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

Jacquinia aurantiaca Ait.

Frost tender, evergreen shrub with lance-shaped leaves and racemes of orange flowers.  To 1.2m.  [RHSD].

Added on March 19 2009

Malus domestica ‘Blenheim Orange’

‘Fruit large, roundish, of a yellowish colour, tinged with red next the sun; pulp sweet and high flavoured: ripe in November, and keeps till March: a very superior dessert apple.’ [FCM p.42/1843].



Added on April 16 2010

Pyrus communis ‘Jargonelle’

‘Fruit large, oblong, somewhat pyramidal, from three inches and a half to four inches long, and from two inches and a half to three inches in diameter. Eye open, with long segments of the calyx. Stalk two inches long, somewhat obliquely inserted. Skin greenish yellow on the shaded side, with a tinge of brownish red when exposed to the sun. Flesh yellowish white, very juicy and melting, with a peculiarly rich agreeable flavour; round the core it is gritty, and more so, if grafted upon the Quince. Ripe the middle and end of August.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.341/1831].



Added on May 17 2010

Gladiolus (x colvilli) x (x gandavensis) [#9]

(Gladiolus x colvilli) x (Gladiolus x gandavensis) hybrid, no.9 in Macarthur’s notebook no.5 in an entry dated 1846.  ‘Robust scape, large flowers, indifferent shape, petals too thin, pale pink above, pink, yellow and purple on lower lobes.  Middling variety but curious.’  [MP A2948-5].

Added on October 22 2009

Rosa ‘Red Moss’

The flowers of the ‘Red Moss Rose’ are semi-double, middle-sized and pale red or deep pink in colour.  [Gore, Rivers (1854), Paul (1848, 1888)].



Added on February 10 2010

Ipomoea indica (Burm.f.) Merr.

Frost tender, vigorous, evergreen, perennial climber with heart-shaped, 3-lobed, slender-pointed leaves and cymes of 3-5 funnel-shaped, rich-purple blue to blue flowers, to 8cm across, often maturing to purplish-blue, from spring to autumn.  To 6m or more.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hillier].

Added on March 09 2009

Lythrum salicaria ‘Roseum Superbum’

A cultivar of Lythrum salicaria L. A fully hardy, clump-forming perennial with star-shaped, bright purple-pink flowers in spike-like racemes in summer to autumn.  To 45cm. The variety roseum superbum has larger rose-coloured flowers.  [RHSE, Hortus].


Added on February 11 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


“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 1: Introduction

‘Letters’ is an important book in the history of wine production in Australia and this is, I believe, the first time that the full text has been made available outside the major libraries. The value of William Macarthur’s book compared with earlier Colonial publications is that it is written from the perspective of over twenty years of experience of growing grapes and making wine in New South Wales. He does include theory from the pens of European authorities but the bulk of the book is written from personal experience. He is in effect saying ‘this is what we have found to work here’.

‘Letters’ is reproduced in 10 parts, beginning with the Introduction, which provides information on the history of the book and gives a synopsis of early experiences of vine importation and wine production.

Published Aug 27, 2010 - 05:50 PM | Last updated Nov 24, 2011 - 02:57 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

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

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.