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

Magnolia acuminata L. var. cordata (Michx.) Sarg.

Fully hardy, vigorous, conical, deciduous tree with ovate leaves, to 25cm long, softly hairy beneath, and cup-shaped, single, yellow-green to green flowers, to 9cm across, among the leaves in spring and summer, followed by red or brown fruit.  To 20m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].  Cordata is usually smaller and more compact than the type, the flowers being soft canary-yellow.  [Hilliers’]. 

Added on March 20 2009

Platycerium superbum de Jonch. & Hennipman

Large epiphytic fern with sterile ‘nest leaves’ forming a large mass at the top of the plant, the branched fertile fronds pendant and often very long.  Plantlets are not formed as in Platycerium bifurcatum.  [RHSD, Hortus, FNSW].

Added on February 11 2009

Ixia species small white

Unidentified Ixia, no description.

Added on November 16 2009

Pyrus communis ‘Beurré Léon Leclerc’

‘Fruit medium sized, obovate. Skin smooth, of a lemon-yellow colour, having a tinge of red on one side, and covered with numerous large russet specks. Eye very small and open, set in a narrow and deep basin. Stalk an inch long, inserted in an uneven and rather deep cavity. Flesh white, melting and juicy, sweet and well flavoured, but without any particular aroma. End of October.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.165/1860].



Added on May 19 2010

Gladiolus cardinalis x (x gandavensis) [#5]

Gladiolus cardinalis x Gladiolus x gandavensis hybrid no.5 in Macarthur’s notebook no.5 in an entry dated 1847.  Resembles No.3.  Flower rather smaller, and pale in colour, but much resembling it, lower lobes varied by yellow and with larger purple blotches than No.3.  Good variety.  [MP A2948-5].

Added on October 22 2009

Dioscorea elephantipes (L’Hérit.) Engl.

Frost-tender, slow-growing, deciduous, climbing perennial with a partially buried, pyramidal, heavily fissured woody tuber, blue-green, heart-shaped leaves and dark-spotted, greenish-yellow flowers in summer.  [RHSE, Hortus]. 


Added on January 20 2009

Paeonia suffruticosa Andr. var. papaveracea

Papaveracea has nearly single, white flowers with a purple blotch at the base of the petals.  Such a plant is figured beautifully in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine.  The flowers apparently tended to become more double in succeeding generations.  [Hortus, BM t.2175/1820, Don].  See Paeonia suffruticosa Andr. for more information.

Added on January 29 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

The Family Amaryllidaceae at Camden Park

Amaryllidaceae was a very significant family of plants in the history of the Camden Park gardens.  The following Essay provides a little background to these important plants.

Published Jan 01, 2010 - 05:11 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:54 PM

Camellias at Camden Park

Most of the camellias grown at Camden Park are cultivars of Camellia japonica L., the ‘Common camellia’, a native of China, Korea and Japan.  The first plant introduced to Britain in 1739, and figured in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine [BM t.42/1788], is close to the wild type.  It bears single red flowers in early spring but is rarely planted now and was not grown at Camden Park.  William Macarthur was an important breeder of camellias and many of the cultivars described in the Hortus were bred by him.  Unfortunately few of these have survived.  

Published Mar 13, 2010 - 02:43 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:46 PM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 3: Grape Varieties and Diseases

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters III and IV deal with grape varieties found suitable for New South Wales, and diseases of the vine.

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 01, 2010 - 05:24 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:16 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.