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

Vitis vinifera ‘Black Prince’

‘Bunches rather long, and generally unshouldered; they are, however, occasionally well shouldered. Berries oval, and, when well thinned out, of a very good size. Skin dark blackish purple, covered with a thick blue bloom. Flesh white, abounding with sweet well flavoured Juice. In pulling the berry from the stalk, a long receptacle is left, which is red, and covered with the white flesh. Seeds large, generally four, and sometimes five, in each berry. Leaves rather fleshy, broad in proportion to their length, with long footstalks, tinged with red: the principal lobes not deeply divided, broadly serrated, becoming variegated in the autumn with pale red and dark purple.

The Black Prince is of easy culture, requiring only the protection of the greenhouse or common vinery; and in favourable seasons it will, on a warm dry soil, ripen its fruit on a south wall.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.195/1831].



Added on June 23 2010

Ixora chinensis Lam.

Frost-tender, bushy, rounded shrub with oblong, pointed leaves, to 6cm long, and dense, flattened, corymb-like cymes, to 10cm across, of red, orange, pink or white flowers, in summer. To 2m by 2m.  [RHSE, Hortus].  Often confused with Ixora L. var. bandhuca (Roxb.) Corner which see.  

Added on February 08 2010

Camellia japonica ‘Volumnea’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L.  Camden Park bred, seedling 34/51.  ‘Bright crimson, two rows of outer petals, very broad and large and of thick substance, inner very small and placed like old Waratah, but a handsomer flower.  Good.’  William Macarthur.  [MP A2948-6].  

Added on July 04 2009

Camellia japonica L. var. 'Rosa mundi' ‘Rosa Mundi’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L., ‘Rosa Mundi’ has well formed double flowers, to 7cm across, the petals having a white ground spotted and striped with crimson.  [ICR].

Added on July 01 2009

Tradescantia crassula Link & Otto

Tender herbaceous succulent with branching, ascending stems, oblong leaves and many-flowered, usually terminal umbels of white flowers.  To 45cm.  [RHSD].

Added on February 01 2009

Rosa banksiae R.Br. var. lutea

Rosa Banksiae lutea is a vigorous climber with long, smooth, thornless stems and small leaves composed of up to 7 leaflets, and numerous clusters of rosette-shaped double yellow flowers, to 2cm across, in spring and early summer.  To 10m or more.  [Paul (1848, 1863, 1888, 1903), Rivers (1854, 1857, 1863), Willmot, BR f.1105/1827].

Added on February 11 2010

Nicotiana glauca Grah.

Half hardy, fast-growing, semi-evergreen shrub with long, arching shoots, ovate, fleshy, blue-grey leaves, and tubular, bright yellow flowers, to 4cm long.  To 6m.  [RHSE, Hortus, FNSW].

Added on February 27 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


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

A Brief History of the Camden Park Gardens

William Macarthur, born at Parramatta, New South Wales in 1800, was the youngest son of the colonial pioneers John and Elizabeth Macarthur. He became an accomplished agronomist, horticulturist, viticulturist and gardener, but above all he was a plantsman. Although he certainly sought to create a pleasant gentleman’s garden at Camden his real interest was in growing useful, unusual, exotic and beautiful plants for their own sake as well as for their utility. He established his first garden at Camden in 1820. More than 3000 species, hybrids and cultivars were grown in the gardens up to 1861, all of them described in the Hortus. Many more were grown in the succeeding decades. Of course not all of these plants succeeded at Camden. William was an innovator and put much energy into determining which plants could be acclimatised and which could not and he became an authority on the subject, his expertise sought by such bodies as the Queensland Acclimatisation Society, founded in 1862.

The historic value of the Camden Park gardens is almost inestimable.  Many changes have occurred in the gardens in the almost 200 years since they were first laid out, but the basic framework of the gardens remains with many historically significant trees and shrubs surviving. Over the years the diversity of plants in the gardens has naturally diminished. This has occurred mainly since World War II, partly due to a lack of labour to maintain and replace the more sensitive species and varieties. The economic conditions of today make it very difficult to manage extensive private gardens but John and Edwina Macarthur-Stanham, the present owners, have done much to halt and reverse the post-war decline, and there is a very real desire on the part of the family to maintain and develop the gardens.

Published Jun 27, 2010 - 02:25 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 02:33 PM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 6: The Vintage

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters IX, X and XI deal with the vintage, including the theory and practice of fermentation and preparation for winemaking. The process of winemaking is dealt with in more detail in subsequent letters. The illustration used here is a wine label from the 1852 Muscat vintage. Follow this link to further examples of wine labels from this period.

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 15, 2010 - 03:53 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:15 AM

A Few Words on Gesneraceous Plants

The family Gesnereaceae was an important contributor to the diversity of the colonial garden of Camden Park, with 97 plants described in the Hortus, mainly from the genera Achimenes and Sinningia. This short article provides a good overview of the history of Gesneriads as garden plants, and some very useful advice on their culture. Unfortunately I have lost the source reference, but the content suggests that it was written for an Australian colonial readership. The article is simply signed L.W.

Published Jun 26, 2010 - 03:01 PM | Last updated Jun 26, 2010 - 03:19 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.