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

Crinum bulbispermum (Burm.f.) Milne-Redh. & Shweick.

Bulbous perennial with slender pointed leaves and, in summer, umbels of 6-12 fragrant, white or pink flowers, flared at the tips and with a central dark red stripe.  Flowers rarely pure white.  To 60cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].  

Added on April 26 2009

Eupomatia laurina R.Br.

Frost tender, evergreen, erect shrub or small tree with alternate, glossy, elliptic leaves, to 12cm long, and solitary, axillary, greenish-yellow flowers, to 2.5cm across, followed by berry-like fruits, to 2cm across.  [RHSD, Beadle].

Added on March 15 2009

Camellia japonica ‘like Waratah’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. No detailed description is extant.

Added on July 04 2009

Viola odorata L. var. pallido-plena Sw.

A very sweet scented violet.  Don describes Viola odorata pallido-plena Sw., as double and pale blue: ‘This variety is commonly called Neapolitan Violet in gardens.’

Added on April 24 2009

Scilla peruviana L.

A bulbous perennial with a basal cluster of up to 15, semi-erect, lance-shaped leaves, to 60cm long, and tall, conical racemes of up to 100 star-shaped, reddish or  purplish blue, sometimes white, flowers in summer.  To 30cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].  

Added on January 09 2010

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

Gladiolus italicus Mill. var. caucasicus

See Gladiolus italicus Mill. for a description.  This is a variable plant and Macarthur’s caucasicus was probably distinctly different in flower colour or growth habit from the plant he grew as Gladiolus segetum.  According to Paxton’s Dictionary its flowers were pink and it only grew to 30cm.  The generally accepted name of this plant is now Gladiolus italicus.

Added on October 27 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


Rambles in New Zealand - Part 1

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 - 08:45 AM | Last updated Feb 29, 2012 - 03:08 PM

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

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 7: The Vintage (Continued)

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters IX, X and XI, reproduced in Part 6, dealt with the vintage, including the theory and practice of fermentation and preparation for winemaking. The vintage is continued in Part 7, letters XII and XIII giving a description of grape harvesting and crushing. The illustration used here is an excellent lithograph showing the grape harvest at the third vineyard at Camden Park in 1878.

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 24, 2010 - 05:07 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:14 AM

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

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.