by Linda Fortner

I t had been a cold Fall, and Winter was not far behind. I was finding myself out in the greenhouse more and more preparing my orchids for the short days to come. It felt like spring rather than winter and the orchids were blooming profusely --that is all except my little Cattleya named Alba Betts.

Little Alba was brought to me last Christmas by a frail old lady. She told me she could not take care of her baby any longer. With tears in her eyes she handed me this poor, sorry looking little orchid. She told me it was once a big beautiful plant with beautiful large white blooms. You would never know it by looking at it now. What a site this little orchid was, no roots, no leaves and definitely no blooms. Anyone else would have thrown it in the nearest trash can but I took little Alba in my arms and told the lady I would take care of her baby.

I took Alba to the greenhouse, repotted her in a new pot, placed her in a warm shady place, and said a small prayer.

Alba just sat there through the Winter and into Spring and Summer not doing much of anything. At least it hadn't died! Many times I was tempted to throw her on to the compost pile but each time I remembered the frail old lady and my promise. At last, in the late Summer, I noticed she was actually producing new growth. I couldn't believe it. After all these months she was trying to grow. Then, in October, I noticed a flower sheath was forming. Could it be that the little Alba Betts was not only going to live but was going to bloom too?

Fall again; the cold dark months slipped by, and Christmas was now just around the corner. All I wanted in my heart was to have little Alba grow and bloom. I watched her every day and saw the miracle that was taking place in front of my eyes. Her flower sheath swelled with the new life within. My goodness, was my prayer, said so long ago, going to be answered? Is Alba going to bloom?

On Christmas day I ran to the greenhouse and the moment I opened the door I knew something had happened to Alba. The fragrance that filled the air was heavenly! I hurried over to where Alba sat and what a site I saw, not one or even two, but three of the most beautiful blooms I had ever seen had sprung from her sheath! Immediately the little old lady popped into my mind, and I had to call her and tell her about Alba Betts. She was so happy when I called and said to me, "This is a Christmas Miracle."

Remember this story when you feel like giving up on anything. Many things are like little Alba Betts, the more love and caring you give, the more you will receive in return.
Merry Christmas to all of you from Linda's Orchid Page

C. Alba Betts White

Copyright © Linda Fortner 1996 all rights reserved.

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