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

Pyrus communis ‘Nouvelle Fulvie’

‘Fruit large or very large, pyramidal-pyriform, strongly bossed, lemon-yellow when ripe, colored with vivid red on the side exposed to the sun, marked and dotted with russet; flesh yellowish-white, very fine, melting, buttery; juice very abundant, sugary, having an exquisite perfume; good; Nov. to Feb.’ [Pears of New York p.483 as ‘Nouvelle Fulvie’].


Added on May 20 2010

Iris vulgaris Pohl

Iris vulgaris is now recognized as a form of Iris germanica L. which see.  According to Dykes in England the commonest, or ‘vulgar’, form of Iris germanica has blue-purple standards and falls of a slightly redder shade.  Iris germanica is somewhat variable and the form grown by Macarthur as Iris vulgaris was probably recognisably different to the plant he grew as Iris germanica.  For this reason they have been treated separately in the Hortus.

Added on November 08 2009

Filipendula ulmaria (L.) Maxim.

Fully-hardy, clump-forming perennial with leafy stems bearing irregularly pinnate leaves with terminal leaflets to 10cm across, and dense corymbs, to 25cm across, of creamy-white flowers in summer.  To 90cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on February 06 2010

Hemerocallis flava L. var. florepleno

See Hemerocallis flava L. for a description of the species.  Double-flowered forms have been available for centuries.


Added on January 07 2010

Corylus avellana ‘Cob Nut’

A cultivar of Corylus avellana L. ‘Husk hairy, shorter than the nut, and much frizzled. Nut large, obtusely ovate. Shell of a light brown colour, rather thick. Kernel large. A good nut for early use, but does not keep well.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.131/1860].


Added on April 25 2010

Prunus persica ‘Royal’

A Prunus persica (L.) Batsch. cultivar. ‘Flowers small, pale red. Fruit large, 10 or 11 inches in circumference, of a roundish figure, rather inclining to oval. Suture deep, having the flesh swelled boldly and equally on both sides, with a slight depression on the summit, where there is usually a small, pointed nipple. Skin pale green or yellowish next the wall; but of a pale red, marbled and streaked with darker shades on the sunny side, cavity of the base rather small, flesh delicate, melting, of a greenish white, but red at the stone, from which it separates. Juice plentiful, and, in a warm season, highly flavoured. Ripe the end of September.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.260/1831].


Added on June 03 2010

Camellia japonica ‘Clymene’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. Camden Park bred, seedling 15/50.  ‘Scarlet crimson, outer petals large and good, inner similar and crowded.  Good.’ William Macarthur.  [MP A2948-6].  

Added on June 21 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


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

Thomas Harris (1885-1948)

Thomas Harris, born in Worcestershire in 1885, was a gardener at Camden Park from 1913 to 1938.

Published Aug 16, 2012 - 11:09 AM | Last updated Aug 16, 2012 - 12:09 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 - 09:50 AM | Last updated Jun 24, 2011 - 02:45 PM

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.