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

Prunus avium ‘Knight’s Early Black’

A cultivar of Prunus avium L. ‘Fruit large, blunt, heart-shaped, with an uneven surface like that of the Black Tartarian. Stalk two inches long, deeply inserted in a hollow, cup-shaped cavity, Skin of a dark dull red, when fully ripe almost black. Flesh firm, juicy, very deep purple, rich and high flavoured. Ripe a week or ten days earlier than the May Duke. On a south aspect, it will be ripe by the middle of June.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.153/1831].



Added on April 22 2010

Narcissus tazetta subsp. tazetta var. ‘Trewianus’

Narcissus Trewianus is a bulbous perennial with strap-shaped leaves and an umbel of flowers with a white perianth and yellow corona, very similar to, if not identical with Narcissus ‘Baselman Major’ Trew.  [Baker Am.].  See also Narcissus ‘Baselman Minor’.

Added on May 22 2009

Hydrangea macrophylla (Thunb.) Ser. subsp. serrata (Thunb.) Makino

Fully hardy, compact, erect, deciduous shrub with narrow, ovate, pointed leaves, to 15cm long, and flattened corymbs, to 10cm across, composed of numerous white, sterile flowers around the outside, with small pink or blue, fertile flowers in the centre, from summer to autumn.  To 1.2m or more under suitable conditions.  [RHSE, Hilliers’, Hortus].

Added on February 14 2010

Rhododendron indicum ‘Variegata’

A cultivar of Rhododendron indicum Sweet. ‘This has white and red striped and spotted flowers and blooms irregularly the year round.  In the nursery district round Osaka it is known as “Shiki-takane-satsuki.”  In Blume’s time it was cultivated in Java, and according to Lindley it was introduced into England by Mr. M’Killigan in 1833, to Knight’s nursery in Chelsea, London.’  [Wilson & Rehder p.26].

Added on June 18 2009

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

Ardisia paniculata Roxb.

Frost tender, evergreen shrub or small tree with pointed, lance-shaped leaves with parallel veins, and terminal panicles of rosy pink flowers, followed by small red fruit.  It is long-flowering and often carries flowers at the same time as fruit.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on February 25 2009

Dianthus caryophyllus Burroughs’ ‘Miss Jane’

For generic information on the garden Carnation and Picotee see Dianthus caryophyllus L.  I have found no description of Burroughs’ ‘Miss Jane’.  it was awarded a prize at the Slough Carnation and Picotee Show, 1847.  [Gard. Chron. 1847].  

Added on April 12 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 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

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

Edmund Blake - Gardener

Edmund Blake is important in the history of Camden Park gardens, where he was employed as a gardener from 1837 until probably at least 1867.  William Macarthur named three hybrid plants in his honour, Passiflora  ‘Blakei’, Gladiolus ‘Blakei’ and Erythrina ‘Blakei, testament to the high regard in which he was held.  Erythrina ‘Blakei’ has survived to this day. It is a magnificent shrub worthy of a place in any large garden.

Published Apr 03, 2010 - 03:35 PM | Last updated Aug 14, 2012 - 04:55 PM

Rambles in New Zealand - Part 2

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 - 12:18 PM | Last updated Mar 01, 2012 - 07:02 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.