Kelly Billing is an Aquatic Plant Specialist, Designer, Consultant, Writer, Teacher and Artist specializing in the way water becomes a garden. Her collection of knowledge has continued to flourish with more than 30 years in the wholesale water gardening trade. Her experience, paired with dedication has facilitated industry growth through education and has earned her expert status.

Kelly is recognized locally, nationally and internationally as a teacher, enthusiastically sharing her expertise at venues including Longwood Gardens, The International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society (IWGS) Symposium,  Helix Summit, Water Garden Expo, Pondapalooza, Genesis 3, Cornell University Extension, University of Maryland Extension Pest Management Conferences, Chesapeake Green, Master Gardeners, as well as with garden centers, garden clubs and horticultural societies. More recently she was honored to travel to China to speak at the 4 th Annual Shanghai Lotus and Waterlily Exhibition held at Guyi Garden as well as the 30 th National Lotus Flower Exhibition Symposium in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province. While in China she visited a multitude of Botanic Gardens including Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden and Research Facility and the Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Kelly has a strong history infused with numerous research and educational projects. Her work includes nutrient uptake and water quality improvement studies with Maryland Industrial Partnership (MIPS), Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Northeast Regional Aquaculture Center (NRAC), Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) and the University of Maryland Horn Point Lab and Sea Grant. The various studies focused on plant and microbial denitrification for aquaculture, storm water and lake management. Plants were used in varying capacity to treat degraded water bodies like fish aquaculture, swine lagoons and storm water to improve water quality and health prior to discharge. In most cases there was an additional priority toward beautification. The results were analyzed and published.

Kelly compiled, and continues to maintain, the Aquatic Plant Regulated & Invasive Species List for the nursery trade in the United States. Her list serves as the authoritative reference recognized by the National Plant Board; a non-profit organization of the plant pest regulatory agencies of each of the states, Puerto Rico and Guam.

Kelly’s career has provided abundant opportunity to plan, design, and plant innumerable water features. Her knowledge, expertise and careful attention to detail have resulted in significant praise.

Her clients include Anthony Archer-Wills, LLC, David B. Duensing & Associates, David S. Brown Enterprises, Ltd., and Oehme, van Sweden & Associates, to name a few. 

Her specialty is denitrification through beautification; understanding the plants natural ability to improve the health of aquatic environments. Her insight makes her adept at effective plant use while capitalizing on the architectural appeal. As in all segments of the landscape the ‘right plant, right place’ principles apply in the water as well. Creating artistic balance is her key to success.

Kelly is a published author. She co-authored with Paula Biles- The Lotus, Know It and Grow It for the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society (IWGS). The Lotus book received a bronze award from the Living Now Book Awards. In 2010 The Lotus was translated and published as a Korean edition by Chris Song. Additionally, she co-authored with Ben Helm on a water gardening book that was published in the US titled Water Gardeners Bible and in the UK as Water Gardens.

She also writes regularly for various trade magazines and other water gardening publications including Pond Trade, Ponds USA, Pond Keeper, Water Gardening Lifestyles, and The International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society Journal.

Kelly is known for transferring her enthusiasm to those around her, especially as it pertains to water gardening. She will bring her expertise and exuberance to every project she is a part of.