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

Camellia japonica ‘Beatrice’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. Camden Park bred, seedling 37/51.  ‘Delicate deep pink, good size, petals tolerably large and well shaped, quite double, but not perfectly regular to centre, very pretty flower.’  William Macarthur.  [MP A2948-6].  

Added on June 21 2009

Rhododendron indicum Alba Compacta’

Presumably a cultivar of Rhododendron indicum Sweet but I have found no description of this azalea.

Added on June 18 2009

Pentas lanceolata (Forssk.) Deflers.

Frost-tender, erect or prostrate, woody-based, evergreen perennial with lance-shaped, hairy leaves, to 15cm long, and corymbs of long-tubed, pink, magenta, blue, lilac or white flowers, to 1.5cm across, from spring to autumn. To 2m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on February 08 2010

Gardenia augusta (L.) Merrill var. ovalifolia

See Gardenia augusta (L.) Merrill var. flore pleno for detail.  Ovalifolia is a variety with more oval leaves and smaller flowers.

Added on February 08 2010

Passiflora pinnatistipula Cav.

Half-hardy climbing passion vine with 3-lobed, serrated leaves, whitish below, and pale rose flowers, with a deep blue crown, in late summer, followed by yellow-green fruit, to 5cm long.  To 10m.  [RHSD, Don].

Added on January 31 2010

Araucaria araucana (Molina) K. Koch.

Fully-hardy evergreen conical tree with whorled branches, becoming rounded as it loses its lower branches on maturing, with persistent, radially arranged, pointed, leathery leaves, to 5cm long, and ovoid female cones, to 15cm long, which ripen over 2-3 years, and similarly sized, cylindrical male cones.  To 25m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Added on July 28 2009

Rhododendron indicum ‘Ramentacea’

Probably a cultivar of Rhododendron indicum Sweet. ‘Received from Mr. Fortune, May 8, 1846, and said to be from Hong Kong.  This has something [of] the aspect of the common white Chinese Azalea, with smaller flowers, but it appears to be in reality a very distinct species.  The leaves are often nearly round, and at the most are only oblong.  The flowers have but five stamens; the sepals are very short, and bordered with long ramentaceous hairs at the edge, although they are naked on the back.  There are no glands or setae on either calyx or flower-stalks.  It is a dwarf evergreen shrub, requiring the same kind of treatment as other species of Chinese Azalea, and easily increased by cuttings in the usual way.  It is very pretty and distinct, and deserves general cultivation.’  [JHS iv. 291/1849].  

Added on June 07 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 3: Grape Varieties and Diseases

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters III and IV deal with grape varieties found suitable for New South Wales, and diseases of the vine.

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 01, 2010 - 05:24 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:16 AM

“The Blight” and the Camden Vineyards

Although the general heading of this collection of essays is ‘William Macarthur on Winemaking’ the two letters and two editorials from the Sydney Herald reproduced here are not from William’s pen. They concern the vine blight and its possible causes but also give an interesting perspective on the vineyards at Camden Park and on the esteem with which the Macarthur’s, particularly William, were held as vine growers as early as 1831. This makes them a worthwhile contribution to the story of the Camden Park wineries.

Published Jul 11, 2011 - 12:27 PM | Last updated Jul 17, 2011 - 05:31 PM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 10: The Wine Cellar

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letter XVIII, the final letter, describes the construction and operation of a wine cellar. Although Macarthur writes ‘I have not had so much experience practically in the construction of this description of buildings, as with the majority of the details, upon which, I have endeavoured to communicate information’ it seems likely that the building he describes in such detail is modeled on the Wine House at Camden Park, the remains of which survive. Indeed, in discussing the perfect site, he also writes that ‘such in fact is the description of site adopted at Camden’. The illustration used here is a photograph of the ruins of the Camden Park Wine House showing the brick and sandstone vats built in the cellar of this building 170 years ago. These are ‘of two sizes, which contain respectively, 900 and 1,700 gallons; and we use them, as well to ferment in, as to store the wine in afterwards.’ So well built were these vats that William Macarthur asserted ‘they will probably endure without repairs for generations’. He was certainly correct in this as, although they have not been used for more than 100 years and have been open to the elements for much of this time, three of these vats are still in good repair today. The other two are partly collapsed. In this final letter Macarthur also describes the construction of brick wine bins such as are to be seen in the cellars at Camden Park house. A photograph on one of these bins is given in Part 9.

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 Oct 03, 2010 - 03:00 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:10 AM

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 - 12:18 PM | Last updated Mar 01, 2012 - 07:02 AM

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.