Most days you'll find Jane Fishman working on her compost. She totes it in buckets in the back of a Taurus wagon from garden to garden, you see, she has three, in different parts of the city. It's that rich, crumbly moisture-conserving concoction that allows her to tend this lush garden in the actual "shade of a freeway" without any water source.
Yet it may be the free-fashioned art that catches your eye first. Found objects are repurposed and reimagined as garden decor. A tower of racially diverse dolls weathering into the same shade, a border of shovel heads and wine bottle edging amid a mashup of Mardi Gras beads; somehow it all works.
Late winter kale, broccoli and collards grow in island-shaped clumps around the industrial site turned Eden. Plum and loquat trees bear fruit with real wreckless abandon. Her latest fascination, fava beans are spotted here and there, at various stages of flowering, the quantity of black and white blooms promising a huge harvest.
A geurilla gardener before the term was even coined, she has lived and planted wherever her whims have taken her. Landing in Savannah, GA she worked as a reporter for years, one that knows "where the bones are". Now she justs wants to garden, although she still writes an engaging weekly column.
Her latest book, The Dirt on Jane, is more than mere gardening memoir, it's about aging, the fear of aging and forgiveness as she journeys between gardens, a late-in-life interlude at grad school and the nursing home attending to her mother's last years. Coming to terms with her mom in the years after coming out, she struggles with and strives to enjoy the often complicated mother-daughter dynamic.
Set in the south but universal in appeal, you can buy The Dirt on Jane by Jane Fishman from The Book Lady, 6 East Liberty in downtown Savannah or at www.lulu.com
For another great book recommendation from my travels in Savannah, check out the Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook on my Star Tribune community blog. A delicious read that just so happens to have a NE Minneapolis connection.