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Growing an apple tree from a pip

My own Johnny Appleseed experience

Don’t expect shop-quality apples if you try this and you’ll need a lot of patience!

However, neither of those things were in my mind as a kid, when I planted a pip from the Cox’s Orange Pippin I was eating into a small pot of soil in the back yard (the concrete Tyneside type, not the USA kind).

My first real foray into what now would be called children’s gardening or container gardening, the pip did germinate.

I looked after it, potting it on into bigger and bigger pots until it ended up in a sawn-off catering vegetable oil container (I’ll recycle anything).

There it stayed until I bought this house, which I moved into in March 1988.

As it was still in a reasonably small tub, the tree came too and it was planted in the garden.

More than 30 years later, it’s still here and flowers most years, giving me a decent crop of Cox-like apples (not identical to the parent, though).

It’s riddled with cankers and woolly aphid but I don’t have the heart to chop it down – we’ve travelled too far together.

Besides, it’s now home to a lovely Claire Austin climbing rose from David Austin Roses which covers up the worst bits!

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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