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McMinnville rose breeder knighted by Portland Rose Festival queen
By Yvette Saarinen
Internationally noted McMinnville rose breeder Ping Lim has won many awards for his work. Three of his roses have received the prestigious All-American Rose designation.
But he said his latest award, being knighted by the Portland Rose Festival queen at the request of the Royal Rosarians, filled his life with a profound mixture of pride and joy.
The Royal Rosarians have had a Portland presence since 1912. They are the official greeters and ambassadors of good will for the city.
In the Portland Rose Garden earlier this month, hundreds of guests and visiting dignitaries from around the globe gathered for a solemn ceremony. Following a drum salute, Queen Marshawna Williams of Cleveland High School tapped his shoulders with her scepter and dubbed him Sir Knight Ping Lim.
He was recognized for his contributions to the world of roses, most notably the Love and Peace rose which won first place in Portland’s show last year. The Love and Peace, a hybrid tea rose, has won five awards for Ping, including a gold medal in Northern Ireland’s show in 2004.
Love and Peace grows to around 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Its blossoms are golden yellow edged with pink, have 40 petals, and a fruity scent.
He won two other awards in Portland competition last year and his honors are displayed in the information kiosk in the Rose Garden.
This year he won the award for Best Shrub Rose with his Yellow Brick Road, which is a very bushy plant that grows to be 3 feet wide and 3 feet tall. It has dark, glossy green foliage, blossoms with 35 petals that span 3 1/2 inches, and a lovely fragrance.
Ping immigrated to the United States from Laos, a country known for its tropical flowers. He said he was thunderstruck when he first saw roses among tropical plants and he knew roses would become a priority in his life.
He was hired by Bailey Nurseries to build up its rose program in 1992 and began working in the division near Yamhill. He and his wife, Jane, and their two daughters, Jana and Maya, moved to McMinnville that year.
Jana just graduated from the University of California at Berkley in molecular biology and Maya is a first-year student at the University of Chicago majoring in English. Lim said the help and support from his whole family enabled him to pursue his career in rose growing and breeding.
Bailey Nurseries, he said, helped him build up his career and produced lasting friendships. However, he was a casualty of the company’s downsizing due to the sour economy.
He decided to launch his own business, Roses by Ping. He works with a McMinnville grower, Oregon Pride, in McMinnville, and continues to focus on producing beautiful, disease-resistant, easy care, fragrant roses.
He also sells cut flowers through a partnership with a Portland warehouse, along with bare root stock. He also does consulting work, has speaking engagements and writes a column for the Portland China Times.
Research to bring a rose to production status takes five years, but Lim thinks its worth every minute. When he’s working with roses, he said, he is stress free and feels like he’s on vacation. “I’m really lucky,” he said.
“I hope to create something really beautiful for Oregon and the world,” he said.
More about Lim and his roses can be found on the website at www.rosesbyping.com
Roses by Ping ~ 林彬 玫瑰 :