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.

Hortus News

Improvements to Hortus Camdenensis

by Colin Mills

The problems encountered when upgrading the Hortus software have now been largely overcome. Any remaining bugs will be corrected during the improvements detailed below.

Improvements are also being progressively 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 was originally estimated to take at least two years to complete but will probably take twice this time. It has been completed up to and including Amaryllidaceae. Fortunately few other families in the Hortus are as large and complex as this and those that are, such as Rosaceae and Ericaceae contain a large number of varieties and cultivars which are not subject to the same degree of scrutiny.

Botanical and horticultural history 

Botanical history of species and naturally occurring varieties will include, as a minimum, the author of the first known botanical description with full reference, and the author of the currently accepted Latin name, again with full reference.

The intention is that all plant profiles will contain the following horticultural history: date and location of the discovery or breeding of the plant, the name of the discoverer or breeder and the date of introduction to European gardens. Additional information concerning its introduction to Australia or North America will also be given when available. Uses to which the plant has been put by the human inhabitants of its natural range will also be briefly discussed.

Cross referencing of Hortus entries

Inevitably there is considerable cross-referencing within the Hortus pages. Cross-references are progressively being hot-linked, the linked page immediately available as a separate page.


It has always been our ambition to illustrate all Plant Profile pages with an appropriate image. This is unlikely to be achieved as such images do not exist for many Victorian cultivars and varieties, most of them long extinct. It is our intention to provide a ‘close-fit’ illustration for at least some of these plants but suitable images of species and varieties are still being sourced and will be progressively uploaded. Additional images are also being added on a 'click-here-to-see' basis where it is considered that this will add value to the entry.



Published Sep 14, 2010 - 04:06 PM | Last updated Aug 12, 2012 - 04:36 PM

Sir William Macarthur on Vines and Vineyards

by Colin Mills

Two important publication by Sir William Macarthur are now available for viewing or downloading on Hortus Camdenensis. A booklet, ‘Some Account of the Vineyards at Camden’ is a most interesting publication, only some four pages of text, because it accompanied a collection of wine to be exhibited at the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851. James and William Macarthur considered this to be an excellent opportunity to showcase Australian wines. 

‘Letters on the Culture of the Vine’ is a much more adventurous undertaking, consisting of an introduction and 18 Letters, or chapters. These have been published as 10 essays each consisting of 1-3 letters with a common theme. This was a very important book in the history of Australian winemaking, published in 1844 and written very much from the perspective of an experienced Australian winemaker. William Macarthur originally wrote the Letters under the pen name of Maro in The Australian newspaper.

Published Aug 01, 2010 - 04:58 PM | Last updated Oct 04, 2010 - 04:47 PM

Working Bee dates

by Colin Mills

The Working Bee dates for 2012 are:

February - 5th, 26th

March - 18th

April - 1st, 22nd

May - 6th, 27th

June - 17th

July - 8th, 29th

August - 19th

September - 9th but don't forget the Open Weekend, 22nd and 23rd

October - 14th

November - 4th, 25th

December - 16th

As usual we start with a breakfast at 9.00am and finish between 12.30 and 1.00pm.



Published Jun 29, 2010 - 02:59 PM | Last updated Jan 10, 2012 - 05:19 PM

Open House and Gardens

by Colin Mills

Camden Park House and Gardens were once again open to the public on Saturday 17th September and Sunday 18th, 2011. More than 2500 people took the opportunity to enjoy the pleasant spring weather, with the gardens looking magnificent and the bulb display on Blarney Bank particularly beautiful this year.

The Open Weekend of 2012 is the 22nd and 23rd of September. As usual Guided Tours of the House and Gardens are included in the modest entry fee. Short talks on the history of the house and its owners will also be given. For more information visit the Camden Park House website at

Snacks, hot and cold drinks, Devonshire Teas and steak or sausage sandwiches can be purchased, or bring your own food and picnic in the gardens.

There will be a range of stalls from which to purchase gifts and mementoes and a wide range of plants will be for offered for sale by the Camden Park Nursery Group, whose volunteers will also be available to help visitors with questions about the gardens.


Published Dec 30, 2009 - 02:58 PM | Last updated Jan 09, 2012 - 05:31 PM

Still to come in the Hortus Camdenensis

by Colin Mills

Hortus Camdenensis is a work in progress and as research findings come to hand they will be added. Although much of the basic research has been done the category of Vegetables and other Esculents is far from complete. The more exotic esculents contained in the body of the Hortus are included, and so you will find cinnamon, rosemary, tea and coffee among other food stuffs, but you will not find carrots and peas. A large body of information is available but this awaits further research. These more common vegetables, but no less interesting for that, will be progressively added over the next year or so.

It has taken a long time to enter the nearly 3300 plants in the Hortus. Some of the plants entered early in the process are already in need of updating as a result of further research. This will also happen progressively.

All of the plants in the Hortus are allocated to one or more Categories (see About the Hortus for details). At the beginning we only used the categories used by William Macarthur in his Catalogues, i.e. Orchids, Herbaceous Plants, Bulbs and Tuberous-Rooted Plants, Conifers and Taxads, Trees and Shrubs and Plants Bearing Fruit. Well into the process of uploading individual plant data it was decided to expand the number of categories to reflect more closely the nature of the plants and the uses to which they were put. All plants have now been allocated to all the categories we thought appropriate but we are bound to have missed some. Please let us know of any that you find. In some cases plants are no longer used for a purpose that was one important. But if that purpose suggests a reason for its importation then it has been included. This really only affects the Categories of Medicinal Use and Industrial Use.

Published Feb 14, 2009 - 06:14 PM | Last updated Aug 01, 2010 - 05:21 PM