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

Cantua pyrifolia Juss. ex Lam.

Frost tender evergreen shrub or small tree with clusters of oblong leaves, to 7.5cm, toothed at the tips, arching habit and dense, erect racemes of creamy-white or straw-coloured flowers in spring.  To 5m.  [RHSD].

Added on March 03 2009

Camellia japonica ‘Woodsii’

A Camellia japonica L. cultivar. ‘Woodsii’ has very regular pale red flowers, to 10cm across, with 3 rows of large outer petals and smaller, erect inner petals, somewhat like ‘Waratah’.  It bears fine, large, cup-shaped, deep pink or red flowers.  [ICR].

Added on July 04 2009

Oxydendrum arboreum DC.

Large deciduous shrub or small tree, the lance-shaped leaves producing brilliant crimson and yellow autumn colour, the white flowers produced in terminal drooping racemes in summer.  The leaves have a pleasant scent.  Usually to c.6m in cultivation, taller in the wild.  [RHSD, Hilliers’, Hortus]. 

Added on January 11 2009

Lilium speciosum Thunb. var. album

See Lilium speciosum Thunb. for details.  Album is a white flowered form with purple-brown stems.  A number of white forms of Lilium speciosum still exist, including the variety ‘Album novum’.  The existence of white forms adds weight to the argument for Lilium speciosum as the correct identification of Lilium lancifolium of the catalogues. 

Added on December 26 2009

Sinningia speciosa ‘Priestleyana’

A cultivar of Sinningia speciosa (Lodd.) Hiern, ‘Priestleyana’ has deep blue flowers.  [GRS, GC p.328/1849].

Added on September 07 2009

Camellia japonica ‘Clio’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. Camden Park bred, seedling 29/50.  ‘Deep rose colour, small size, like Paeoniflora, but darker.  Middling.  Very abundant bloomer.’  William Macarthur.  [MP A2948-6].

Added on June 21 2009

Rhododendron maximum L.

A tall shrub or small tree with leaves to 10cm long, and compact trusses of slightly fragrant, funnel-shaped, light rose-purple or white flowers, spotted yellow-green inside , in early summer.  To 3m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers’, Millais].

Added on June 18 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 6: The Vintage

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters IX, X and XI deal with the vintage, including the theory and practice of fermentation and preparation for winemaking. The process of winemaking is dealt with in more detail in subsequent letters. The illustration used here is a wine label from the 1852 Muscat vintage. Follow this link to further examples of wine labels from this period.

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 15, 2010 - 03:53 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:15 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

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

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

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.