About Us

Founded in 2009, Adaptive Gardens offered therapeutic services to just over 50 students.  Today, Adaptive Gardens offers therapeutic horticulture services to over 150 individuals with disabilities & special needs and employs a number of students whom have participated in programming through Adaptive Gardens.  With the addition of Thornhill Farm crop & animal operations to programming curriculum, Adaptive Gardens looks forward to the opportunity to improving the lives of individuals with special needs even further.

Contact Us:

10882 Highway 17 North, McClellanville, SC 29412

P.O. Box 162, McClellanville, SC 29458



Our Team

Leslie Wade

Throughout high school Leslie volunteered at a therapeutic horse riding camp that her brother with Spina Bifida attended. Leslie then moved to Blacksburg and while obtaining a B.S. in Horticulture from Virginia Tech, Leslie volunteered for a program run by Catherine McGuinn, a certified horticulture therapist who laid the foundation for Adaptive Gardens of the Lowcountry.  The horticultural therapy program focused on an alternative school for boys teaching them how to build a greenhouse, propagate plants and how to use learned landscape skills in the community.  After graduating from Virginia Tech, Leslie moved to Wilmington, NC to work at the Pender Correctional Institution as a horticultural therapist.  As part of their rehabilitation, developmentally delayed inmates were offered a horticultural therapy day program which focused on cognitive, vocational and social skills.  Other than developing these skills,  the prison made sure the inmates ate the vegetables and fruits they grew in the program, ensuring more nutritious diets for the men.

Once her contract was complete at the prison, Leslie moved into the restaurant business to follow her interest in food.  Managing restaurants in Wrightsville Beach and Charleston for ten years, gave her an inside look at the food we feed our bodies, both as children and adults.  Through these years, Leslie continued to volunteer with organizations that focused on teaching children how to grow plants and eat well through the things we grow.

Adaptive Gardens of the Lowcountry lured her back into the horticultural therapy scene in 2009 and presented an exciting opportunity to educate children and adults in the field of horticulture.  Leslie is the Executive Director for Adaptive Gardens of the Lowcountry & Thornhill Farm.  Please, contact Leslie at  leslie@adaptivegardens.org for all questions or comments regarding programming, scheduling classes, CSA enrollment, farm inquiries or event and press inquiries.

Dennis Gilliyard

Adaptive Gardens welcomed Dennis as a Garden Associate in 2012.  Dennis graduated from Georgetown High School and participated in the therapeutic gardening program offered by Adaptive Gardens while he was in school.  Dennis is responsible for watering the raised beds and greenhouse plants, feeding and caring for the chickens, as well as, collecting their eggs & sweeping the activity center and porches.

VaDonte Williams

VaDonte began working with Adaptive Gardens as a Garden Associate in 2013.  VaDonte graduated from Lincoln High School and participated in the Adaptive Gardens’ programming while a student.  VaDonte is responsible for mowing, washing pots, harvesting, weeding, making Gardener’s Soap, running the farm store, and various other tasks on the farm.

Jon Darling

Jon joined our team on Thornhill Farm in the Spring of 2013.  As a former Army Ranger and Chef, Jon stepped right in and took over animal production.  Jon takes care of the pasture raised animals, aids in tractor work on the farm & distribution of vegetable and meat shares from the farm.

Thomas Beach

Thomas began working on Thornhill Farm in 2008.  He is a master of the tractor and irrigation systems on the farm and can do most anything else needed.  Having worked as a game warden for 20 years, Thomas is well versed in most anything happening on Thornhill Farm

Board of Directors
Current Members:
Maria Baldwin: Founder and Developing Farmer of Thornhill Farm (2008-2013)
Mary Beth Thornhill: Owner of Thornhill Farm, Founding Member
Sharon Knisley: Wando High School Exceptional Education Instructor, Founding Member
Teri Levin: President of Teri Levin and Associates, a Legal Nurse Consulting firm, Term Member since 2009
Harry Crissy: Clemson University Cooperative Extension, Economic and Community Development, LEED AP++, Term Member Since 2011

Previous Members:
Deborah Peel: Georgetown High School Special Education Instructor, Term Member 2010-2011
Bret Williams: Board of Directors and Investment Committee: Hospice of the Western Reserve, Board of Director and Finance Committee: Great Lakes Theater Festival, Chairman of the Board: YMCA of greater Cleveland, Board of Directors: Yale Alumni Association of Cleveland, Retired: Washington Group International, Term Member 2010
Catherine McGuinn: Horticulture Therapist, Founding Program Director 2009-2010

Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about or supporting the work of  Adaptive Gardens, please, contact us.

Mailing Address: Adaptive Gardens of the Lowcountry

P.O. Box 162

McClellanville, SC 29458

(843) 887-3194

E-mail: info@adaptivegardens.org

Please, visit us on the farm: 10882 Highway 17 North, McClellanville, SC 29458