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

Berberis darwinii Hook.

Fully hardy, vigorous, upright, evergreen shrub with spine-toothed, glossy green leaves and pendant racemes of 10-30 dark orange flowers in spring and sometimes autumn, followed by blue-black fruit.  To 3m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on February 24 2010

Malus domestica ‘Dumelow’s Seedling’

Fruit; large, roundish, flattened. Skin; pale yellow, strewn with russet, pale red next the sun. Flesh; yellowish white, firm, crisp, brisk and very juicy, slightly aromatic flavour. [HP].

Added on April 16 2010

Iris xiphium L.

A vigorous, hardy, bulbous iris with lance-shaped leaves and pale to deep blue or violet, occasionally yellow or white, flowers in spring or summer.  To 60cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].  

Added on November 08 2009

Rhododendron indicum ‘Speciosissima’

A cultivar of Rhododendron indicum Sweet. ‘A bright rosy red, slightly spotted.  A separate blossom, is five inches across.  It is very showy.’  [FC p.138/1848].  A free-flowering, tall growing, rosy-purple, spotted variety.  [FC p.166/1839].  In Paxton's Magazine of Botany, Azalea speciosissima is described as a seedling variety, ‘raised by Mr. Smith of Norbiton, who has sent it out with the forgoing title.  Its flowers are of a greater size than those of any other kind we know, and the hue is a deep and splendid crimson, with numerous dark spots in the upper petals.’  [MB p.119/1843]. 

Added on June 07 2009

Coreopsis tinctoria Nutt.

Fully hardy erect annual, bearing solitary, bright yellow flower heads, shading to brown red at the bases.  Darker colour variants are available.  In early Victorian gardens the darker flowered forms, in shades of scarlet purple, edged with yellow, were often known as Calliopsis bicolor.  To 1.2m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on September 15 2009

Achimenes hirsuta ‘Carmesii’

Achimenes ‘Carmesii’ is a form of Achimenes hirsuta Lindl.  I have found no specific description.  See Achimenes hirsuta Lindl. and Achimenes skinneri Lindl. for further information.


Added on February 01 2009

Brachychiton bidwillii Hook.

Variable frost tender shrub, deciduous when flowering, with ovate leaves, to 25cm, often 3- or 5-lobed, axillary clusters of tubular red or crimson flowers, sometimes yellow inside.  To 4m.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on March 07 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


Camden Park Roses

Roses were very important to the Camden Park gardens, 297 are listed in the Hortus, substantially more than the next largest genus, Camellia with 140 plants.  This brief review summarises the major types of rose grown and discusses the change in profile of roses over the decades from 1843 to 1861. 

Published Feb 13, 2010 - 03:27 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 11:02 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 6: The Vintage

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters IX, X and XI deal with the vintage, including the theory and practice of fermentation and preparation for winemaking. The process of winemaking is dealt with in more detail in subsequent letters. The illustration used here is a wine label from the 1852 Muscat vintage. Follow this link to further examples of wine labels from this period.

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 15, 2010 - 03:53 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:15 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

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.