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

Rhododendron formosum Wall. var. gibsoni

The type Rhododendron formosum is a shrub or small tree with elliptic leaves, to 18cm, woolly beneath, and magenta-pink flowers with crimson spots and a basal blotch.  The form Gibsonii has fragrant, white, pink-tinted flowers.  To 5m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Millais]. The variety gibsoni is naturally occurring.

Added on June 18 2009

Gordonia lasianthus L.

Evergreen shrub, but sometimes growing to a medium-sized tree, with shallowly toothed rounded leaves and axillary white flowers.  To 18m.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on March 29 2009

Zephyranthes minuta (Kunth) D.Dietr.

It is possible that the plant listed in the catalogues as Zephyranthes rosea is Zephyranthes minuta (Kunth) D.Dietr., synonym Zephyranthes rosea Hort. This plant was known commonly in the nursery trade as Zephyranthes grandiflora (another synonym) from the early to mid 19th century and was often confused with Zephyranthes rosea Lindl. in the trade [Hortus]. It is a bulbous perennial with narrowly strap-shaped leaves, erect and spreading, and rose pink flowers.  It has longer, brighter pink flowers than the true Z. rosea.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on May 16 2009

Cyathea australis (R.Br.) Domin

Tall tree fern, the trunk mostly covered by the persisten bases of the stipes, the fronds, to 3m long, with conical spines on the base of the stipes.  To 20m.  [FNSW, Beadle].

Added on February 10 2009

Lobelia cardinalis L.

Fully hardy, short-lived, clump-forming perennial with reddish-purple stems and long racemes of tubular brilliant scarlet-red flowers in summer and early autumn.  To 90cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on September 29 2009

Rosa ‘Acidalie’

Bourbon rose.  ‘Acidalie’ has large, full, globular, sweetly-scented flowers of pure white with blush centres on a vigorous bush.  It requires good weather to perform well.  [Paul (1848, 1863)].



Added on February 12 2010

Lawsonia inermis L.

Frost tender, large evergreen shrub or small tree, sometimes spiny, with lance-shaped leaves, to 5cm long, and pyramidal panicles, to 40cm long, of many tiny, fragrant, white, pink or red flowers, in summer.  To 6m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on March 05 2010


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 4: Forming the Vineyard and Planting Vines

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters V and VI deal with the formation of the vineyard and planting the vines. The illustration used here is Macarthur’s Plate 1, a ground plan for a vineyard. This is probably based on his own third vineyard, commenced c.1830.

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 05, 2010 - 05:03 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:15 AM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 5: Management and Replenishment of the Vineyard

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters VII and VIII deal with the management of the vineyard after planting, the use of manures and the replenishment of an exhausted vineyard. The illustration used here is Macarthur’s Plate 2, a section of a vineyard. This is referred to in detail in Part 4, however it does illustrate the method of vine culture recommended and described here, the dwarf-standard method which at this time was practiced mostly in the north of France.

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 09, 2010 - 05:49 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:15 AM

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 - 02:43 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:46 PM

Vineyards at Camden

The vineyards of Camden Park are widely considered to be the first commercial vineyards in Australia. James and William Macarthur were certainly not the first to sell wine for profit or the first to export wine but were pioneers in the development of vineyards intended to produce a profit from the sale of quality wine. Prior to this wine was produced from small vineyards planted primarily for home consumption, with excess sold and sometimes exported.

The first vineyard was small, only one acre in extent, and largely experimental, but the second and third were on a much grander scale. As the closing words of this pamphlet demonstrate, James and William certainly had a vision of what was possible for Australian wine production, as they had previously for fine Merino wool.

‘Whether these Colonies can also hope to provide for the benefit of every class here at home, and at an equally moderate rate another exportable product, remains yet to be seen — so that even the tired artizan, in his hours of relaxation from toil, may not unseldom exclaim, “Go Fetch me a quart of (Australian) Sack.” ’

Published Aug 25, 2010 - 05:34 PM | Last updated Aug 25, 2010 - 05:51 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.