Notice

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

Pinus engelmannii Carrière

Fully-hardy, large tree with rough, dark grey to dark brown, deeply fissured bark, stout shoots, and heavy, ovoid cones, to 18cm.  To 35m.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on July 21 2009

Prunus armeniaca ‘Bidwill’s seedling’

A cultivar of Prunus armeniaca L. I have found no further information on this apricot. 

 

Added on April 20 2010

Paphiopedilum barbatum (Lindl.) Pfitzer

Frost tender ground orchid with oblong, light green leaves blotched and spotted with dark green markings, and solitary, whitish ladies’ slipper flowers striped and flushed with purple, in summer.  [RHSD].

Added on January 24 2010

Clerodendrum splendens G.Don ex James

Frost tender, twining, evergreen climber with opposite, elliptic, entire leaves and dense terminal panicles of salverform, bright scarlet flowers in summer.  To 3m or more.  [RHSE].

Added on February 15 2010

Cupressus lusitanica Mill.

Conical to columnar conifer with brown bark, shallowly fissured in spirals, with small blue-green leaves in spreading sprays, and spherical, shiny brown female cones, to 1.5cm across.  To 20m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Added on August 01 2009

Rhododendron arboreum Sm.

Evergreen tree with lance-shaped, wrinkled leaves, to 19cm long, with dense trusses of tubular-bell-shaped, red, pink or white flowers, to 5cm long, with black spots inside, in spring.  To 12m by 4m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers', Millais].

Added on June 18 2009

Prunus domestica ‘Early Perdrigon’

A Prunus domestica L. cultivar. ‘Fruit, medium sized; roundish oval. Skin, purple. Flesh, rich, juicy, and excellent, separating from the stone. A first-rate dessert plum; ripe in the middle of August. The tree is very hardy, and an abundant bearer. Shoots, downy. This is not the same as Perdrigon Hâtif and Moyeu de Bourgogne with which it is made synonymous in the Horticultural Society's Catalogue, both of these being yellow plums.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.717/1884 as ‘Perdrigon Violet Hâtif’]. 

Added on May 27 2010

News

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

Essays

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 - 12:56 PM | Last updated Jul 26, 2011 - 04:59 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

Colonial Australian Wines

The following article appeared in The Gardeners’ Chronicle of Saturday, November 25th, 1854. It includes a review of seven wines sent to the proprietors of The Gardeners’ Chronicle from Camden Park by William Macarthur, together with his notes on the wines, the vineyards in which they were produced and the economic conditions pertaining to wine production and sale in Australia. Macarthur’s brief notes, when read with the more detailed essay Some Account of the Vineyards at Camden, extends our knowledge of wine production at Camden but most importantly provides an external (but not necessarily unbiased) view of the quality of the wines.

Published Jun 30, 2011 - 02:12 PM | Last updated Jul 04, 2011 - 09:00 AM

A Brief History of the Camden Park Gardens

William Macarthur, born at Parramatta, New South Wales in 1800, was the youngest son of the colonial pioneers John and Elizabeth Macarthur. He became an accomplished agronomist, horticulturist, viticulturist and gardener, but above all he was a plantsman. Although he certainly sought to create a pleasant gentleman’s garden at Camden his real interest was in growing useful, unusual, exotic and beautiful plants for their own sake as well as for their utility. He established his first garden at Camden in 1820. More than 3000 species, hybrids and cultivars were grown in the gardens up to 1861, all of them described in the Hortus. Many more were grown in the succeeding decades. Of course not all of these plants succeeded at Camden. William was an innovator and put much energy into determining which plants could be acclimatised and which could not and he became an authority on the subject, his expertise sought by such bodies as the Queensland Acclimatisation Society, founded in 1862.

The historic value of the Camden Park gardens is almost inestimable.  Many changes have occurred in the gardens in the almost 200 years since they were first laid out, but the basic framework of the gardens remains with many historically significant trees and shrubs surviving. Over the years the diversity of plants in the gardens has naturally diminished. This has occurred mainly since World War II, partly due to a lack of labour to maintain and replace the more sensitive species and varieties. The economic conditions of today make it very difficult to manage extensive private gardens but John and Edwina Macarthur-Stanham, the present owners, have done much to halt and reverse the post-war decline, and there is a very real desire on the part of the family to maintain and develop the gardens.

Published Jun 27, 2010 - 02:25 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 02:33 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

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.