Building a cactus garden

My husband and I would love to have a cactus garden. Are there cactuses that would survive in our Zone 5 garden in Fall River, NS?


?Sybil MacMillan, Fall River, NS


Native cactuses that should do just fine in your zone are the prickly pears (Opuntia spp.)?several are hardy to Zone 2. In addition to the (sometimes quite fearsome) spiky pads, they offer lovely flowers in shades of yellow, cream or pink in late spring or early summer. The fruits, called tunas, are edible, once you get past the spines. Try plains prickly pear (O. polyacantha); brittle prickly pear (O. fragilis), so called because its pads break off very easily; and eastern prickly pear (O. humifusa). All are extremely drought-tolerant and need gritty, humus-rich soil with excellent drainage in full sun. Gardens North offers a range of Opuntia pads by mail order for shipping in midsummer, or check out your local suppliers.
Good luck,

?Marjorie Harris, Editor at Large