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

Nerium oleander ‘Splendens Grandiflorum’

A cultivar of Nerium oleander L. Described by Macarthur as a very bright pink or blush, and presumably with a larger flower. See Nerium oleander ‘Albo Pleno’ for more information on this plant.


Added on June 03 2009

Rosa ‘Triomphe d’Avranches’

Hybrid perpetual.  ‘Triomphe d’Avranches’ has bright red, very large, globular and full flowers, on a dwarf shrub.  It was among the handful of roses, among 70 or 80 new imported varieties that bloomed well at Paul’s Nursery in 1856.  [Paul 1863, GC p.788/1856].


Added on February 12 2010

Erica pinea Thunb.

Half-hardy, erect, much branched heath, leaves in whorls of 6, and tubular green-yellow flowers spreading in dense clusters near the ends of branches.  To 1.5m.  [RHSD]. 

Added on January 09 2009

Malope trifida Cav.

Fully hardy, erect, somewhat branching annual with broadly trumpet-shaped, heavily veined pale to dark purple-red flowers from summer to autumn.  To 90cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on February 01 2009

Rhododendron ‘Victoria’

It is likely that more than one English hybrid or cultivar was called ‘Victoria’ or similar.  For example Rhododendron ‘Victoria Reginae’ was exhibited at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society on April 19th, 1889.  [Wilson & Rehder p.99].  The authors suggest that this hybrid belongs to a group of hybrids raised by William Smith of Norbiton in 1842 between a hardy Rhododendron seedling and Azalea [Rhododendron] sinensis Sweet, called at the time Rhododendron Smithii or Rhododendron x Smithii, or alternatively that the parentage is ‘a yellow form of the Chinese Azalea and Rhododendron caucasicum, the latter of which it resembles in habit.’  [Robinson, Fl. and Sylva II, 152/1904,  quoted in Wilson & Rehder loc cit].  If this association is correct then ‘Victoria Reginae’ could be synonymous with Macarthur’s ‘Victoria’.  I have found no specific description of ‘Victoria’.  Rhododendron x Smithii aureum is figured in Paxton’s Magazine of Botany [MB p.79/1842].


Added on June 19 2009

Lophospermum scandens D.Don

Frost tender evergreen perennial climber, deciduous in cool climates, with slightly hairy leaves and trumpet-shaped flowers with rose-purple corolla and white tube, in summer and autumn.  To 3m or more.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on September 24 2009

Mimulus varieties unidentified

These are probably varieties or hybrids of Mimulus luteus L. which see.  The illustration shows a selection of such plants available in 1864.

Added on April 23 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


Rambles in New Zealand - Part 2

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 - 12:18 PM | Last updated Mar 01, 2012 - 07:02 AM

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

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

Edmund Blake - Gardener

Edmund Blake is important in the history of Camden Park gardens, where he was employed as a gardener from 1837 until probably at least 1867.  William Macarthur named three hybrid plants in his honour, Passiflora  ‘Blakei’, Gladiolus ‘Blakei’ and Erythrina ‘Blakei, testament to the high regard in which he was held.  Erythrina ‘Blakei’ has survived to this day. It is a magnificent shrub worthy of a place in any large garden.

Published Apr 03, 2010 - 03:35 PM | Last updated Aug 14, 2012 - 04:55 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.