Herman Melville, in his first novel “Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life”, wrote about the time when he was back in New York where he reminisced his days in the Marquesas Islands. In the account, he recalled vividly the images of the branches of three large breadfruit trees waving and swaying in the afternoon breeze, and especially the effects that such images can have on us. Melville noted therefore of how “...inanimate objects will twine themselves into our affections." I too have such fond recollections especially weekday mornings and Sunday afternoons which are the times that I would pensively recall the trees and plants around our house in Samoa. It’s amazing however that I seem to remember them now more in my recollections and reflections than at the time of actual residence.
It was also the hibiscus plant that I first learned the method of grafting with my Dad’s guidance and expertise. Again, we had red and white hibiscus plants in front of our house. One day my Dad called me over where he demonstrated grafting two hibiscus plants. He first cut off a branch from one plant, then he notched the bark and stem of the “host” plant, inserted the grafting branch and then used a string to tie and fasten both branch and the main/host plant. It didn’t make sense or mean much to me at the time until a new flower bloomed on the branch; one half was white, and the other half was red. Wow!
There’s a host of other memories and recollections of Samoa that the hibiscus plant and flowers induce in me. One of those is an old favorite Samoan song “Beautiful Red Hibiscus” - it’s a classic.