Kelly Billing owns Water Becomes a Garden. She is a grower and consultant with a focus on creative, site appropriate use of aquatic plants for effective display. Attention is given to seasonal interest, nutrient uptake and ecological balance to meet project goals. Steeped in water quality research, she promotes the use of natural processes. Her clients across the country allow her to make a difference on projects through proper planning and planting.

Bog Planting with Lotus & Other Aquatic Plants

By Kelly Billing / April 28, 2024 / 0 Comments

This year’s Memorial Build featured an upper bog filter as part of the training. Bog-filter construction has different processes, depending on which company or contractor builds it. Larry Carnes gladly included lotus in the design. This underutilized plant is planted worldwide to reduce nutrients and purify water from various contaminants. Headwaters of a stream are […]

Read More
Aquatic Plants

Get Inspired by Plant World Romanticism

By Kelly Billing / June 28, 2023 / 0 Comments

I had the good fortune of spending a majority of my childhood in the forest. My mother was an avid gardener. We lived at the edge of a reservoir that supplied water to Baltimore City. That meant we had miles of fire trails to follow and discover. Childhood Wonders There were castle ruins that had […]

Read More
Lotus Bed

Choosing Aquatic Plants for a Water Garden

By Kelly Billing / April 25, 2023 / 0 Comments

By Kelly Billing and Larry Carnes Use Nature as Inspiration When Choosing Aquatic Plants Nature has long served as inspiration to the pond builder. Wind and rain-weathered rock formations, jutted outcroppings and eroded stone from centuries of varying seasonal water flows are all naturally occurring structures that are often studied and near replicated to bring […]

Read More

How to Source Aquatic Plants in any Ecosystem

By Kelly Billing / March 2, 2022 / 0 Comments

When I began my career more than 35 years ago, little information existed about most things aquatic compared to today. Instead of being just a click away, information about individual plants was typically provided via a photocopy through the mail. I would send a check to cover the cost (about 7 to 10 cents per […]

Read More

Variegated and Colored Foliage for Water Gardens

By Kelly Billing / February 28, 2020 / 0 Comments

Plants with colored foliage are a luxury, an anomaly, and quite often, just the right splash of color or contrast to make magic happen. There are several ways they can effectively transform a display. 
Foliage, by any definition, has the ability to shape a landscape with its color, form or shape. Botanically speaking, variegated foliage […]

Read More

‘Waterlily Timeline’ Adds New Aesthetic to D.C. Building

By Kelly Billing / August 31, 2019 / 0 Comments

In summer 2018, Darren DeStefano, a horticulturist at the General Services Administration (GSA) Public Building Service National Capital Region, and Claro Rodriguez from Plant or Transplant collaborated with me to create the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s now prominent waterlily feature. DeStefano designed a feature that is equal parts reflection, color and simplicity. Rodriguez […]

Read More

Pond Plants for High Foot Traffic

By Kelly Billing / June 26, 2018 / 0 Comments

There’s a lot to be said for all the phone calls and thank-you letters that tell the stories of how much clients loves their pond. But nothing says, “I completed my task and built something my client is totally engaged in,” quite like the flurry of activity around a pond’s perimeter. Most ponds are encompassed […]

Read More
lotus boy's head

Lotus: The Magical Aquatic Plant

By Kelly Billing / October 31, 2017 / 4 Comments

Lotus (Nelumbo) and I began a relationship some 30 years ago. Having had a childhood infused with growing things, I have always been intrigued by plants — but lotus is special. It is full of rich history, and for those with an inquisitive nature, there is boundless information since it’s one of the most researched […]

Read More

Meet the Winners from the IWGS 2016 International Waterlily Competition

By Kelly Billing / December 30, 2016 / 0 Comments

This year, the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society (IWGS) held its annual competition at a new venue — Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Penn. The change comes after Tamara Kilbane at Denver Botanic Gardens passed the torch from her capable hands. The IWGS owes her an enormous debt of gratitude for her work at […]

Read More

Illuminate Your Pond with Shade-Loving Plants

By Kelly Billing / April 29, 2016 / 0 Comments

by Kelly Billing, Maryland Aquatic Nurseries & Zac DeGarmeaux, Pond Megastore Water gardening is an infectious hobby, and though most ponds are located in the full sun, the absence of a blank canvas should not be a deterrent for the shady gardener. Water at any light level adds interest, sound and movement — and can even attract […]

Read More
Scroll to Top