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

Indigofera decora Lindl.

Frost-hardy, spreading deciduous shrub with arching branches, pinnate leaves, to 20cm long, composed of 7-13, narrow leaflets, and erect racemes, to 20cm long, of pea-like white flowers, suffused with crimson, to 2cm across, in summer.  To 60cm.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Added on December 23 2009

Podalyria sericea R.Br.

Frost-tender spreading shrub with obovate leaves, to 2cm long, covered with silvery hairs ageing to gold, and solitary, fragrant, pea-like lavender–blue to lavender-pink flowers, to 1cm across, from autumn to spring.  To 90cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on December 24 2009

Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A.Webb

A deciduous tree, bushy when old, with toothed, lance-shaped leaves, rose-coloured or almost white flowers, solitary or paired, the fruit a hard, green drupe enclosing the smooth stone containing the edible seed. To 8m. [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Added on June 04 2010

Campanula medium L. var. alba

See Campanula medium L.  Alba is a naturally occurring white flowered form.

Added on September 28 2009

Prunus persica ‘Grosse Mignonne’

A Prunus persica (L.) Batsch. cultivar. ‘Fruit large, depressed, hollowed at the summit, with a moderately deep suture, and swelled considerably on one of its sides, and a wide cavity at the base; the side marked by the suture is shorter than the opposite one. Skin rather thinly clad with down, of a rich, very deep red, next the sun, thickly mottled on a yellowish ground next the wall. Flesh pale yellow, rayed with red at the stone, from which it freely separates; melting, juicy, with a rich vinous flavour. Stone small for the size of the fruit, ovate, very rugged. Ripe the beginning and middle of September.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.259/1831].

 

Added on June 03 2010

Yucca glauca Nutt.

Stemless or short-stemmed yucca with a horizontal rosette, to 1.2m across of narrow, pointed, glaucous leaves.  The flowers are greenish-white, pendulous, in an erect raceme to 1.5 m high.  [RHSD, Hortus]. 

Added on January 22 2009

Rhododendron indicum ‘Cleopatra’

A cultivar of Rhododendron indicum Sweet. This azalea is listed as good garden varieties by later editions of Paxton's Dictionary but without description.  I have found no other description.

Added on June 07 2009

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 - 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

Essays

Some Account of the Vineyards at Camden

The vineyards of Camden Park are widely considered to be the first commercial vineyards in Australia. James and William Macarthur were certainly not the first to sell wine for profit or the first to export wine but were pioneers in the development of vineyards intended to produce a profit from the sale of quality wine. Prior to this wine was produced from small vineyards planted primarily for home consumption, with excess sold and sometimes exported.

The first vineyard was small, only one acre in extent, and largely experimental, but the second and third were on a much grander scale. As the closing words of this pamphlet demonstrate, James and William certainly had a vision of what was possible for Australian wine production, as they had previously for fine Merino wool.

‘Whether these Colonies can also hope to provide for the benefit of every class here at home, and at an equally moderate rate another exportable product, remains yet to be seen — so that even the tired artizan, in his hours of relaxation from toil, may not unseldom exclaim, “Go Fetch me a quart of (Australian) Sack.” ’

This short pamphlet outlining the Camden vineyards was produced to accompany samples of wine to the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851.

Published Jan 10, 2011 - 04:54 PM | Last updated Jan 10, 2011 - 05:07 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

“The Blight” and the Camden Vineyards

Although the general heading of this collection of essays is ‘William Macarthur on Winemaking’ the two letters and two editorials from the Sydney Herald reproduced here are not from William’s pen. They concern the vine blight and its possible causes but also give an interesting perspective on the vineyards at Camden Park and on the esteem with which the Macarthur’s, particularly William, were held as vine growers as early as 1831. This makes them a worthwhile contribution to the story of the Camden Park wineries.

Published Jul 11, 2011 - 12:27 PM | Last updated Jul 17, 2011 - 05:31 PM

Raising Tropaeolum tricolor from seed

If you have tried growing Tropaeolum tricolor from seed you have probably encountered difficulty and obtained a low germination rate.  This was certainly my experience before I took this advice.

Published Jan 01, 2010 - 03:33 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 03:38 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.