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

Begonia fischeri Otto & A.Dietr.

This may be the plant referred to as Begonia Fischeri by Macarthur.  It was reportedly grown largely for its very ornamental leaves, which are pinkish when young, with a silvery lustre which persists in the old leaves, which turn a delicate yellowish green.  [BM t.3532/1836]. 

Added on January 16 2009

Camellia japonica ‘Clara’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. Camden Park bred, seedling 23/50.  ‘Said to be like Coccinea and good.’  William Macarthur.  [MP A2948-6].  

Added on June 21 2009

Ixia ‘Dido’

Hybrid Ixia of unknown parentage.  Probably bred at Camden Park but no description is extant.

Added on November 10 2009

Gethylus species unidentified

An unidentified species of Gethylus or related genus.  Gethylus is a genus of about 32 species of deciduous, bulbous perennials from southern Africa.  Summer flowering, the flowers are usually quite simple, cream or pale to deep pink, usually scented, with a long, cylindrical, slender perianth tube and 6 spreading tepals, narrowly to broadly lanceolate.  The flowers are usually followed by the strap-shaped leaves which are often spiralling.  [CECB].

The illustration used here is Gethyllus spiralis (Thunb.) Thunb.

Added on May 08 2009

Juniperus virginiana L.

Fully-hardy, evergreen conical or columnar tree with spreading branches, peeling bark, pointed, wedge-shaped juvenile leaves, diamond-shaped, scale-like adult leaves, and ovoid, brownish fruit ripening in the first year.  To 30m.  There are numerous garden forms.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Added on August 03 2009

Rosa ‘Gloire de Dijon’

A Tea rose.  According to William Paul ‘Gloire de Dijon stands unrivalled and alone’.  Flowers yellow, faun and salmon, large, full and globular.  Very hardy, it apparently withstood the very severe frosts of 1860-61 in England, when most other roses were killed.  [Paul (1863, 1888, 1903), Rivers (1854, 1857, 1863), Amat].  ‘In its foliage, habit and shape, and size of its flowers, it is almost an exact resemblance of the Bourbon Rose ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’, and, like that fine Rose, it requires dry warm weather to open its flowers to perfection.  Its perfume is Tea-like and powerful, and in colour it is quite unique, being tinted with fawn, salmon and rose, and difficult to describe’.  Thomas Rivers, in The Gardeners’ Chronicle, 1854.


Added on February 12 2010

Cyclamen hederifolium Ait.

Fully hardy tuberous perennial with heart-shaped leaves, very variably patterned, usually paler beneath, to 15cm long, and pink flowers with deep maroon markings, to 2.5cm long.  To 15cm.  Many garden forms and hybrids exist.  [RHSE, Hortus]. 

Added on January 18 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


Camden Park Roses

Roses were very important to the Camden Park gardens, 297 are listed in the Hortus, substantially more than the next largest genus, Camellia with 140 plants.  This brief review summarises the major types of rose grown and discusses the change in profile of roses over the decades from 1843 to 1861. 

Published Feb 13, 2010 - 03:27 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 11:02 AM

The Family Amaryllidaceae at Camden Park

Amaryllidaceae was a very significant family of plants in the history of the Camden Park gardens.  The following Essay provides a little background to these important plants.

Published Jan 01, 2010 - 05:11 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:54 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

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

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.