Kelly Billing has 33 years experience in the water gardening industry wholesale trade. She is currently a Lotus grower and industry consultant with a focus on creative, site appropriate use of aquatic plants for effective, long term display. A rich history in water quality research, she promotes the use of natural processes over chemicals to improve water quality. She compiled and maintains the Regulated Aquatic Plants list for the United States, is a Certified Professional Horticulturist, serves on the Board of Directors for the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society (IWGS.org), speaks internationally and writes regularly for various trade magazines and water gardening publications. She has co-written 'The Lotus, Know It and Grow It' with Paula Biles and 'Water Gardener's Bible' with Ben Helm. For more information about changing the way Water Becomes a Garden, visit kellybilling.com

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 […]

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2019 IWGS New Waterlily Competition Results

By Kelly Billing / February 28, 2020 / 0 Comments

For the first time, in 2019, the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society (IWGS) held its New Waterlily Competition at Naples Botanical Garden in Naples, Florida. Tim Jennings of Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, the host of the competition for the past several years, confidently passed the torch to Danny Cox at the Naples […]

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‘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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Longwood Gardens.

Preview of the 2017 International Waterlily & Water Gardening Society (IWGS) Annual Symposium

By Kelly Billing / April 26, 2017 / 0 Comments

In 1982, Charles Thomas planted a seed among other waterlily enthusiasts for creating a society. He fertilized it relentlessly, bringing together all facets of water gardeners. Shortly thereafter, the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society was born. The annual symposium has been instrumental in uniting like-minded individuals and organizations to share their knowledge and passion […]

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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 […]

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Light Guide for Plants in the Winter

By Kelly Billing / August 31, 2015 / 0 Comments

Plants that will perform fine in a very low-light situations or Northern exposure would include: Elettaria cardamomum – Cardamom Echinodorus cordifolius – Sword Cyperus alternifolius – Umbrella Palms East, Southeast, South, Southwest or Western exposure: Bacopa Baumea rubiginosa “Variegata” – Variegated Striped Rush Canna Colocasia – Taro Crinum – Bog Lily Hymenocallis – Spider Lily Philydrum langinosum – Frog’s Mouth Pontederia – (Tropical) lanceolata, “Singapore […]

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Bundle Up | Overwintering Aquatic Plants

By Kelly Billing / August 31, 2015 / 0 Comments

Northern gardeners often add tropical plants to the water garden for intense color and bold, distinct foliage. But Northern winters are notoriously harsh, so the two most commonly asked questions asked about these colorful plants are: “Will they die if I leave them outside?” and: “Can I overwinter them indoors?” Of course, the answer to […]

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Carpeting the Pond

By Kelly Billing / November 1, 2013 / 0 Comments

While our backyard ponds are typically attractive, healthy and well- managed, a neglected stormwater pond offends the eyes and nose in equal measure. But with a little soil improvement and the proper shoreline plantings, Kelly Billings will show you how these ugly drainage areas can be transformed into beautiful natural areas that delight visitors and raise property values.

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