With the exception of a xeriscape garden, flower and vegetable gardens need adequate water to not only produce their best, but to prevent wilting and withering altogether. In reading gardening forums and from personal experience, I've found that drip irrigation/watering is the preferred method for providing moisture to your garden.
Drip systems and soaker hoses allow water to be slowly provided to the plants and earth. This watering system allows the water to slowly soak into the ground, so no wasting of the precious liquid in puddles or run-off. A drip/soak system ensures that there is minimal evaporation of water, so more of it it available for your plants.
Another benefit of watering at the base of the plants is the avoidance of wetting plant leaves, so there's less danger for leaf disease.
Whether you're paying for city/county water or watering from a well, the drip/soak systems make the most efficient use of water resources.