pre cious adj. 1. of great price or value; costly 2. of great desirability; held in high esteem [precious rights] 3. beloved; dear 4. very fastidious, overrefined, or affected, as in behavior, language, etc. 5. very great [a precious liar]
–Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language
I’m afraid that unless I am talking about babies with fat cheeks and those arms with pale creases that make them look like dinner rolls, I am most likely to use the word precious in the fourth meaning listed above. I loathe preciousness with a fervor that makes me suspect it must be the chief fault in my own writing.
Be advised: this post has little if anything to do with gardening. I own less than half a dozen gardening books and only consult Garrett’s Texas Gardening the Natural Way in any event. Gardening books are not the problem.