Horticulture section of the 2018 Maitland Show could be disappointing

With unrelenting heat basking down on Maitland, and very little rain in sight, it’s a hard task to keep plants alive – especially if you can’t afford the water bill.

Horticulture chief steward Adele Cockburn said she won’t know exactly what will be on display until the morning of February 16 when the entries arrive, but at this stage it is not looking good.

“It’s so dry and the sun is burning everything, the pumpkins have been burnt, but you never know at the last minute what will come in,” she said. 

“The cut flowers will depend on what happens in the next few weeks, the pot plants are usually protected so they may be okay.

“A lot of people have given up because of the cost of the water.”

Mrs Cockburn’s prized begonia, which has a long history of winning the championship ribbon at the show , was scorched in the heat earlier this month. 

“It had been my sister’s and she had entered it year after year and she had won many champions at the show with it, so that was very sad to see.The leaves that got burnt were the proper show size. It’s going to recover but it’s not going to be a show plant this year I’m afraid,” she said. 

“If the heat has done that with a begonia in a fern house you can imagine what it has done with other things.”

Mrs Cockburn hopes the primary and infants school section will attract more than one entry this year.

“We had six classes for that group and we only had one entry, it was very disappointing because a lot of the country shows have a lot of entries … When I judged in Dungog eight years ago there were 23 entries in one class because the school teachers got involved and made it a project in the class,” she said.