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

Psoralea aphylla L.

Half-hardy evergreen shrub with erect or drooping branches, nearly leafless, trifoliate leaves, and fragrant, pea-like blue and white flowers in summer.  To 2m.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on December 24 2009

Asclepias curassavica L.

Frost tender, evergreen sub-shrub, often grown as an annual, with upright branches and lance-shaped leaves, and axillary, umbel-like cymes of red or orange-red flowers, with orange-yellow hoods, from summer to autumn.  To 1m.  There is also a white-flowered form. [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on February 26 2009

Passiflora edulis Sims

Frost-tender, vigorous, woody climber with 3-lobed, toothed leaves, to 20cm long, and bowl-shaped white flowers in summer, to 7cm across, with wavy, purple-zoned white coronas, and ovoid yellow to purple fruit.  To 5m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Added on January 31 2010

Ficus carica ‘Large white Genoa’

A cultivar of Ficus carica L. ‘Fruit large, globular, a little lengthened towards the stalk. Skin thin, of a yellowish colour when fully ripe. Pulp red, of a good flavour. Ripe about the end of August. Mr. Forsyth says this bears two crops annually.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.167/1831].



Added on April 24 2010

Malus domestica ‘Green Desert Apple’

Probably a variety raised at Camden Park.  Described as no name (‘Green Apple’) in Macarthur’s Notebook no.9.  March-May.  ‘Great.  Good for dessert only, has [undeciphered words] spicy flavour, not very juicy and sometimes becomes mealy. [Notebook no.9, MP A2948]. It was also briefly described in a gardening diary: ‘No name.  March-May.  Great bearer.  For dessert only, very highly flavoured but without acid.’ [Diary B, 1862, MP A2951].



Added on April 15 2010

Prunus armeniaca ‘Camden pale superb’

A cultivar of Prunus armeniaca L. ‘A late colonial variety of great excellence. Vigorous grower and cropper.’ ‘Pale Superb’ described in The Handbook of Horticulture and Viticulture of Western Australia [Despeissis p.223/1902].


Added on April 20 2010

Oxalis tenuifolia Jacq.

A bulbous perennial with erect, slender stems with dense rosettes of leaves in the upper part, each leaf composed of 3 leaflets, somewhat folded and with a rolled edge, and solitary purple to white flowers, to 3cm across, with purple margins and yellow throats, in winter.  [RHSD].  

Added on January 28 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


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

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 4: Forming the Vineyard and Planting Vines

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters V and VI deal with the formation of the vineyard and planting the vines. The illustration used here is Macarthur’s Plate 1, a ground plan for a vineyard. This is probably based on his own third vineyard, commenced c.1830.

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 05, 2010 - 05:03 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:15 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

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 9: Preparation of Wine

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters XVI and XVII describe the manufacture of wine from secondary fermentation to bottling and storage. The illustration used here is Plate 3 from Letters, which illustrates some of the equipment used in the manufacture of wine, described here and in earlier parts.

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 Oct 03, 2010 - 10:34 AM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:13 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.