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A look behind the walls of a Ghanian garden

A Bermudian living abroad has brought together all the tropical splendour of gardens in Ghana in a new coffee table book.

The book is called A Look Behind the Walls and is currently available for order. It is co-written by Bermudian Karen Hendrickson and Ghanaian Arafua Apaloo-Aning.

Ms Hendrickson moved to Ghana a few years ago with her husband. They were looking to experience life on the African continent.

“We looked around for a nice place where we could go and live and start a new adventure,” said Ms Hendrickson. “I found Ghana to be very much like the West Indies in the Caribbean except it is much larger. The weather is always warm and the people are friendly. It is a very large, green country.”

She is now head of operations for the largest private health insurance company in Ghana. She gardens to relax.

“I get into my garden every chance I get,” she said. “The climate is lovely. We are in a tropical zone with lots of sunshine, sometimes too much. Then when it rains you get that good soaking rain that soaks right down to the deepest level of the ground. Anything can grow in Ghana that can take partial or full sun.”

She has 500 different orchids and some huge palm trees in her garden. Her most unusual orchid is from a species called Grammatophyllum, the largest orchid in the world.

“The sucker would not flower,” she said. “People told me to have patience. I saw people with smaller orchids of same genre that had flowers. Then last October I came to Bermuda for two weeks. When I came back there were four huge spikes more than five feet long of this incredible flower. That made me realise that they have minds of their own.”

She said most people in Ghana have a garden but they also have high walls around their properties so outsiders can not see their work. That is one reason Ms Hendrickson decided to put together a book.

“When people see my book, they will see things they haven't even seen before,” she said. “We didn't put scientific names of plants in the book. It wasn't that type of book. We wanted to show the diversity of gardens and we wanted to show the kaleidoscope of plants that exist.”

Ms Hendrickson said if you want to know what the plant is look it up on Google.

Since she has been in Ghana she has been involved with various charities including The Children's Heart Foundation which raises money for children in Ghana with congenital heart disease. Last year they raised $200,000 and paid for 15 heart surgeries. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to this charity.

“It is a labour of love,” Ms Hendrickson said.

To order the book contact Ms Hendrickson at kashtokash33@yahoo.com.

Karen Hendrickson and co author Arafua Apaloo-Aning.

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Published October 24, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 23, 2013 at 7:10 pm)

A look behind the walls of a Ghanian garden

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