New dahlia named after local dahlia grower Martin Král

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Shoreline resident Martin Král, left, holds the dahlia named for him, while grower Peter Haslhofer prepares to baptize it with wine.

By Martin Král

Although I have been growing dahlias for 50 years, I never got into exhibiting them, preferring instead to photograph and research dahlia cultivation and history. All that was instrumental in my quest to write and document this, mostly as contributor to Dahlias of Today, the annual of the local Puget Sound Dahlia Assn. That's not the way to become famous in dahlia shows, I learned.

However, I also knew other growers abroad, specifically in my home country of Austria. The most prominent among them, Peter Haslhofer, lives in the Salzkammergut at the foot of the Alps. 

I got to know him through another friend back in 2008. We have corresponded and visited Peter several times, and I was very impressed with his thorough knowledge and energy in behalf of dahlias. He is singularly responsible for introducing more than 200 new varieties!

When we made a home visit in 2019, we also stopped by his production farm to see new varieties. After that, we met Peter at his garden plot next to the cemetery in Windischgarsten. 

In Austria it is a requirement at most cemeteries that the gravesites be well-maintained and regularly supplied with floral displays, hence his lot providently next to the cemetery entrance. 

So I was quite surprised when he pointed out this new dahlia introduction to us and proceeded to give me the honor of 'baptizing' that lovely bloom in my name. 

Since importing such plant material to this country has a number of sanitary restrictions, I had to wait until this spring for a package of tubers to be forwarded to me. Maybe the variety will make a successful show dahlia, but it's already a hit in my garden right now.


Judy Broom September 17, 2021 at 2:02 PM  

Congrats Martin! (You are too modest.)

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