Past and Present…
At a young age Phillip Mott was introduced to gathering native Michigan Winterberry (ilex verticillata) in the wild with his father who was a wholesale florist in Glenwood, Michigan. His grandfather also earned a living from the wild holly for over 30 years in the early 1900’s. During his life Phil owned several businesses including service stations before he turned to the cultivation of Michigan Winterberry as a passion and hobby.
In the early 70’s Phil acquired 40 acres of marshland near Vicksburg, Michigan. He obtained a license to grow, cut and market the winterberry. Phil pulled out over 3,000 tree stumps, ran drainage ditches and planted over 37,000 bushes on 30 acres.
Phil reached out to Michigan State University and gained help and knowledge about growing the Winterberry from an extension landscape specialist. He was the only one to commercially grow cultivated winterberry for the decorative branch in the state of Michigan at the time.
Throughout the years Phil and his wife Mardee acquired many more acres of property around their farm. In the 1980’s they decided to expand their business and started planting fields of evergreen seedlings. A wide variety of evergreens are available to wholesale landscapers and retail customers. Retail sales include both balled and bagged to be planted by the customer or a planting service is available.
Through the years what began as a passion and hobby evolved into the business it is today. Mott Farms is now growing the cultivated Michigan Winterberry on over 90 acres. Harvesting begins in early October and continues through Thanksgiving.
As knowledgeable growers since the early 70’s, today’s sales reach around the country and into Canada.
As growers, Mott Farms strictly sells cut decorative branches to wholesale florists. In turn, they sell to retail florists and landscapers who incorporate the beautiful winterberry into holiday wreaths, arrangements and cityscapes.