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

Prunus avium ‘Knight’s Early Black’

A cultivar of Prunus avium L. ‘Fruit large, blunt, heart-shaped, with an uneven surface like that of the Black Tartarian. Stalk two inches long, deeply inserted in a hollow, cup-shaped cavity, Skin of a dark dull red, when fully ripe almost black. Flesh firm, juicy, very deep purple, rich and high flavoured. Ripe a week or ten days earlier than the May Duke. On a south aspect, it will be ripe by the middle of June.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.153/1831].



Added on April 22 2010

Hibiscus rosa sinensis L. var. variabilis

For information on the species see Hibiscus rosa sinensis L.  I have found no reference to the variety variabilis but see Hibiscus rosa sinensis L. variegata.

Added on January 12 2010

Camellia japonica ‘Clara’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. Camden Park bred, seedling 23/50.  ‘Said to be like Coccinea and good.’  William Macarthur.  [MP A2948-6].  

Added on June 21 2009

Dendrobium schoeninum Lindl.

Half-hardy lithophytic orchid with creeping rhizomes which can grow into large masses on rocks, leaves resembling succulent grass, and branching stems, to 90cm long, bearing 1 or 2 fragrant, greenish-yellow flowers, to 3cm across, with brown-purple stripes, in spring.  It is the southernmost species of dendrobe in Australia.  [Jones, FNSW, Pridgeon, Beadle].

Added on January 25 2010

Passiflora pinnatistipula Cav.

Half-hardy climbing passion vine with 3-lobed, serrated leaves, whitish below, and pale rose flowers, with a deep blue crown, in late summer, followed by yellow-green fruit, to 5cm long.  To 10m.  [RHSD, Don].

Added on January 31 2010

Dahlia ‘Countess of Harrington’

Although the handwriting is somewhat illegible this plant is probably ‘Countess of Harrington’.  It was a regular prize winner in 1834.  [FC 1834).  Another possibility is Allman’s ‘Countess of Torrington’, winner of ten prizes in the 1840 show season. 

Added on April 21 2009

Malus coronaria Mill.

A small to medium sized tree of rounded habit, the leaves ovate, toothed, the flowers pink, fragrant, borne in clusters. The fruit flattish globose, yellowish-green, acid to the taste. to 10m. [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers'].



Added on April 15 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


Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 7: The Vintage (Continued)

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters IX, X and XI, reproduced in Part 6, dealt with the vintage, including the theory and practice of fermentation and preparation for winemaking. The vintage is continued in Part 7, letters XII and XIII giving a description of grape harvesting and crushing. The illustration used here is an excellent lithograph showing the grape harvest at the third vineyard at Camden Park in 1878.

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 24, 2010 - 05:07 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:14 AM

Rambles in New Zealand - part 3

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 - 02:11 PM | Last updated Mar 01, 2012 - 07:02 AM

Camden Park Nursery Group

We are a small voluntary group helping to maintain and preserve the historic Camden Park gardens. There are regular meeting days, currently Tuesday and Saturday but this can be varied, but most members contribute through Working Bees held typically every third Sunday.

Published Jun 27, 2010 - 04:16 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 04:32 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

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.