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

Dendrobium ruscifolium [Macarthur]

Unidentified species, no description.

Added on January 25 2010

Rosa arvensis Willd. var. flore pleno

Rosa arvensis flore pleno is most likely a double, so-called Ayrshire form of the ‘Field Rose’, although from the information provided it is not possible to identify it further.  ‘Branches four or five yards long when led over a trellis, and therefore well suited for covering arbours, smooth, but armed here and there with hooked prickles.  Leaves generally consisting of five, sometimes only three, very rarely seven leaflets, which are ovate, acute, sharply serrate, the terminal one larger than the rest: petiole armed with a few curved prickles, otherwise smooth.  Stipules semisagittate conjoined.  Flowers in terminal corymbs.  Peduncles covered with glandular hairs, with two or three lanceolate, entire, pellucid bractes at the base of each.  Germen oval, smooth; segments of the calyx entire, awned, a little hairy.  Petals white, obcordate.  In these characters we cannot find any thing to distinguish this plant from Rosa arvensis; the extraordinary length of the branches being probably solely owing to culture.  It has been known some years in our Nurseries, under the name of the Ayrshire Rose, but upon what grounds it has been so called is difficult to say, for upon the strictest enquiry, as we are informed by Sir Joseph Banks, no Rose of the kind could be heard of there or in any part of Scotland.’  [BM t.2054/1819].  The double field rose is probably very similar to Rosa arvensis ‘Splendens’, still available today.  This is a vigorous climber with dark green leaves and purple-red buds opening to loosely-formed, cupped, double, myrrh-scented, pale creamy-pink flowers in summer.  

Added on February 18 2009

Cyclamen persicum Mill.

Frost-tender tuberous perennial with heart-shaped leaves, often silver-marbled above and sweet-scented pink, red or white flowers on slender stems in winter and spring.  To 20cm.  The variety giganteum has larger flowers and includes the numerous varieties of florist’s cinerareas available today.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on January 18 2009

Pyrus communis ‘Élisa d’Heyst’

‘Fruit above medium size, large irregular-oval, widest in the middle and tapering towards the eye and the stalk. Skin smooth and shining, yellowish-green, clouded with russet about the stalk, and covered with russet dots. Eye closed, set in a deep, irregular basin. Stalk half an inch long, stout, and inserted without depression. Flesh melting, juicy, sugary, and richly flavoured. Ripe in February and March.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.185/1860].



Added on May 20 2010

Fuchsia Story’s ‘Queen Victoria’

Story’s ‘Queen Victoria’ had ‘splendid wide sepals, beautifully reflexed, of a bright scarlet crimson, and a lovely clear white corolla.’  Advertisement from Messrs. E. G. Henderson & Son.  [Gard. Chron. 1855].  

Added on August 19 2009

Ixia ‘Thisbe’

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

Added on November 10 2009

Ixia paniculata D.Delaroche

Half-hardy cormous perennial with erect lance-shaped leaves and branched stems bearing spikes of 5-18 pink-suffused, cream or pale yellow flowers in spring and summer.  To 90cm.  [RHSE, CECB].  

Added on November 14 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


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

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

Rambles in New Zealand - Part 1

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 - 08:45 AM | Last updated Feb 29, 2012 - 03:08 PM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 5: Management and Replenishment of the Vineyard

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters VII and VIII deal with the management of the vineyard after planting, the use of manures and the replenishment of an exhausted vineyard. The illustration used here is Macarthur’s Plate 2, a section of a vineyard. This is referred to in detail in Part 4, however it does illustrate the method of vine culture recommended and described here, the dwarf-standard method which at this time was practiced mostly in the north of France.

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 09, 2010 - 05:49 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:15 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.