Record temperatures are threatening to destroy the horticulture exhibition at Maitland Show.
The intense heatwave in recent weeks has scorched most of the prospective entries. Rose buds have been left burnt, flowers have been baked and vegetables grown for the produce display are blistered and suffering from heat stroke.
A crop of dahlias were shaping up to be a winning entry, but the heat has destroyed the delicate flowers.
Horticulture director Adele Cockburn expected flowers would be a rare sight at the event and she was worried nobody would be able to enter.
“It’s quite disappointing that this dreadful weather is affecting us,” she said.
“Buds have been scorched before they’ve even opened.
“Any produce that comes in will be likely scorched on the top, and that’s not something that should be shown.
“The judges are going to have to be lenient because it’s the best we can do right now.”
Gardening enthusiast Val Robinson, who has created an oasis around her Largs home over the past 50 years, has been following a strict misting schedule.
She has been determined to see them through the heat and continue her long history with the show.
Mrs Robinson goes outside every couple of hours on hot days to hydrate thousands of plants – even if the temperature is above 40 degrees.
“They’re like my children,” she said.
“That’s what you have to do if you want to keep them alive, it doesn’t bother me.”
Mrs Robinson adores ferns, which need constant care through hot days. She has managed to save some of them, but others have found the heat too much.
“You’ve got to be careful with them, their leaves are so delicate and they burn so easily,” she said.
Her daughter Elysee is also an avid gardener and has been working hard to keep her entries looking good.
She has been entering the show in recent years and said most entrants couldn’t confirm what they would enter until they assessed it the day before the show.
The Robinsons have urged gardeners to show their support for the show and enter a plant, or a few.
“Why not do it and keep the tradition alive,” Mrs Robinson said.
Maitland and Dungog shows are the only agricultural shows nearby where garden lovers can enter their plants.
There are several plant categories to enter at Maitland show including cut flowers, floral art and pot plants, and a children’s section with a range of categories that often don’t attract any entries.
Entries close on Thursday, February 16.
For more details phone Adele on 4932 8007.