My interest in all plantings, including vegetables, became more 'imbedded and took root (really bad puns !!!), approximately 30 years ago when we moved into our current home. The yard was a blank slate, and I jumped in with both feet. My late Aunt Marie and father, had green thumbs and they were my inspiration for vegetable gardening. They would remove the small suckers from the tomato plants. Look at an eggplant or musk melon and plan meals around the garden. Vegetable scraps and coffee grounds were composted in the back of the yard. The 'old ways' are really not 'that old', and are tried and true methods of gardening and meal planning. My father always had an abundance of garden vegetables. He would carry a laundry basket around to the neighbors' homes leaving a few items at their doors. Very sweetly, these fond memories were eulogized at his funeral. Aunt Marie created a beautiful landscape at her Long Island home and would toss a variety of perennials in the back of my minivan 'see if these grow', she would say. The evening primrose she gave me long ago always looks stunning. The other flowers did not tolerate our winters 25 years ago, although, with climate change, it is possible I may have had better success.
A few years ago I planted a perennial garden next to my shed. An article in Garden Gate discussed and had beautiful pictures of (I am a sucker for pretty garden pictures) deer resistant perennials. I had been throwing old container soil in this area for years and had nice soil to use. I planted cordota, lugaria, nodding onions, bears britches, bee balm, astilbe, ginger and and transplanted other flowers into this garden. My husband created a rain barrel for me, and I have to say, with the dense plantings, this area is very easy to manage. I can not say that about a few of my other gardens. I am in agreement with Theresa, and now have slowed down on buying perennials because I need to be able to easily maintain the gardens I have. I jokingly tell my garden friends I need a 12 step program to slow down my 'addiction to flower /nursery sales'!!