With steady rainfall overhead and puddles at their feet, Leah and Bernard Hunt smiled as they took Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead and this correspondent for a tour of their Tinonee business Parkland Nursery.
The Hunts have seen firsthand the brutal impacts of Mother Nature in the last year. If drought wasn't enough to disrupt production, a devastating bushfire in November 2019 destroyed infrastructure and some plants.
That would be enough to force some to shut up shop but they persevered and more than six months on are well and truly on the road to recovery.
To get them back on their feet, the Hunts purchased a new potting machine with a $75,000 State government grant.
Mr Hunt said the installation of the machine "was the turning point".
"We still have a lot to outlay but that gives you the starting block to go," Mr Hunt said.
"It's amazing having the backing of the State and federal representatives.
"They've been ringing up and backing us right through saying 'you've got to keep going'.
"It was a springboard to go 'okay they're backing us so we're going'."
Mrs Hunt said the grant ensured they could stay in business.
"When we were looking at it, we thought do we take out loans to replace the machinery. At our age we thought we wouldn't do it," Mrs Hunt said.
"With that grant, it was enough to say yes we can still do this."
Mr Bromhead was thrilled to help arrange the grant despite some initial issues.
"Parkland Nursery wasn't entitled to it initially, some people said nurseries aren't primary producers but we were able to convince them they are," Mr Bromhead explained.
"It means 10 full time jobs, they're able to stay open, compete with other nurseries and provide fantastic products.
"I take my hat off to these guys, the nursery was devastated by bushfires, they lost their stock sheds and machinery, but through that grant they've been able to keep going."
About 20,000 pot plants are currently produced weekly through the machine.
"Production had been stopped for months because of the drought," Mr Hunt added.
"We were limping along for a year before the fire."
The bushfire tore through the nursery on November 9.
"We were smashed, all our infrastructure was burnt out but we only lost about 30 per cent of our plants," Mr Hunt said.
"We lost most of our machinery except for three machines and a sun sail.
"We just had to start again."
The business managed to stay afloat and kept the team together by selling the unaffected stock.
Fighting their way through drought, the Hunts thought they were prepared for any fire threat.
"We were in the midst of one of the worst droughts we've ever had," Mrs Hunt said.
"There was no water in the dam and we had to close down some areas (of the nursery) because there was no water.
"We knew it was going to be a really severe fire season, you could see there was so much fuel around and so dry with a lack of water.
"We did a lot of work to get the property up to what we thought was fire proof but no it wasn't."
With decent rainfall this year, the dam is back to capacity.
Leah and Bernard have grown the nursery for more than 25 years. What started as a small business that serviced the Manning became a statewide supplier for Bunnings Warehouse.
"It's getting cold now but we had a month and a half of warm weather so we've been punching it out (production)," Mr Hunt said.
"We just keep going forward, it's bigger and better and just wonderful now."