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

Rosa banksiae R.Br. var. banksiae

Gore describes its flowers as extremely small, very double, white, scented with violets.  Almost certainly synonymous with Paul’s White Banksian rose.  [Gore, Paul (1848, 1863, 1888, 1903), Rivers (1854, 1857, 1863), BR f.397/1819, Amat].  

Added on February 11 2010

Tritonia deusta (Ait.) Ker-Gawl.

Cormous perennial with up to eight, lance-shaped leaves, and stems, to 50cm, sometimes 1-2 branched, bearing several regular, cup-shaped bright orange-red to orange-salmon flowers, in spring.  It differs from Tritonia crocata mainly in having purple-black blotches on the haft of the three outer lobes.  [RHSD, CECB, Grey].

Added on November 18 2009

Pyrus communis ‘Grey Doyenné’

‘Fruit medium sized, obovate. Skin yellowish-green, but entirely covered with thin, smooth, cinnamon-coloured russet, and sometimes with a brownish-red tinge on the side next the sun. Eye small and closed, set in a narrow depression. Stalk three quarters of an inch long, inserted in a narrow, rather deep cavity. Flesh white, tender, melting, very juicy, sugary, and vinous. A first-rate hardy pear. Ripe in the end of October.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.207/1860].


Added on May 20 2010

Watsonia humilis Mill.

Cormous perennial with sword-shaped leaves and usually unbranched spikes of up to 12 tubular flowers, white with pink outside or pink with darker pink outside, in spring or summer.  To 30cm.  [RHSE, CECB].  

Added on November 18 2009

Boronia anemonifolia A.Cunn.

Bushy shrub with downy shoots, pinnate leaves with three, sometimes five leaflets, usually tinged with brown or yellow, and usually paired, pale pink to white flowers in the axils of the upper leaves.  It is slow to flower.  To 80cm.  [RHSD, Beadle, FNSW].

Added on February 21 2009

Prunus laurocerasus L.

Fully-hardy, dense, bushy, evergreen shrub or small tree with glossy, oblong leaves, to 15cm long, and upright racemes of fragrant white flowers, to 8mm across, in spring, followed by cherry-like red fruit, ripening to black.  To 8m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Added on February 05 2010

Viola odorata L.

Fully-hardy rhizomatous, semi-evergreen perennial with sweetly scented white or blue flowers in late winter and early spring.  Self-seeds readily.  Excellent for a wild garden.  There are numerous garden cultivars.  To 20cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on April 24 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

Australian native plants in the Hortus

Australian native plants were important to the gardening enterprises of Camden Park.  Even today Australian trees such as Araucaria species, Agathis robusta, Brachychiton populneum, Lagunaria pattersonia, Grevillea robusta and several species of palm very much define the landscape of the gardens.  Australian plants, particularly native orchids and ferns, were sent to England in large numbers in exchange for the exotic plants that were so much desired by Macarthur and his fellow colonists.

Published Mar 13, 2010 - 05:22 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:32 PM

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

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

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.