It was only as I was damping down one of the greenhouses
that I noticed the flowers.
For most of the year, my lithops sit in their pots like well behaved little pebble plants or living stones (their other names).
But in autumn, having spent several months doing very little, their time in the limelight has arrived.
The flowers are exquisite
and each one lasts a few days.
Lithops need very little care:
I start watering when the new leaves appear through the old shriveled pair in spring; carry on once or twice a week till autumn and then stop completely over winter. They need a sharp-draining compost mix and a hot, sunny windowsill or greenhouse.
Just don’t forget about their brief moment of glory (as I almost did).
It is quite worth the wait.
A few months ago I was visiting a well known Swedish furniture store and spotted a sickly Ficus with half a dozen leaves and a dejected air. It was reduced by about twenty quid to a fiver. “Bargain,” I thought and whisked it away home.
We nurtured it back to health. It grew more leaves and started to look really quite chipper. But there is a problem. A problem that we noticed immediately we got it home. It’s a little rude. Actually, it’s quite a lot rude.
Maybe that’s why it was languishing in the shop. No one quite knew what to do with it.
It does get a laugh when we have people round (my teenage niece collapses in a heap of giggles whenever she sees it and has to be escorted from the room). Or a sharp intake of breath, a pursing of lips and a change of subject.