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

Tritonia squalida (Ait.) Ker-Gawl.

Cormous perennial with linear leaves and sweetly scented, widely funnel-shaped flowers, pink-flushed to deep mauve-pink or purple, sometimes almost white, with darker veins.  [RHSD, CECB, Grey].  

Added on November 18 2009

Ixora odorata Hook.

Tender evergreen shrub with broadly lance-shaped leaves and large panicles of very fragrant white flowers, ageing to yellow-brown, in spring.  To 90cm.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on February 08 2010

Viburnum arboreum Britton

Tree with a straight trunk and spreading branches.  To 15m.  Confined to St Catherine, St James and Trelawny in woodland on limestone hills.  Listed on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. [].

Added on July 09 2009

Quercus incana Roxb. non Bartr.

Frost-hardy, small evergreen tree or large shrub with narrow, pointed, toothed oval leaves, white-felted below.  [RHSD, Hilliers'].

Added on February 03 2010

Paeonia suffruticosa Andr. var. speciosa

See Paeonia suffruticosa Andr. for a description of the species.  According to Johnson’s Dictionary it has pink flowers but I have no more detailed description.  

Added on January 29 2010

Sparaxis bulbifera (L.) Ker-Gawl.

Frost-hardy cormous perennial with up to 9 lance-shaped, ribbed leaves, to 30cm, and erect, dainty, rarely branched stems, with up to 6, white to yellowish cream, trumpet-shaped flowers in spring.  [RHSD, Hortus, Grey].  

Added on November 17 2009

Schinus polygama (Cav.) Cabrera var. longifolia Fenzl. ex Engl.

For a description of the species see Schinus polygama (Cav.) Cabrera.  ‘The species now figured [Duvaua longifolia] differs from D. dependens in its leaves not being at all serrated, and decidedly narrowed, not widened, to the base; and also in having very short corymbs of flowers. […] It is much hardier than any of the others, having stood against an exposed wall in the hard winter, 1837-8, when all the others were either killed to the ground or entirely destroyed.’  [BR f.59/1843].  

Added on March 13 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 - 03:47 PM

Working Bee dates

Working Bee dates for 2012.

Published Jun 29, 2010 - 02:59 PM | Last updated Jan 10, 2012 - 04:19 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 - 01:58 PM | Last updated Jan 09, 2012 - 04:31 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 - 02:00 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:10 AM

Florists’ flowers

Floristry, in the 17th, 18th and 19th century meaning of the word, the growing and improvement of flowering plants for the sake of their beauty alone, has a long history in China and Asia but is of relatively recent origin in Europe.  From quite humble beginnings, the small scale leisure activity of artisans and labourers, it attracted the attention of the owners of the great pleasure gardens and botanic gardens of Europe.  Specialised nurseries began to appear to service great and small gardens, providing a means of disseminating the beautiful new varieties which the nurseries were both breeding and obtaining from enthusiastic amateurs.

Published Mar 12, 2010 - 02:41 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 05:30 PM

Raising Tropaeolum tricolor from seed

If you have tried growing Tropaeolum tricolor from seed you have probably encountered difficulty and obtained a low germination rate.  This was certainly my experience before I took this advice.

Published Jan 01, 2010 - 02:33 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 03:38 PM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 2: Climate and Soil

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters I and II deal with climate, site and soil.

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 - 03:26 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:16 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.