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

Ixia flexuosa L.

A cormous perennial.  Growing to 65cm tall, it has wiry stems, often unbranched and pink, mauve or white flowers, up to 12 per stem, with darker streaks and a musky odour.  [CECB].

Added on November 12 2009

Gladiolus cardinalis x (x gandavensis) [#4]

Gladiolus cardinalis x Gladiolus x gandavensis hybrid no.4 in Macarthur’s notebook no.5 in an entry dated 1847.  Slender scape.  moderately [word indistinct] flower.  Middling shape, purplish crimson, purple [word indistinct] blotches on lower lobes.  Middling variety.  [MP A2948-5].

Added on October 22 2009

Citrus reticulata ‘Tangerine’

The tangerine is a cultivar of Citrus reticulata Blanco. See Citrus reticulata ‘Mandarin Orange’ for a description of the Mandarin and Tangerine group.

‘Thorny Mandarin or Tangerine. One of the best-flavoured of all mandarins. Tree a dense bush requiring severe thinning out to bear large fruit; thorny, except some sub-varieties which are thornless. Fruit small to large, according to number of fruit, vigour of trees, and soil and climate; roundish, flattened, stem fine and firmly attached to fruit; skins tight, thin, and smooth, pale yellow. Pulp juicy and aromatic. This fruit becomes dry and puffy if allowed to hang too long.’ [Despeissis p.243/1903]. 

Added on May 04 2010

Urechites suberectus Müll.Arg.

Frost-tender, evergreen, twining climber, with opposite, ovate leaves, downy beneath, with large, salver-shaped, yellow flowers, with somewhat reflexed petals, in summer.  [RHSD].

Added on May 29 2009

Ulmus procera Salisb.

Fully hardy, large, broadly upright, deciduous tree with ovate, toothed leaves, to 10cm long, turning yellow in autumn, and tiny red flowers in spring, followed by winged green fruit, to 1.5cm across, rarely produced.  It spreads mainly through suckers.  To 40m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Added on February 28 2010

Platycerium superbum de Jonch. & Hennipman

Large epiphytic fern with sterile ‘nest leaves’ forming a large mass at the top of the plant, the branched fertile fronds pendant and often very long.  Plantlets are not formed as in Platycerium bifurcatum.  [RHSD, Hortus, FNSW].

Added on February 11 2009

Strobilanthes glomeratus T.Anders.

Frost tender, evergreen shrub with much branched stems, crenate, ovate leaves, hairy on the upper side, and scattered heads of very large deep blue-purple flowers in autumn.  To 1.2m.  [RHSD].

Added on February 22 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


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

Rambles in New Zealand - Part 4

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 - 02:37 PM | Last updated Mar 16, 2015 - 02:13 PM

Camellias at Camden Park

Most of the camellias grown at Camden Park are cultivars of Camellia japonica L., the ‘Common camellia’, a native of China, Korea and Japan.  The first plant introduced to Britain in 1739, and figured in Curtis's Botanical Magazine [BM t.42/1788], is close to the wild type.  It bears single red flowers in early spring but is rarely planted now and was not grown at Camden Park.  William Macarthur was an important breeder of camellias and many of the cultivars described in the Hortus were bred by him.  Unfortunately few of these have survived.  

Published Mar 13, 2010 - 02:43 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:46 PM

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 - 03:41 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 05:30 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.