Before Antonia Nichol’s mother passed away, the 69-year-old made sure to leave her family with a lasting memory.

As the Mirror reports, shortly before Nichol’s mother, Phedre, succumbed to her battle with cancer in 2013, she advised her husband, Nigel, of his responsibility to continue watering the plants in the bathroom of their home in South Africa where the couple ran a nursery school.

Nichol recalled that time as being very difficult on the family:

“My mum battled cancer for five years, but sadly passed away in November 2013. She was hospitalised for the last few weeks. It was very traumatic for all of us. I live here in London, so I was back and forth to South Africa a lot.”

Nichol told the Mirror her father was “overcome with grief” after his wife’s passing but meticulously cared for the plants as instructed.

It wasn’t until her father decided to move to a retirement home and take the plants with him that he and Nichol realized the loving prank that had been pulled. The plants were fake.

As Nichol told the Mirror:

“There was a purpose built container for real plants with a drain, but my mum must have replaced them with plastic ones.

None of us knew.”

Nichol shared the result of her mother’s “strict instructions” on Twitter, writing she could almost hear her mother’s laughter for having gotten the best of her husband and daughter:

Without knowing it, Nigel had been dutifully tending to plastic plants for years.

Nichols told the Mirror it was just like her mother to take advantage of the opportunity to have fun with her husband:

“It was hilarious.

They were always jokers. Once, my daughter sent them a picture she had drawn of ‘naughty Grandad’ jumping on the bed and granny being shocked.”

She added: “They recreated the picture and sent it back to her.”

Nichol said both she and her father were overwhelmed by the positive response to her family’s story:

“It brought a tear to my dad’s eye to see how happy it has made so many people and that’s been so brilliant.”

Then she said: “Remembering my mum in such a positive way like this means a lot to us.”

Nichol wrote on her Twitter her father had always wondered about the water on the floor after watering the plants. She suspected he just thought the toilet had a leak.

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