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

Camellia japonica ‘Peoniflora Rubra’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L., ‘Paeoniflora rubra’ has Paeony-shaped deep red flowers up to 10cm across, with 10-12 large outer petals in 2 rows, and a large number of smaller, irregular petals in the centre.  It is another sport of ‘Pompone’.  [ICR].  ‘A vigorous shrub, has a tendency to grow tall, and requires to be pruned to give it a handsome form; leaves two inches wide, and two and eleven lines long, a little dentated, oval, acuminated, shining, of rather a deep green; bud large, rounded, scales green, flower four and a half inches in diameter, and sometimes larger, of a vivid rose, No.4, often of a cherry-red, No.2, full; petals flat in the circumference; in the centre large, and in form of a cornet, numerous, narrow, close, forming an elevated centre. –Superb.’  [Berlèse Monography p.68/1838].

Added on June 30 2009

Camellia japonica ‘Nivalis’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L., ‘Nivalis’ has formal, double, medium large white flowers.  [ICR, FC p.154/1836].

Added on June 30 2009

Camellia japonica ‘Miranda’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. Camden Park bred, seedling 4/50.  ‘White, with pink and crimson stripes and blotches.  Quite double, petals well formed and regular nearly to centre.  Good.’  William Macarthur.  [MP A2948-6].

Added on June 30 2009

Canna indica L.

Half-hardy, rhizomatous perennial with usually lance-shaped green to bronze-tinted leaves and panicles of bright red or soft orange flowers in summer and autumn.  To 2.2m.  Paxton's Dictionary lists the variety maculata, with red and yellow flowers.  [RHSE, Hortus]. 

Added on January 18 2009

Ixia ‘Euridyce’

Probably a Camden Park hybrid but no description is extant.

Added on November 10 2009

Narcissus tazetta subsp. tazetta L.

Bulbous perennial with sulphur-yellow, spreading perianth segments and cup-shaped, orange-yellow corona, one-third of the length of the segments.  [Hortus, Baker Am.].  

Added on May 20 2009

Rubus idaeus subsp. vulgatus ‘Fastolff’

A Rubus idaeus L. subsp. vulgatus cultivar. ‘Fruit large, roundish-conical, bright purplish red, and of excellent flavour. A summer bearer.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.263/1860].


Added on June 04 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

History of the Florists’ Gloxinia

In the 19th century the florists’ Gloxinia was a very popular plant with hundreds of varieties under propagation.  Out of fashion today, these beautiful and easily grown plants deserve to be revived.  William Macarthur would not have recognised the large, multi-coloured flowers that dominate the show bench today but the plants he grew, predominantly of the slipper, or wild type, were equally beautiful.

Published Mar 14, 2010 - 01:56 PM | Last updated Jul 26, 2011 - 04:59 PM

Raising Tropaeolum tricolor from seed

If you have tried growing Tropaeolum tricolor from seed you have probably encountered difficulty and obtained a low germination rate.  This was certainly my experience before I took this advice.

Published Jan 01, 2010 - 03:33 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 03:38 PM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 8: Fermentation of the Wine

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters XIV and XV describe primary and secondary fermentation of the wine. The illustration used here is a photograph of the cellars at Camden Park House.

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 30, 2010 - 05:11 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:14 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.