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

Pandorea jasminoides (Lindl.) K. Schum. var. alba

See Pandorea jasminoides (Lindl.) K. Schum. for discussion of the species.  The variety alba has pure white, somewhat larger flowers.  [RHSE].  There are a number of named cultivars.

Added on February 25 2010

Anthyllis barba-jovis L.

Frost-hardy, evergreen perennial shrub with pinnate, silvery leaves, with up to 17 leaflets, and dense racemes of pale yellow flowers in summer.  To 3m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Added on November 22 2009

Penstemon procerus Dougl. ex Graham

Fully hardy, erect perennial with lance-shaped leaves and narrow spikes of small, purplish-blue flowers in summer.  To 30cm.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on September 24 2009

Camellia japonica ‘Imbricata’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L., ‘Imbricata’ has formal double, carmine rose flowers, often with central petals streaked white.  The name ‘Imbricata’ refers to the way that the petals are formally arranged, overlapping each other, like the tiles of a roof.  [ICR].  ‘Bud, spherical, rather large, scales greenish; flower large, perfectly round, of a cherry-red, No.2; shaded with carmine-lake; petals from 70-75, regularly imbricated, oval, broad, terminating in a point at the summit; those of the centre a little striped, or marked with white; is a long time in bloom.-Magnificent.’  [Berlèse Monography p.64/1838].  Under the name ‘Imbricata rubra’ it is still available.  [Hilliers’].  

Added on June 27 2009

Polygala oppositifolia Thunb. var. cordifolia

Half hardy evergreen shrub with opposite, heart-shaped leaves and terminal racemes of purple flowers with a yellowish-green keel, in spring.  To 1m.  The leaves of cordifolia are larger and more heart-shaped than the type.  [RHSD].

Added on March 22 2009

Mimosa sensitiva L.

A frost-tender, prickly, semi-climbing, evergreen shrub with sensitive stems and leaves composed of 2 unequal pinnae, and purple flowers in summer.  Sensitive to touch.  To 2m.  [RHSD].

Added on December 23 2009

Gladiolus ‘Albert’

Camden Park hybrid.  Gladiolus x colvilli x Gladiolus x gandavensis hybrid.  Hybrid no.2 of a cross between Gladiolus x colvilli and G. gandavensis.  ‘Flowered first time in early 1846.  Large well shaped flowers, colour crimson scarlet with dark crimson blotches on the lower lobes.  Robust branching scape, 3-4 feet high with numerous flowers.  Not equal to “Hero” but very handsome.’  Fairly productive, by 1848 it had produced 7 large roots and 40 offsets.  [MP A2948-5].  It was referred to by Emily Macarthur in a letter to William, probably November 1848: ‘The gladiolus bed is thriving – “Priam” very handsome, “Prince of Orange” and “Albert” open – the latter comes next in beauty to “Priam”.’

Added on October 20 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

Establishing an Orchard in Colonial Australia

Every Colonial gentleman with a household to maintain needed to keep an orchard of sufficient size to meet the needs of his kitchen and dining table at all times of the year. In 19th century Australia planting trees was an almost entirely manual operation, and establishing an orchard an expensive undertaking. William Macarthur developed a thriving and profitable nursery business in the 1840s, with an extensive and varied catalogue of plants for sale but heavily dependent on trees and shrubs, particularly fruit-bearing trees such as vines, oranges, apples, pears, plums, peaches and apricots. It was in the interests of Macarthur to ensure that the plants he sold were of high quality and that when received by the customer his plants not only survived but thrived and were productive. To this end he published a brief but detailed guide to what needed to be done to ensure that the planting of trees was as successful as possible and provided the best long-term results for his customers.

Published Jun 26, 2010 - 04:30 PM | Last updated Jun 26, 2010 - 04:36 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

Edmund Blake - Gardener

Edmund Blake is important in the history of Camden Park gardens, where he was employed as a gardener from 1837 until probably at least 1867.  William Macarthur named three hybrid plants in his honour, Passiflora  ‘Blakei’, Gladiolus ‘Blakei’ and Erythrina ‘Blakei, testament to the high regard in which he was held.  Erythrina ‘Blakei’ has survived to this day. It is a magnificent shrub worthy of a place in any large garden.

Published Apr 03, 2010 - 03:35 PM | Last updated Aug 14, 2012 - 04:55 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.