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 persica ‘Malta’

A Prunus persica (L.) Batsch. cultivar. ‘Flowers large, pale. Fruit middle sized, generally depressed at the apex, with a broad shallow suture on one side, and slight traces of one on the other. Skin, on the shaded side, pale dull greenish yellow; next the sun, broadly marked with broken blotches of dull purplish red. Flesh greenish yellow, with a slight stain of purple next the stone, from which it separates. Juice plentiful, very rich, with an extremely agreeable vinous flavour. Stone middle sized, oval, pointed, rather rugged. Ripe the end of August and beginning of September.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.260/1831].



Added on June 03 2010

Platycladus orientalis (L.f.) Franco

Fully-hardy, irregular or conical evergreen tree with erect branches and branchlets, very small, scale-like leaves, which often turn bronze in winter, and upright, flask-shaped, greyish female cones, to 2cm long.  To 15m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Added on August 03 2009

Malus domestica ‘Cornish Gilliflower’

Fruit; large, oval, angular and ribbed. Skin; dull green on the shaded side, brownish-red streaked brighter red next the sun, with some thin russet markings. Flesh; yellowish, firm, rich, aromatic. [HP pl.XLI ].



Added on April 16 2010

Quercus robur L.

Fully-hardy, spreading deciduous tree with fissured bark, oblong leaves with rounded lobes, to 14cm long, and single or small clusters of acorns.  To 35m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Added on February 03 2010

Mespilus germanica L.

Fully-hardy, spreading tree or large shrub with alternate, lance-shaped leaves, to 15cm long, and white, sometimes pink-tinged flowers, to 5cm across, in spring and summer, followed by edible, fleshy brown fruit, to 5cm or more across.  To 6m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Added on February 05 2010

Camellia japonica ‘Spofforthiae Carnea’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L., ‘Spofforthiae Carnea’, bred by William Herbert, is very similar to ‘Spofforthiae’ but with larger, pink flowers.  [ICR].  

Added on July 02 2009

Consolida ambigua (L.) P.W.Ball & Heyw.

Fully hardy annual with fern-like leaves and tall spires of flowers in pink, white or violet-blue.  Many garden cultivars exist.  To 1.2m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on February 04 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

Vineyards at Camden

The vineyards of Camden Park are widely considered to be the first commercial vineyards in Australia. James and William Macarthur were certainly not the first to sell wine for profit or the first to export wine but were pioneers in the development of vineyards intended to produce a profit from the sale of quality wine. Prior to this wine was produced from small vineyards planted primarily for home consumption, with excess sold and sometimes exported.

The first vineyard was small, only one acre in extent, and largely experimental, but the second and third were on a much grander scale. As the closing words of this pamphlet demonstrate, James and William certainly had a vision of what was possible for Australian wine production, as they had previously for fine Merino wool.

‘Whether these Colonies can also hope to provide for the benefit of every class here at home, and at an equally moderate rate another exportable product, remains yet to be seen — so that even the tired artizan, in his hours of relaxation from toil, may not unseldom exclaim, “Go Fetch me a quart of (Australian) Sack.” ’

Published Aug 25, 2010 - 05:34 PM | Last updated Aug 25, 2010 - 05:51 PM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 8: Fermentation of the Wine

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters XIV and XV describe primary and secondary fermentation of the wine. The illustration used here is a photograph of the cellars at Camden Park House.

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 30, 2010 - 05:11 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:14 AM

Thomas Harris (1885-1948)

Thomas Harris, born in Worcestershire in 1885, was a gardener at Camden Park from 1913 to 1938.

Published Aug 16, 2012 - 11:09 AM | Last updated Mar 16, 2015 - 02:12 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.