for nature and aestheticism. The South Korean florist is skillful in the practice of sketching, water color and sculpture. She studied art for approximately four years before entering a university.

"The oriental floral styles of Korea, Japan and China are elegant and precise, emphasizing minimalism and lines, while the western styles emphasize richness in shape and color," explains Lim. "Different cultures favor different colors. The white and light colors of flowers are usually found in South Korea, even for weddings. When the Chinese celebrate banquets, red and champagne colors are dominant. European guests opt for magnificent colors, and the Dutch definitely appreciate the color of orange."

Bouquet designed by Paeonia

Her time in Korea was the period when she launched her endeavor in floral design. Paeonia began to attend competitions, hold exhibitions and join a bridal team. A job for a hotel brought her to China as a florist, and soon after she decided to start a business in Guangzhou in 2011. Learning on her own from the internet, Paeonia quickly became acquainted with the Mandarin language, enabling her to communicate with customers and teach classes for Chinese students.

In addition to operating the floral shop in Guangzhou, she holds one-to-one and one-tomany classes that span various avenues of her art – foundations, commerce, professional florist and specializing in wedding floral art. When she introduces floral design styles and the names of flowers, she appears to have no any obstacle in communicating her knowledge of flowers.

Her seemingly vivid and vibrant job can not hide an undercurrent of exhaustion. She has closed her shop in Seoul and spends most of the year in Guangzhou. "I am only active in the region of Zhujiang New Town," Lim reports. "Having lived in Guangzhou over two and a half years, I often go to the Fangcun Flower Market rather than the other places because I am so busy."

(By Jessie Huang)

Editor:Lynus Tan
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