Many desert plants survive as seeds and wait patiently for rain. When it rains they germinate and overnight the barren earth is turned into a carpet of flowers. Some seeds can wait for years for the right conditions. In 1940 the London Fire Brigade used a lot of water to put out a fire which broke out in the Natural History Museum. A few weeks later some of the seeds preserved in the museum for over 150 years germinated! In 1951 two 1000-year-old lotus seeds found in China and sent to Washington began to show signs of germination. They were put into the ground and they began to grow. One year later both plants had put out large and beautiful pink lotus flowers!