Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Camden Park House from the East Lawn. Photography by Leigh Youdale

Selected plants in the Hortus

Pholidota imbricata (Roxb.) Lindl.

Epiphytic orchid with pseudobulbs bearing 1 leathery leaf, and apical inflorescences forming a pendant, 2-ranked pseudospiral of pinkish flowers in spring.  [RHSD, Jones, Pridgeon, Hortus].

Added on January 26 2010

Camellia japonica ‘Clio’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. Camden Park bred, seedling 29/50.  ‘Deep rose colour, small size, like Paeoniflora, but darker.  Middling.  Very abundant bloomer.’  William Macarthur.  [MP A2948-6].

Added on June 21 2009

Rosa ‘Princesse de Lamballe’

Alba rose.  The flowers are pure white, sometimes delicately tinted with flesh.  It was included in a list of recommended Damask, Alba, French and Hybrid Provins roses in The Gardeners’ Chronicle of 1850, and in 1847 was recommended as a pot rose.  [Paul (1848, 1863, 1888), Rivers (1854, 1857, 1863), Gard. Chron. 1847, 1850].


Added on February 12 2010

Rosa ‘Solfaterre’

Usually classified as a Noisette, but included among the Indicas (Chinas) in Macarthur’s hand-written 1861 list.  ‘Solfaterre’ has bright straw-coloured flowers with a deeper sulphur centre, rather tender.  [Paul (1848, 1863, 1888), Rivers (1854, 1857, 1863), Henry Curtis p.1 vol.2/1853, Amat].


Added on February 11 2010

Hibiscus syriacus L. var. purpurea plena

For information on the species see Hibiscus syriacus L. var. alba simplexPurpurea plena is a form with double red to purple flowers.  [PD].

Added on January 13 2010

Gladiolus ‘Prince of Orange’

Camden Park hybrid.  Gladiolus tristis x Gladiolus x gandavensis hybrid.  Described in William Macarthur’s note books, in an entry dated December 23rd, 1847, as G. tristis-gandavensis No.2, that is hybrid No.2 of a cross between Gladiolus tristis and G. gandavensis.  ‘Large flowers, more expanded than Gandavensis, measuring 4 inches by 3 inches.  Colour reddish orange [word indistinct but probably] covered on the lower lobes with yellow and dark brown and purple blotches.  Robust and branching scapes 3 to 4 feet high with numerous flowers.  Very fine variety.’  By 1848 this prolific hybrid had produced 10 large roots and between 180 and 200 offsets.  [MP A2948-5].  It was referred to by Emily Macarthur in a letter to William. 

Added on October 21 2009

Genista canariensis L.

Frost-tender, unarmed, broom-like shrub with trifoliate, white-hairy leaves and terminal inflorescences of fragrant, bright yellow flowers.  To 2m.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on December 16 2009


Improvements to Hortus Camdenensis

The Hortus software has been upgraded. This led to some minor errors in the layout of plant names, particularly in the headings of Plant Profile pages but these have now been largely overcome. Improvements are also progressively being made to the content of the Hortus in three main areas, botanical and horticultural history, cross referencing and illustrations. Some enhancements will be done as the opportunity arises but most will be completed family by family. This will take at least two years to complete.


Published Sep 14, 2010 - 04:06 PM | Last updated Aug 12, 2012 - 04:36 PM

Sir William Macarthur on Vines and Vineyards

Sir William Macarthur wrote extensively on vines and Vineyards. It is our intention to publish all his writings in the Hortus.

Published Aug 01, 2010 - 04:58 PM | Last updated Oct 04, 2010 - 03:47 PM

Working Bee dates

Working Bee dates for 2012.

Published Jun 29, 2010 - 02:59 PM | Last updated Jan 10, 2012 - 04:19 PM

Open House and Gardens

Camden Park House and Gardens will be open to the public on Saturday 22nd September, 2012, from 12.00 noon until 4.00 pm, and Sunday 23rd from 10.00 am until 4.00 pm.

Published Dec 30, 2009 - 01:58 PM | Last updated Jan 09, 2012 - 04:31 PM


Rambles in New Zealand - Part 2

Rambles in New Zealand is the only published work of John Carne Bidwill of any length and an important document in the early colonial history of that country.
It is included in the Hortus for a number of reasons but mainly because, together with his letters to The Gardeners’ Chronicle, it completes the known published works of Bidwill. His importance in the history of the Camden Park gardens and the lack of any substantive treatment of his life and achievements make it appropriate to include all his published work here.
Rambles is published here in four parts:
Part 1 – dedication, Preface, pages 1-29
Part 2 – pages 30-59
Part 3 – pages 60-89
Part 4 – pages 90 -93, List of Subscribers

Published Feb 29, 2012 - 11:18 AM | Last updated Mar 01, 2012 - 06:02 AM

Australian native plants in the Hortus

Australian native plants were important to the gardening enterprises of Camden Park.  Even today Australian trees such as Araucaria species, Agathis robusta, Brachychiton populneum, Lagunaria pattersonia, Grevillea robusta and several species of palm very much define the landscape of the gardens.  Australian plants, particularly native orchids and ferns, were sent to England in large numbers in exchange for the exotic plants that were so much desired by Macarthur and his fellow colonists.

Published Mar 13, 2010 - 04:22 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:32 PM

Thomas Harris (1885-1948)

Thomas Harris, born in Worcestershire in 1885, was a gardener at Camden Park from 1913 to 1938.

Published Aug 16, 2012 - 11:09 AM | Last updated Aug 16, 2012 - 12:09 PM

Camellias at Camden Park

Most of the camellias grown at Camden Park are cultivars of Camellia japonica L., the ‘Common camellia’, a native of China, Korea and Japan.  The first plant introduced to Britain in 1739, and figured in Curtis's Botanical Magazine [BM t.42/1788], is close to the wild type.  It bears single red flowers in early spring but is rarely planted now and was not grown at Camden Park.  William Macarthur was an important breeder of camellias and many of the cultivars described in the Hortus were bred by him.  Unfortunately few of these have survived.  

Published Mar 13, 2010 - 01:43 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:46 PM

About the Hortus

The Hortus attempts to correctly identify, describe, illustrate and provide a brief history of all the plants grown at Camden Park between c.1820 and 1861.

Plants in the Hortus

The Hortus plants served a wide range of purposes: ornament, living fences, fibre, dyestuffs, medicine, food from the garden and orchard, and many others.

Plant Families

Plants in the Hortus are grouped by Family, perhaps the most useful of the higher order classifications.


Essays enhance the Hortus by providing a level of detail about the gardens, people, and plants that would be inappropriate for an individual plant profile.

Hortus News

News provides an opportunity for people interested in the gardens to keep in touch with the work being done to maintain and reinvigorate the gardens and receive advance notice of events such as Open Garden days.