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

Rosa ‘Madame Domage’

Hybrid Perpetual.  Paul described ‘Madame Domage’ as very large and double flowers of a bright rose colour on a vigorous shrub.  [Paul (1863, 1888)].



Added on February 12 2010

Juanulloa mexicana (Schldl.) Miers

Frost tender, epiphytic shrub, becoming scandent with age, with elliptic leaves, to 20cm long, woolly beneath, and short racemes of semi-pendant, tubular orange flowers, to 5cm long, in summer.  To 2m or more.  Although epiphytic on trees and rocks in its native habitat it will grow well in pots.  [RHSE].

Added on February 27 2010

Epiphyllum ackermanii Haw.

Frost tender, erect, perennial cactus with strap-like, flat, thin, scalloped, fleshy stems, sometimes 3-ribbed, freely branching from the base, and crimson or orange-red flowers with pale yellow-green tubes, to 12cm long, in summer.  To 45cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on March 05 2009

Prunus domestica ‘Damson’

Generally considered a Prunus domestica L. cultivar but see notes below. ‘Damson, Common Damson, Round Damson. Fruit very small, roundish-ovate. Skin deep dark purple or black, covered with thin bloom. Flesh greenish-yellow, juicy very acid, and rather austere till highly ripened, and separating from the stone. Shoots downy. A well-known preserving plum. Ripe in the end of September.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.236/1860]. The Damson is often placed in a separate species, Prunus insititia L., or separated as a subspecies, insititia, of Prunus domestica L. Damson varieties were in the past usually raised from stones.

Added on May 27 2010

Narcissus pseudonarcissus L.

Narcissus vulgaris of Macarthur is probably the common, or ‘vulgar’, form of one of the common daffodils, such as Narcissus pseudonarcissus L.  A very variable daffodil with many recognised sub-species and varieties.  Bulbous perennial the stems bearing single flowers with pale yellow segments and bright yellow trumpet-shaped corona, about as long as the segments.  [RHSD, Hortus, Baker Am.].  Redouteé L pl.158/1802-15.

Added on May 23 2009

Viburnum cassinoides L.

Hardy, rounded, bushy, deciduous shrub with leathery, toothed, ovate leaves, to 10cm long, changing to scarlet in autumn, and flat clusters of yellowish-white flowers in summer, followed by red fruits which ripen to black.  To 2.4m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Added on July 10 2009

Spiranthes sinensis (Pers.) Ames

A terrestrial orchid, usually found in a damp environment including peat bogs, with a basal rosette of narrow, lance-shaped leaves, to 16cm long and spirally twisted flower spike with pink flowers, to 45cm tall.  [RHSD, Jones, FNSW, Pridgeon].

Added on January 24 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


Edmund Blake - Gardener

Edmund Blake is important in the history of Camden Park gardens, where he was employed as a gardener from 1837 until probably at least 1867.  William Macarthur named three hybrid plants in his honour, Passiflora  ‘Blakei’, Gladiolus ‘Blakei’ and Erythrina ‘Blakei, testament to the high regard in which he was held.  Erythrina ‘Blakei’ has survived to this day. It is a magnificent shrub worthy of a place in any large garden.

Published Apr 03, 2010 - 03:35 PM | Last updated Aug 14, 2012 - 04:55 PM

Camden Park Roses

Roses were very important to the Camden Park gardens, 297 are listed in the Hortus, substantially more than the next largest genus, Camellia with 140 plants.  This brief review summarises the major types of rose grown and discusses the change in profile of roses over the decades from 1843 to 1861. 

Published Feb 13, 2010 - 03:27 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 11:02 AM

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

Memorandum from the Antipodes: Colouring of Grapes

The following Memorandum was submitted to The Gardeners’ Chronicle by William Macarthur in 1854. Although written in response to a particular problem aired in the columns of the newspaper some months earlier, it adds considerably to our understanding of commercial wine production at Camden Park, in particular the preferred grapes and the style of wine best suited to the colonial conditions. We are also given insights into the problems caused by ‘sudden abstraction of labour attending our gold crisis’, which caused considerable disruption of agrarian and other commercial activities in Australia for some years.

Published Jun 30, 2011 - 04:42 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:12 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.