Ok, I have to say it, I like flower gardening better than vegetable gardening. There, I know that is not the popular thing to say this year, but it's the truth. I completely agree that homegrown produce is better for you and the environment, and I love the taste of fresh fruit and vegetables. It's not even that I don't like vegetable gardening, but when you only have a growing season that's sometimes shorter than summer break, it can get old fast. Even with season extenders, it just does not seem to get warm enough at my house to produce good quality veggies. That, and the fact that I have no full sun in my yard makes it hard to get beans, cucumbers, peppers, and squash to want to do much. Sure, I have plenty of tomatoes on my plants, all still green of course, but I have to keep them warm by using hoops and plastic. And lettuce and other greens grow very nicely here, but if your family only likes romaine, bibb and worst of all, iceberg, what is the point of growing all the other great kinds. You know, the ones with flavor? I love to watch the plants grow from seed, and I really like to eat the peas from the vine, but I still love my perennials, groundcovers, native grasses and herbs more.
My perennial flower gardens are pretty most of the time, don't need much maintenance since I garden organically, and provide food, shelter, and beauty for all things in nature, including me. I choose perennials that like to grow in my conditions, don't need much in the way of water, and don't take over other plants.
Groundcovers are used as mulch. I have no automatic irrigation, but use recycled soaker hoses to water the bases of the plants. By only watering the plants when necessary, and not spraying water around, the weeds don't sprout. I hardly ever weed. No one believes that, but it's true anyway. If I do see a weed, I pluck it when it is little, but never spray. The snakes in the yard help get rid of the voles, grasshoppers, and other "bad" bugs, and the bat that hangs above the front door every night gets rid of the mosquitoes.
So next year, when everyone is still extolling the wonders of vegetable gardening, I will happily watch my flowers, grasses, herbs, and groundcovers grow. And then patiently wait for my vegetable gardens to produce more than they did this year.