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

Mirabilis jalapa L.

Borderline frost hardy, tuberous-rooted, bushy perennial with fragrant red, pink, yellow or white flowers opening in the late afternoon from early to late summer.  To 60cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on February 11 2009

Quercus rugosa N

Small to moderate sized evergreen tree or shrub with scaly bark and large leaves, to 10cm long, serrated towards the end.  

Added on February 03 2010

Salix fragilis L. var. russelliana

A large tree with wide-spreading branches, rugged bark and brittle twigs. the slender catkins appear with the leaves in spring.  To 25m.  It commonly grows with Salix alba L. and hybrids between the two occur naturally.  Intermediate between the parents they are called Salix x rubens Hort.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Added on March 26 2010

Prunus domestica L.

Deciduous tree, occasionally spiny, with elliptic or oblong leaves, the flowers white with up to four in a cluster, followed by a pendant oval fruit, from yellow to dark blue in colour, the flesh edible, green, reddish or yellow, with an almost smooth stone. To 12m. [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on May 27 2010

Oxalis pes-caprae L.

Frost-hardy perennial with erect to spreading and crowded, succulent leaves, consisting of 3, bilobed leaflets, usually covered with brown spots, and umbels of up to 20, drooping, bright yellow flowers, to 2.5cm across, in spring and summer.  To 30cm.  Mainly winter flowering and summer dormant in the Camden area.  [RHSD, FNSW, Beadle].  

Added on January 28 2010

Primula vulgaris ‘Plena Violacea’

See Primula vulgaris Huds.  ‘Plena Violacea’ is a double lilac or violet form.  [JD, PD].

Added on October 14 2009

Graptophyllum pictum (L.) Griff.

Frost tender, sparsely branched, erect shrub with elliptic leaves, veined or marked yellow, or entirely suffused deep purple, and short racemes, to 8cm long, of crimson to purple flowers with inflated throats, to 8cm long, in summer.  To 2m.  [RHSE].

Added on February 22 2010


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


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 - 04:11 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:54 PM

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 - 03:54 PM | Last updated Jan 10, 2011 - 04:07 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

Rambles in New Zealand - part 3

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 - 01:11 PM | Last updated Mar 01, 2012 - 06:02 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.