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

Gladiolus ‘Blakii’

Camden Park hybrid.  Gladiolus x colvilli x (Gladiolus x colvilli x G. carneus).  Bidwill described Blakii as ‘a fine dark pink with dark red spots, a very large flower – good shape’, in a letter to Edward Macarthur Bowman, 22nd November, 1844.  [MP A4297 p.23]. 

Added on October 20 2009

Prunus avium ‘Werder’s Early Black’

A cultivar of Prunus avium L. ‘Very large, obtuse heart-shaped, with a deep suture on one side. Skin tough, shining, deep black-purple. Stalk short and stout, about an inch and a half long. Flesh purplish red, tender, very juicy, and with a very sweet and rich flavour. Middle and end of June.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual].



Added on April 22 2010

Ficus carica ‘Nerii’

A cultivar of Ficus carica L. ‘Fruit rather less than the Marseilles, and more long in shape. Skin pale greenish yellow. Pulp similar in colour to that of a pomegranate. It is much the richest of its species; and there is in its juice a slight degree of very delicate acid, which renders it peculiarly agreeable to most palates.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.167/1831].



Added on April 24 2010

Iris pumila L.

Fully hardy rhizomatous dwarf bearded iris with grey-green leaves, to 15cm long, and very short, unbranched stems bearing usually solitary, scented, blue, purple or yellow flowers, to 5cm across, with yellow or blue beards, in spring.  To 15cm.  There are a very large number of named garden forms.  [RHSE, Hortus].  

Added on November 05 2009

Sarcochilus falcatus R.Br.

Small, frost-tender, epiphytic orchid with fleshy leaves, to 16cm long, and slender racemes of up to 10, white, orange-blossom-scented flowers, with yellow and purple markings, in spring.  [RHSD, Jones, FNSW, Pridgeon, Beadle].

Added on January 26 2010

Gladiolus ‘Prince of Wales’

Probably a hybrid but of unknown parentage. Described as a scarlet flowered, late blooming variety in the Floricultural Cabinet.  [FC p.41/1850].  

Added on October 23 2009

Camellia japonica ‘Imbricata Alba’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. ‘Flower three and a half inches in diameter, spheroidal, very full and forming a regular rose, the petals of which diminish in size towards the centre, and are mutually imbricated from the centre to the circumference, each has a free border, a little sinuous, entire, two lines broad in the centre and augmenting to twenty-five lines in the periphery; they are white with distinct red or white stripes.-Magnificent.’  [Berlèse Monography p.88/1838].  See also Camellia japonica L. var. imbricata.

Added on June 27 2009


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 9: Preparation of Wine

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters XVI and XVII describe the manufacture of wine from secondary fermentation to bottling and storage. The illustration used here is Plate 3 from Letters, which illustrates some of the equipment used in the manufacture of wine, described here and in earlier parts.

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 Oct 03, 2010 - 10:34 AM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:13 AM

“The Blight” and the Camden Vineyards

Although the general heading of this collection of essays is ‘William Macarthur on Winemaking’ the two letters and two editorials from the Sydney Herald reproduced here are not from William’s pen. They concern the vine blight and its possible causes but also give an interesting perspective on the vineyards at Camden Park and on the esteem with which the Macarthur’s, particularly William, were held as vine growers as early as 1831. This makes them a worthwhile contribution to the story of the Camden Park wineries.

Published Jul 11, 2011 - 12:27 PM | Last updated Jul 17, 2011 - 05:31 PM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 5: Management and Replenishment of the Vineyard

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters VII and VIII deal with the management of the vineyard after planting, the use of manures and the replenishment of an exhausted vineyard. The illustration used here is Macarthur’s Plate 2, a section of a vineyard. This is referred to in detail in Part 4, however it does illustrate the method of vine culture recommended and described here, the dwarf-standard method which at this time was practiced mostly in the north of France.

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 09, 2010 - 05:49 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:15 AM

Rambles in New Zealand - Part 1

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 - 08:45 AM | Last updated Feb 29, 2012 - 03:08 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.