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

Lonicera sempervirens L.

Fully hardy, woody, deciduous or evergreen, twining climber with paired, oval leaves, to 7cm long, and terminal whorls of tubular, rich scarlet-orange flowers, yellowish inside, to 5cm long, in summer and autumn, followed by red berries.  To 4m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on July 08 2009

Romulea rosea (L.) Eck.

Cormous perennial with 3-6 narrow basal leaves, grooved and very tough, and pink or white flowers with a yellow throat.  Leaves to 15cm, flowers much shorter.  [Hortus].

Added on November 16 2009

Antirrhinum majus ‘Purpureum’

See Antirrhinum majus L. for a description, ‘Purpureum’ has purplish-red flowers.

Added on September 24 2009

Allamanda cathartica L.

Frost-tender, vigorous, evergreen climber with whorls of 3-4 lance-shaped leaves and axillary and terminal cymes of golden-yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers from summer to autumn.  To 16m.  [RHSE, Hortus]. 

Added on January 15 2009

Pyrus communis ‘Beurré Clairgeau’

‘Fruit large, curved-pyriform. Skin smooth and shining, of a fine lemon-yellow colour, and with a tinge of orange-red on the side next the sun; it is thickly covered all over with large russety dots and patches of thin delicate russet, particularly round the stalk. Eye small and open, level with the surface. Stalk half an inch long, stout, and rather fleshy, with a swollen lip on one side of it. Flesh white, crisp or half-melting, coarse-grained, juicy, sweet, and slightly musky. A handsome and showy pear, ripe in November. Its appearance is its greatest recommendation.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.161/1860].


Added on May 19 2010

Oenothera fruticosa L. subsp. glauca (Michx.) Standl.

Fully hardy, erect perennial or biennial with light yellow saucer- to cup-shaped flowers opening during the day from late spring to late summer.  To 90cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on October 12 2009

Aquilegia glandulosa Fisch. var. grandiflora

For a description of the species see Aquilegia glandulosa Fisch.  Probably similar to the variety major, a larger form with blue and white flowers.  [Hortus].

Added on February 03 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 4

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 - 02:37 PM | Last updated Mar 16, 2015 - 02:13 PM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 6: The Vintage

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters IX, X and XI deal with the vintage, including the theory and practice of fermentation and preparation for winemaking. The process of winemaking is dealt with in more detail in subsequent letters. The illustration used here is a wine label from the 1852 Muscat vintage. Follow this link to further examples of wine labels from this period.

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 15, 2010 - 03:53 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:15 AM

A Few Words on Gesneraceous Plants

The family Gesnereaceae was an important contributor to the diversity of the colonial garden of Camden Park, with 97 plants described in the Hortus, mainly from the genera Achimenes and Sinningia. This short article provides a good overview of the history of Gesneriads as garden plants, and some very useful advice on their culture. Unfortunately I have lost the source reference, but the content suggests that it was written for an Australian colonial readership. The article is simply signed L.W.

Published Jun 26, 2010 - 03:01 PM | Last updated Jun 26, 2010 - 03:19 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

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.