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

Fuchsia Banks’ ‘Glory’

‘First Class Certificates were awarded to Mr. Smith for 2 seedling Fuchsias, Glory (Banks’); a fine variety, with scarlet tube and sepals well reflexed, of good substance, corolla violet purple, smooth and even on the edge and stout.’  Report of the National Floricultural Society summer show.  [Gard. Chron. June 19th, 1852].

Added on January 31 2009

Downingia pulchella Torr.

Hardy annual with alternate lance-shaped leaves and blue and white flowers, the throat marked with green or yellow.  To 15cm.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on September 29 2009

Gladiolus x insignis Paxt.

Gladiolus carneus x Gladiolus cardinalis hybrid.  ‘A handsome hybrid, with very long, narrow leaves, and apparently drooping flower stalks, on which the blossoms are borne chiefly on the upper side.  Flowers of a rich and reddish crimson hue, having a dash of bluish purple in the centre of the lower petals.’  The plant was drawn at Lucombe and Pince’s nursery.  They had purchased Colville’s stock some years earlier.  [MB p.223/1840].  Paxton’s Dictionary also describes it as crimson, growing to 45cm, while the Floricultural Cabinet describes it as deep rose-crimson.  [FC p.257/1851].  ‘A good variety in the ‘Ramosus’ tribe, together with G. splendens.’  [Gard. Chron. 1851]. 

Added on October 26 2009

Prunus domestica ‘Drap d?Or’

A Prunus domestica L. cultivar. ‘Branches smooth, but downy at the ends. Fruit rather small, of a roundish figure, somewhat like the Little Queen Claude, with but very little suture, and a small dimple at each end: about an inch deep, and rather more in diameter. Stalk half an inch long, slender. Skin bright yellow, spotted or marbled with red on the sunny side. Flesh yellow, melting, and separates clean from the stone. Juice sugary and excellent. Ripe the middle of August.’ [George Lindley – Orchard guide p.463/1831]. Thought by some to be a selection from, or more likely a hybrid of, Prunus institia L.

Added on May 27 2010

Iberis sempervirens L. var. superba

Perennial sub-shrub with narrow blunt leaves and white flowers in elongated corymbs.  To 30cm.  [RHSD, Hortus].  The variety superba is shorter growing and useful for edging.  [Hortus].

Added on October 02 2009

Prunus domestica L.

Deciduous tree, occasionally spiny, with elliptic or oblong leaves, the flowers white with up to four in a cluster, followed by a pendant oval fruit, from yellow to dark blue in colour, the flesh edible, green, reddish or yellow, with an almost smooth stone. To 12m. [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on May 27 2010

Camellia japonica ‘Phrynia’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. Camden Park bred, seedling 46/52.  ‘Deep rose or pink, double after the manner of Paeoniflora.  Good size.  Pretty good.’  William Macarthur.  [MP A2948-6].  

Added on July 01 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 Fuchsias of Camden Park

The first fuchsia introduced to English gardens in 1788 was a variety of Fuchsia magellanica Lam.  This new plant soon attracted the attention of florists and, stimulated by the regular introduction of new species and varieties from South America, selection and hybridisation saw a rapidly increasing number of named varieties available through the nurseries.  The first record of a fuchsia at Camden Park is Fuchsia conica, which arrived on board the ‘Sovereign’ in February 1831.  By 1857 fifty-eight species, cultivars and hybrids had been recorded as growing in the gardens.

Published Mar 14, 2010 - 10:50 AM | Last updated Jun 24, 2011 - 02:45 PM

Rambles in New Zealand - part 3

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 - 02:11 PM | Last updated Mar 01, 2012 - 07:02 AM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 2: Climate and Soil

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters I and II deal with climate, site and soil.

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 - 03:26 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:16 AM

Colonial Australian Wines

The following article appeared in The Gardeners’ Chronicle of Saturday, November 25th, 1854. It includes a review of seven wines sent to the proprietors of The Gardeners’ Chronicle from Camden Park by William Macarthur, together with his notes on the wines, the vineyards in which they were produced and the economic conditions pertaining to wine production and sale in Australia. Macarthur’s brief notes, when read with the more detailed essay Some Account of the Vineyards at Camden, extends our knowledge of wine production at Camden but most importantly provides an external (but not necessarily unbiased) view of the quality of the wines.

Published Jun 30, 2011 - 02:12 PM | Last updated Jul 04, 2011 - 09:00 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.