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

Justicia adhatoda L.

Frost tender, usually erect and sparsely branched, evergreen shrub, spreading with age, with elliptic leaves, to 20cm long, and terminal or axillary spikes of tubular-bell-shaped, 2-lipped white flowers, veined red-purple, to 3cm long, mainly in summer.  To 3m.  [RHSE].

Added on February 22 2010

Rubus idaeus subsp. vulgatus ‘Common White’

See Rubus idaeus L. subsp. vulgatus for a description. The ‘Common White Raspberry’ is probably the wild type.

Added on June 04 2010

Passiflora caerulea L.

Frost-hardy, fast-growing, often rampant, climber with slender stems, deeply, 3-9-lobed leaves, to 10cm long, and bowl-shaped, white or pink-tinged flowers in summer and autumn, to 10cm across, with purple-, blue- and white-zoned coronas, followed by edible orange-yellow fruit, to 6cm long.  To 10m or more.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Added on January 31 2010

Ixia scillaris L.

Cormous perennial with up to 7 lance-shaped leaves, sometimes with undulate margins, and a lax spike, to 50cm, bearing up to 25, scented, white, mauve, pink or magenta flowers, usually with a small green mark in the centre, from winter to spring.  [RHSD, CECB].

Added on November 13 2009

Malus domestica ‘Desert Apple’

Probably a variety raised at Camden Park.  No mention is made of this apple in William Macarthur’s records.  



Added on April 15 2010

Malus domestica ‘Dumelow’s Seedling’

Fruit; large, roundish, flattened. Skin; pale yellow, strewn with russet, pale red next the sun. Flesh; yellowish white, firm, crisp, brisk and very juicy, slightly aromatic flavour. [HP].

Added on April 16 2010

Malus domestica ‘Green Desert Apple’

Probably a variety raised at Camden Park.  Described as no name (‘Green Apple’) in Macarthur’s Notebook no.9.  March-May.  ‘Great.  Good for dessert only, has [undeciphered words] spicy flavour, not very juicy and sometimes becomes mealy. [Notebook no.9, MP A2948]. It was also briefly described in a gardening diary: ‘No name.  March-May.  Great bearer.  For dessert only, very highly flavoured but without acid.’ [Diary B, 1862, MP A2951].



Added on April 15 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


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

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

Rambles in New Zealand - part 3

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 - 02:11 PM | Last updated Mar 01, 2012 - 07:02 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.