Ruth Mott Foundation

Celebrating Applewood Estate’s 100th Anniversary in Flint

 FLINT, Michigan – Deb Elliott deftly maneuvered the eight-seat golf cart to a standstill next to the colorful garden bed, one of dozens of highlights on her guided tour.

 “Aha!” she exclaimed with satisfaction. “The daylilies are open!”

 There are 36 varieties of daylilies in addition to the hundreds of other flora in the artfully tended gardens of Applewood Estate, the historic Flint family home and former gentleman’s farm of the late automotive pioneer Charles Stewart Mott, a founding partner of General Motors. Elliott’s joy and passion for Applewood are on full display as she leads a grounds tour that includes a mind-spinning array of plants that can only be described as a horticulturist’s dream.

 As Applewood celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2016, visitors have more access to the historic estate than ever before. After Mott passed away in 1973, his wife, Ruth Mott, pledged to open it up to the public as a community resource and in honor of her husband’s contributions to Flint and the automotive industry.

 The grounds were since opened to the public on occasion, but this year – in celebration of the centennial – Applewood has expanded its open hours from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday until Oct. 30. The house at Applewood has also been opened for public tours for the first time this year, and new exhibits displaying the rich history of the Mott family have been added throughout the estate. Admission and activities at Applewood are free, although online reservations for the house tours are strongly recommended.

 One-hour garden tours, which Elliott often leads, are offered without reservations at 1 p.m. each open day. Larger group tours can also be made by reservation.

 A horticulturist by education, Elliott began her career at Applewood in 1979 as an intern and was fortunate to work for Ruth Mott for 20 years before Ruth Mott passed away in 1999. The estate was then transferred to her philanthropic legacy, the Ruth Mott Foundation, where Elliott now works as the director of estate operations.

 The garden tour includes the historic apple orchard, for which the estate is named, the bee hives, gatehouse, barn, chicken coop, rose garden, demonstration garden, perennial garden, friendly frog and much more. Along the way, Elliott shares the kind of fascinating behind-the-scenes anecdotes that can only come from someone who loves what she does.

 “To be able to share Applewood’s beauty and story with visitors is a wonderful way to honor Mrs. Mott’s wishes for the estate,” said Elliott. “I am so fortunate and proud to be part of the journey. Applewood is more than a job – it’s a calling.”

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