Kelly Billing owns Water Becomes a Garden. She provides planning & design services for appropriate site-specific plant selection. She gives special attention to seasonal interest, nutrient uptake and ecological balance to meet the project goals. A grower specializing in new cultivars as well as providing plant procurement. Access to a supportive network of quality growers across the country is collectively used to ensure the best plants required to suit the destination and design.
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 […]

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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 […]

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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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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 […]

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