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

Dianthus caryophyllus Ely’s ‘John Wright’

For generic information on the garden carnation see Dianthus caryophyllus L.  Ely’s ‘John Wright’ is a purple flake carnation.  ‘A noble flower, as large and deeper in colour than ‘Beauty of Woodhouse’, but not so consistent.’  [Gard. Chron. 1843].

Added on April 09 2009

Diospyros cupulosa (F.Muell.) F.Muell.

Frost tender evergreen shrub with shiny, laurel-like leaves and solitary yellow flowers in summer, followed by plum-like berries.  To 1m.  [RHSD].

Added on March 13 2009

Calostemma purpureum R.Br.

Deciduous or evergreen bulbous plant, depending on growing conditions.  The leaves may die back in summer, the umbels of 10-20 purple flowers appearing in summer or autumn, on a scape to 50cm long, followed by the leaves.  [RHSD, FNSW].  

Added on April 06 2009

Dahlia ‘Talisman’

I have found no description of ‘Talisman’.

Added on April 21 2009

Rhododendron indicum ‘Gledstanesii’

A cultivar of Rhododendron indicum Sweet. ‘White, the centre having a tinge of green, and the flower has occasional streaks and spots of rosy-scarlet.  A separate blossom from two and a half to three inches across.  The plant was five feet high by four across, and was literally covered with flowers.  It is a beautiful kind, and ought to be in every collection.’

Added on June 06 2009

Portulaca thellusonii Lindl.

‘These much resemble in appearance an ice-plant, having succulent stems and cylindrical leaves.  They are very showy plants, but require greenhouse treatment, although they may occasionally be turned out in the open border in summer.  The best [include] Thellusoni, which is the strongest grower – it has large blood-red flowers’  [Gard. Chron. 1855].

Added on February 06 2009

Ixia retusa Salisb.

Ixia retusa is now regarded as a form of Ixia scillaris L. which see.  It is separated here under the name retusa to emphasise the varietal differences.  According to Johnson’s Dictionary the flowers of retusa are light yellow.  [JD].  

Added on November 14 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


The Fuchsias of Camden Park

The first fuchsia introduced to English gardens in 1788 was a variety of Fuchsia magellanica Lam.  This new plant soon attracted the attention of florists and, stimulated by the regular introduction of new species and varieties from South America, selection and hybridisation saw a rapidly increasing number of named varieties available through the nurseries.  The first record of a fuchsia at Camden Park is Fuchsia conica, which arrived on board the ‘Sovereign’ in February 1831.  By 1857 fifty-eight species, cultivars and hybrids had been recorded as growing in the gardens.

Published Mar 14, 2010 - 10:50 AM | Last updated Jun 24, 2011 - 02:45 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

Australian native plants in the Hortus

Australian native plants were important to the gardening enterprises of Camden Park.  Even today Australian trees such as Araucaria species, Agathis robusta, Brachychiton populneum, Lagunaria pattersonia, Grevillea robusta and several species of palm very much define the landscape of the gardens.  Australian plants, particularly native orchids and ferns, were sent to England in large numbers in exchange for the exotic plants that were so much desired by Macarthur and his fellow colonists.

Published Mar 13, 2010 - 05:22 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:32 PM

History of the Florists’ Gloxinia

In the 19th century the florists’ Gloxinia was a very popular plant with hundreds of varieties under propagation.  Out of fashion today, these beautiful and easily grown plants deserve to be revived.  William Macarthur would not have recognised the large, multi-coloured flowers that dominate the show bench today but the plants he grew, predominantly of the slipper, or wild type, were equally beautiful.

Published Mar 14, 2010 - 01:56 PM | Last updated Jul 26, 2011 - 04:59 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.