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

Oenothera tetraptera Cav.

Frost tender perennial with branching stems and lance-shaped, somewhat pinnatifid leaves, to 9cm, and white flowers, ageing to red, in summer and autumn.  To 30cm.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on October 13 2009

Iris lutescens Lam.

Very variable, hardy, rhizomatous, dwarf bearded iris with nearly straight leaves and erect, branched stems bearing 1 or 2 violet, yellow, bicoloured or, rarely white flowers with yellow beards, in spring.  To 30cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].  

Added on November 04 2009

Thysanotus juncifolius (Salisb.) J.H.Willis & Court

Frost-hardy herbaceous plant with rush-like foliage and a slender, loosely branched inflorescence of a few purple, fringed flowers in spring and summer.  [RHSD, FNSW, Beadle].

Added on January 10 2010

Pyrus communis ‘Morel’

Probably the pear ‘Morel’. ‘Fruit about medium sized, obovate. Skin yellow, thickly freckled with large russet spots. Eye half open, not depressed. Stalk an inch and a quarter long, stout. Flesh yellowish-white, crisp, juicy, and sweet, with an agreeable flavour. This in colour and flavour is like Hessle, but ripens in April, and is a good variety for that late season.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.201/1860].


Added on May 20 2010

Matthiola incana ‘Autumnal Stock’

A cultivar of Matthiola incana (L.) R.Br. See Matthiola incana 'Dwarf Stock' for a brief description of the type.  Probably a form of Ten-week stock, flowering late in the year from spring sown seed.  Today there are several forms, dwarf, bushy and tall.  Robinson classifies these as Intermediate stocks and gives their origin as Mattthiola sinuata.  [Robinson - The English Flower Garden and Home Grounds 10th Edition, p.680/1907].

Added on October 02 2009

Clivia nobilis Lindl.

Rhizomatous perennial, easily distinguished from the common Clivia miniata by its longer, narrower strap-shaped leaves and umbels of 40-60 semi-pendant tubular red and yellow flowers, tipped with green, in spring, the scapes 40cm or more in height.  [RHSE, Hortus].  

Added on April 25 2009

Nopalxochia phyllanthoides (DC.) Britt. & Rose

Frost tender, semi-erect perennial cactus with strap-shaped, scalloped, deep green stems and pink to red flowers.  To 45cm.  [RHSE].

Added on March 02 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 - 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


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 - 04:54 PM | Last updated Jan 10, 2011 - 05:07 PM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 3: Grape Varieties and Diseases

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters III and IV deal with grape varieties found suitable for New South Wales, and diseases of the vine.

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 01, 2010 - 05:24 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:16 AM

Rambles in New Zealand - Part 2

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 - 12:18 PM | Last updated Mar 01, 2012 - 07:02 AM

Florists’ flowers

Floristry, in the 17th, 18th and 19th century meaning of the word, the growing and improvement of flowering plants for the sake of their beauty alone, has a long history in China and Asia but is of relatively recent origin in Europe.  From quite humble beginnings, the small scale leisure activity of artisans and labourers, it attracted the attention of the owners of the great pleasure gardens and botanic gardens of Europe.  Specialised nurseries began to appear to service great and small gardens, providing a means of disseminating the beautiful new varieties which the nurseries were both breeding and obtaining from enthusiastic amateurs.

Published Mar 12, 2010 - 03:41 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 05:30 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.