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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
The Leaf Word
by Debbie Teashon
As a garden scribbler, I try hard to keep my words fresh and sometimes playful. However, how many ways can you write leaf, or foliage, or frond, before you have typed them a hundred million times? My copy editor loves to remind me about word monotony, so I find myself dog paddling around the leaf ones a lot. For this reason, when a new word for foliage landed in my e-mail inbox, I pounced on it!
There it was, the Word of the Day in my subject line—frondescence! I read it and looked at its meaning: "leafage; foliage, or, the process or period of putting forth leaves, as a tree, plant, or the like." How did I not know this one? I felt a hot flash coming on. It wasn’t. I was giddy with excitement. This was not a word you loath to use, like terms that make you look like you are trying too hard to sound scholarly, and makes the reader yawn with boredom.
I said the word aloud a few times—fron-DES-huns, fron-DES-huns, frondescence. I loved how it sounded—fresh, green, and alive! I tried it out in a few sentences; soon it crept into a few of my articles and plant descriptions. The last time I used it was as a metaphor. Now I am steeped in frondescence!