CHS Staff

Executive Director: Kyle Barnette

Kyle Headshot 2Kyle was appointed Executive Director of the Charleston Horticultural Society in April 2012. A graduate of the University of Mississippi, Kyle has had a long career in the non-profit arts, including working as the Charleston Ballet Theatre’s  Administrative and Marketing Director. In 2010, he was honored as one of the Charleston Regional Business Journal’s prestigious “40 Under 40” Lowcountry business leaders for his contributions to the arts as well as local business. He has demonstrated expertise in marketing, social media and special-events planning, working with Patrick Properties and the King Street Marketing Group, among others. Kyle is active and prominent force in the Charleston arts community as well collaborating as an actor, director and producer with several local theatres including Footlight Players, What If? Productions and Charleston Stage. He has worked as well as a tour manager, operations manager and artistic director for several professional companies across the country.

Under Kyle’s leadership as Executive Director, Charleston Horticultural Society has experienced growing success in a newly revitalized and relocated Plantasia, extensive increase in educational workshop programming throughout the entire year and the addition of new fundraising events including the annual CHS Oyster Roast and complete restructuring of the annual Holiday Greens Sale while also attracting national horticulture talent for special events and lectures including James Farmer, Vince Dooley and Karl Gercens. New vital partnerships under his leadership vary from both local, including the 2016 Horticulture Symposium w/ Magnolia Plantation and Gardens  and Charleston Tea Plantation, to nationally with the addition of the annual Open Days Behind the Garden Gate Tour with Spoleto USA and The Garden Conservancy. He is also responsible for the overall re-branding of the non-profit organization’s image from social media and web programming to design and public relations.

Programs Director: Debbie Davis

Debbie Headshot 2015The daughter of a gardener, and granddaughter of Carolina farmers, Debbie Davis is a natural fit at the Charleston Horticultural Society. A Charlestonian for some 35 years, Debbie has been lending a helping hand since she began volunteering for Plantasia eight years ago. An art major in college, and a sculptor and ceramicist, Debbie taught art for several years — and also worked as a banker while raising her daughter, Jennifer. Her work and life experiences have made her an indispensable addition to CHS, now that she has joined the staff. Hardworking, creative, and ever cheerful, she combines a flair for organization with her love of education and the arts. Those who have been working with her know that she has a way with people as well.

Debbie oversees the organization of such CHS events as our annual Gardens for Gardeners Tour, Behind the Garden Gate Open Days and was key in the reinvention of our annual Plantasia green market fundraising event.

Office Manager: Emily Topham
Emily is excited to join the CHS Hort after taking a break from the working world to raise her three young children.   Previously she worked as a research associate for a real estate consulting firm and has taken on many volunteer opportunities while home with her children.  Emily enjoys gardening on her half acre property on James Island and is particularly interested in growing citrus and other edible plants for her family to enjoy! 

Accounting: Karen Rowe
Karen Is excited to be a member of the team at Charleston Horticultural Society.  Karen has a BS In Accounting from the University of South Carolina and 25 years of work experience in financial management across a variety of Industries, especially the nonprofit world.   She most recently worked as the Controller at Lowcountry Land Trust.  Prior to that, she owned her own accounting services business. She loves providing accurate and timely financial reports as well as handling accounts payable, tracking event sales, membership payments, facilitating payroll, and reconciling bank accounts. She loves contributing to a company’s mission by providing strong financial management. Karen Is enjoying life’s journey in Mount Pleasant with her husband and three children.  She serves as head chef, chauffeur and cheerleader.  While her husband Is the green thumb of the family, his love of playing in the dirt has rubbed off on all of them.  They all enjoy time together “off the grid” on their property in Round O, SC.


The Charleston Horticultural Society

Contact us at (843) 579-9922 or

The Charleston Horticultural Society (CHS), founded in 2000, is a non-profit organization with membership open to all. The Society offers a wide array of horticultural information and involvement to its more than 1,300 individual and business members through lectures, educational workshops, garden tours, special events, and publications.