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

Phycella cyrtanthoides (Sims) Lindl.

Bulbous perennial with large bulbs, to 10cm across, usually producing about 4 leaves, to 60cm long, which appear with the flowers, and umbels of up to 9 narrowly-funnel-shaped bright red flowers, yellowish-green towards the base, in autumn.  To 45cm.  [RHSD, Baker Am.].  

Added on May 15 2009

Yucca aloifolia L. var. crenulata

For a description of the species see Yucca aloifolia L. Crenulata is described by Johnson’s Dictionary as a frost-hardy succulent with scalloped leaves and white and green flowers, growing to 60cm [JD]. It is a variety of Y. aloifolia with somewhat scalloped leaves. Haworth gave specific names to a number of naturally occurring forms of Y. aloifolia.

Added on January 22 2009

Hebe x andersoni (Lindl. & Paxt.) Ckn.

A hybrid, Hebe salicifolia (Forst.f.) Pennell x Hebe speciosa R.Cunn.  A vigorous half hardy shrub with leaves to 10cm long, and long racemes of soft-pink to lavendar-blue flowers, fading to white, in summer and autumn.  To 1.8m.  [RHSE, Hilliers’].

Added on February 18 2010

Narcissus x compressus Haw. var. primulina

Narcissus x compressus Haw. is probably a hybrid between Narcissus jonquilla L. and Narcissus tazetta L., with characteristics intermediate between the two.  [RHSD].  The plant described as Narcissus intermedius by Baker has about four, deeply-channelled leaves and umbels of up to ten flowers with oblong, spreading, bright lemon-yellow perianth segments and short, cup-shaped, orange-yellow corona. According to this author Hermione primulina, which he considers a distinct variety of Narcissus intermedius Loisel., has imbricated segments and a corona with a spreading margin.  [Baker Am.]. The synonymy given here is for Narcissus x compressus Haw. rather than for primulina. The varietal name is included to assist differentiation.

Added on May 22 2009

Rosa ‘Mrs. Bosanquet’

Classified as a China rose by most contemporary authors and in Macarthur’s hand-written 1861 list it is classified as an Indica.  Paul classifies it as a Bourbon rose.  Growing to about 1m, it forms a neat but spindly shrub and has flesh-coloured to pink, very double, medium-sized flowers, somewhat prone to a green heart; pleasantly scented.  It performs very well in my garden, although it tends much more towards the pink tones of its ‘flesh’ colouring.  [Paul (1848, 1863, 1888, 1903), Rivers (1854, 1857, 1863), Amat].



Added on February 11 2010

Prunus armeniaca ‘Camden pale superb’

A cultivar of Prunus armeniaca L. ‘A late colonial variety of great excellence. Vigorous grower and cropper.’ ‘Pale Superb’ described in The Handbook of Horticulture and Viticulture of Western Australia [Despeissis p.223/1902].


Added on April 20 2010

Rosa ‘Jules Margottin’

Thomas Rivers considered that it ought to have been named ‘Brennus Perpetual’ because of its similarity to this old Hybrid China rose.  Hybrid Perpetual.  A ‘La Reine’ seedling, it has a vigorous habit, thick, dark green foliage and shapely, pointed buds which open to large, flattish, finely shaped, strongly scented, light vivid crimson flowers.  To 1.2m.  [Paul (1863, 1888, 1903), Rivers (1854, 1857, 1863), Gard. Chron. 1856, Amat].



Added on February 12 2010


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


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

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

Some Account of the 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.” ’

This short pamphlet outlining the Camden vineyards was produced to accompany samples of wine to the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851.

Published Jan 10, 2011 - 04:54 PM | Last updated Jan 10, 2011 - 05:07 PM

Memorandum from the Antipodes: Colouring of Grapes

The following Memorandum was submitted to The Gardeners’ Chronicle by William Macarthur in 1854. Although written in response to a particular problem aired in the columns of the newspaper some months earlier, it adds considerably to our understanding of commercial wine production at Camden Park, in particular the preferred grapes and the style of wine best suited to the colonial conditions. We are also given insights into the problems caused by ‘sudden abstraction of labour attending our gold crisis’, which caused considerable disruption of agrarian and other commercial activities in Australia for some years.

Published Jun 30, 2011 - 04:42 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:12 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.