Thank you for visiting my webpage! My hobby and passion over the past 30 plus years is studying and testing cold hardy cactus, succulents, and drought hardy perennials for use in the arid regions of the Intermountain West. Initially, my motivation was prompted by the lack of availability and knowledge of these kinds of plants at the local nurseries when attempting to convert my grass covered, water gobbling, landscape into a water wise xeric garden. It's truly amazing the diversity of plant life that has adapted to hot,cold, arid conditions to which are almost unheard of in the public realm outside of the traditional boundries of the Desert Southwest. It is my goal to help educate the public at large the true potential and real beauty of cold desert xeric landscaping as well as make available those plants through garden cultivated seedlings, cuttings or seeds which I've tested and succeeded with over the years. Much of this is still a work in progress and I wish to thank everyone for their support and incredibly positive feedback.
My private nursery is an on-line business only, so in person visits are by appointment only. Call, text, or email me ( best ) to schedule your appointment in advance.
Thanks again for visiting!
Geoscape Desert Nursery
Cold hardy cactus, succulents, and perennials for the rock gardening enthusiast.
1962 North Sparkling Place
Meridian, Idaho 83646
( 208 ) - 884-1251 ( voice mail )
Home Page last updated 4/23
- Now shipping!
- New seed buying options now on cactus & succulent pages.
- Flickr photo gallery link to the latest uploaded garden & habitat photo's here.
- If your interested in pre-ordering, to be shipped later, please contact via email and I can reserve those plants for you.
- For large orders, also contact me via email ahead to confirm availability. I offer a 5% discount on orders over $200 and a 10% discount on orders of $500 or more.
Cactus as survival food
With all the recent attention on the corona virus and subsequent restrictions and closures, many are taking a more serious look at growing more of their own food in case of local food shortages. During WW2, "Victory Gardens" were encouraged by
governments to supplement their own rations and contribute to local canneries for the war effort to combat food shortages.
Cactus plants have long been used as a food source in Latin America for centuries and offer many health benefits with high vitamin and mineral content in both the stems and fruit. Here are a few examples
from YouTube of people preparing the pads of Opuntia (Nopales) and harvesting fruits:
Shown in Fig. 1 & 2 are examples of cactus fruits I've harvested from my garden plants. In the upper left of Figure 1 are examples of hedgehog cactus
( Echinocereus sp. ) fruit which vary in size from marble to nearly golf ball sized. Most are mildly strawberry flavored and mature in mid summer and are ready to harvest when the spines readily fall away. The fruit at the far right is an example of the fruits before harvest. The spines usually brush off readily when ripe or removed with tweezers.
On the lower right of Figure 1 are examples of barrel cactus ( Escobaria sp. ) fruits. They are naturally spineless and can be readily eaten. They ripen in late summer to early fall and vary in size from marble down to thin, skinny chili pepper looking fruits. Most have a mild kiwi fruit or green apple like flavor. For more information click on the "Cactus 2" tab ( see top of page ) for my current listing of cold hardy Echinocereus & Escobaria edible fruit bearing plants.
Figure 2 displays various prickly pear fruits I've harvested from my garden plants. Though size and color vary, most have a mild beet or even citrus like flavor. Flavor can also change from year to year depending on weather conditions for that season.
Spine removal is relatively easy either with the burn off method with flame or with water spray, followed by a light rub off with paper towel. A good sized plant ( 4 or more feet across ) can easily fill a 5 gallon sized bucket. Fruits can be eaten fresh, juiced, frozen, or dried and powdered for longer term storage.
Figure 3 Opuntia woodsii "Wildfire" is an excellent example of a cold hardy species with edible fruit bearing capability. For more information click on the "Cactus" tab for a current list of available fruit bearing species of prickly pears.
Cactus require little maintenance and virtually no watering to maintain a good healthy plant for any dry, full to part shade area of your yard. Soil should be amended with plenty of sand and crushed rock to supplement good drainage. For more information click on the "Cultivation" tab for detailed instructions or upper right column of this page for local customers.
Cheers and happy gardening to all!
Figure 1. Echinocereus fruits ( upper left ) and Escobaria ( lower right )
Figure 3. Opuntia woodsii "Wildfire" loaded with fruits in late summer.
For local customers:
- Curbside pick up available.
- Submit your order request via email ( at email@example.com ) and I'll send you a PayPal email invoice once I can confirm availability of requested plants. You'll save between 5-30% without the shipping depending on the size of the plants.
- Recommended local soil mix is 5 parts cinder fines,1 part riverbed sand & 1 part volcanic ash for open desert plants. For desert riparian plants use 3 parts cinder fines,1 part riverbed sand, & 1 part garden compost mix.
Boise area -
International Stone, 2755 E State St., Eagle, ID, 208-994-4095, Bulk & bag options available. Product name(s): 1 inch minus cinder or lava fines. Natural Sand, Mortars Sand.
Cloverdale Nursery, 2528 N Cloverdale Rd., Boise
ID, 208-375-5262, Bulk load only. Product name(s): 1 inch minus cinder or lava fines ( red/black or mixed color ).