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

Clarkia amoena A.Nelson & J.F.Macbr. subsp. lindleyi (Dougl.) F.H.&M.E.Lewis

Fully hardy, erect annual with fluted, single or double, lilac to reddish pink flowers, with a dark red spot, in long shoots in summer.  To 75cm.  Lindleyi is a rather coarse form with lavender flowers, often streaked with white near the base, the dark red central spot often absent or represented by a small spot or line.  It can grow to 2m.  Once a very popular cottage garden plant.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on October 12 2009

Rosa ‘La Tourterelle’

A Hybrid China rose.  It was described as a Hybrid Bengal rose by Gore under the name ‘Parny’, its flowers middle-sized, regular, full, of a light uniform lilac.  Paul described its flowers as rose and dove-coloured, shaded with slate, cupped, large and full, on a vigorous shrub with a branching habit.  [Paul (1848)].  Thomas Rivers, writing in the Floricultural Cabinet, described ‘La Tourterelle’ in similar terms.  [FC p.241/1835].


Added on February 11 2010

Gladiolus (x colvilli) x (angustus x blandus)

Four way hybrid, Gladiolus x colvilli x (Gladiolus angustus x G. carneus).  No description is extant.

Added on October 23 2009

Pinus canariensis C.Smith

Frost-hardy, conical evergreen tree, becoming domed with age, with fissured, reddish bark, single, long-lived, bluish juvenile leaves, spreading adult leaves, to 30cm long, in threes, and ovoid female cones, to 20cm long.  To 25m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Added on July 19 2009

Jasminum humile L.

Frost-hardy semi-evergreen or evergreen, erect or arching, bushy shrub with alternate, pinnate leaves, with up to 13 leaflets, and cymes of usually 6, salverform, sometimes fragrant, bright yellow flowers, to 1cm across, from spring to autumn.  To 2.5m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Added on January 20 2010

Camellia japonica ‘Prima Donna’

Presumably a cultivar of Camellia japonica L. The identity of the camellia listed as ‘Prima donna’ in the catalogues is doubtful.  The plant usually known and described under this name has somewhat lance-shaped, rounded petals, very full, pink at the base, with white or rose margins and pink veining.  It was raised in Italy about 1850 and first described by Verschaffelt in 1851 so is unlikely to be the catalogue plant.  [ICR].

Added on July 01 2009

Ipomoea cairica (L.) Sw.

Frost tender, tuberous-rooted perennial climber with palmate leaves and profuse funnel-shaped flowers in red, purple or white, with purple inside the tube.  To 4.5m.  [RHSD, Hortus, FNSW].

Added on October 04 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 - 04:47 PM

Working Bee dates

Working Bee dates for 2012.

Published Jun 29, 2010 - 02:59 PM | Last updated Jan 10, 2012 - 05:19 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 - 02:58 PM | Last updated Jan 09, 2012 - 05:31 PM


Letters on the Culture of the Vine. Part 1: Introduction

‘Letters’ is an important book in the history of wine production in Australia and this is, I believe, the first time that the full text has been made available outside the major libraries. The value of William Macarthur’s book compared with earlier Colonial publications is that it is written from the perspective of over twenty years of experience of growing grapes and making wine in New South Wales. He does include theory from the pens of European authorities but the bulk of the book is written from personal experience. He is in effect saying ‘this is what we have found to work here’.

‘Letters’ is reproduced in 10 parts, beginning with the Introduction, which provides information on the history of the book and gives a synopsis of early experiences of vine importation and wine production.

Published Aug 27, 2010 - 05:50 PM | Last updated Nov 24, 2011 - 02:57 PM

The Family Amaryllidaceae at Camden Park

Amaryllidaceae was a very significant family of plants in the history of the Camden Park gardens.  The following Essay provides a little background to these important plants.

Published Jan 01, 2010 - 05:11 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:54 PM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 7: The Vintage (Continued)

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters IX, X and XI, reproduced in Part 6, dealt with the vintage, including the theory and practice of fermentation and preparation for winemaking. The vintage is continued in Part 7, letters XII and XIII giving a description of grape harvesting and crushing. The illustration used here is an excellent lithograph showing the grape harvest at the third vineyard at Camden Park in 1878.

The entire book is reproduced in the Hortus in ten parts. For background information and Macarthur’s Introduction to the book see Part 1.


Published Sep 24, 2010 - 05:07 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:14 AM

Florists’ flowers

Floristry, in the 17th, 18th and 19th century meaning of the word, the growing and improvement of flowering plants for the sake of their beauty alone, has a long history in China and Asia but is of relatively recent origin in Europe.  From quite humble beginnings, the small scale leisure activity of artisans and labourers, it attracted the attention of the owners of the great pleasure gardens and botanic gardens of Europe.  Specialised nurseries began to appear to service great and small gardens, providing a means of disseminating the beautiful new varieties which the nurseries were both breeding and obtaining from enthusiastic amateurs.

Published Mar 12, 2010 - 03:41 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 05:30 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.