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

Ceanothus divaricatus Nutt.

Frost hardy, evergreen shrub with smooth, pale bark, wide spreading, rigid branches, and clusters of pale blue or white flowers in spring or early summer.  To 4m.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on March 04 2009

Podocarpus totara G.Benn. ex D.Don

Half-hardy evergreen tree with leathery, sharply-pointed, yellowish leaves, scattered or two-ranked, to 2.5cm long, and reddish fruit.  To about 20m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers’]. 

Added on January 25 2009

Penstemon angustifolius Nutt. ex Pursh

Herbaceous perennial with linear to lance-shaped leaves and clusters of white, blue, lilac to pink flowers.  To 30cm.  [RHSD, Hortus].  The flowers in the accompanying illustration from Loddiges’ Botanical Cabinet are bright red but seem to be otherwise accurately depicted.

Added on September 24 2009

Geissorhiza tulbaghensis F.Bolus

Frost hardy upright cormous perennial with thread-like basal leaves, to 15cm long, and one- or two-flowered spikes of whitish flowers with a white-ringed, dark brown to purple centre, to 4.5mm long, in spring.  To 15cm.  [RHSE, CECB].  

Added on October 20 2009

Anemone hupehensis (Thunb.) Bowles & Stearn var. japonica

Fully-hardy, vigorous, erect, woody-based, suckering perennial with branched stems bearing umbels of semi-double flowers varying in colour from bright purple, almost scarlet, through mauve, to rose-pink and white, from late summer to autumn.  To 90cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].  Anemone x hybrida, a hybrid between A. hupehensis var. japonica and A. vitifolia, very similar and also known as ‘Japanese anemone’, is more common in gardens today.  [RHSE]. 

Added on January 26 2009

Hippeastrum splendido-pulverelentum

Hippeastrum x splendens Herb. x Hippeastrum striatum (Lam.) H.E.Moore hybrid.  No description of Macarthur’s plant is extant.

Added on May 10 2009

Angelonia angustifolia Benth.

Frost tender perennial sub-shrub with lance-shaped leaves, to 8cm, and slender racemes of deep mauve to violet flowers in early summer.  To 45cm.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on February 22 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


Colonial Australian Wines

The following article appeared in The Gardeners’ Chronicle of Saturday, November 25th, 1854. It includes a review of seven wines sent to the proprietors of The Gardeners’ Chronicle from Camden Park by William Macarthur, together with his notes on the wines, the vineyards in which they were produced and the economic conditions pertaining to wine production and sale in Australia. Macarthur’s brief notes, when read with the more detailed essay Some Account of the Vineyards at Camden, extends our knowledge of wine production at Camden but most importantly provides an external (but not necessarily unbiased) view of the quality of the wines.

Published Jun 30, 2011 - 02:12 PM | Last updated Jul 04, 2011 - 09:00 AM

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

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.” ’

Published Aug 25, 2010 - 05:34 PM | Last updated Aug 25, 2010 - 05:51 PM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine. Part 1: Introduction

‘Letters’ is an important book in the history of wine production in Australia and this is, I believe, the first time that the full text has been made available outside the major libraries. The value of William Macarthur’s book compared with earlier Colonial publications is that it is written from the perspective of over twenty years of experience of growing grapes and making wine in New South Wales. He does include theory from the pens of European authorities but the bulk of the book is written from personal experience. He is in effect saying ‘this is what we have found to work here’.

‘Letters’ is reproduced in 10 parts, beginning with the Introduction, which provides information on the history of the book and gives a synopsis of early experiences of vine importation and wine production.

Published Aug 27, 2010 - 05:50 PM | Last updated Nov 24, 2011 - 02:57 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.