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

Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet

Frost-tender, fast-growing, twining, perennial climber, with leaves composed of three triangular leaflets, and racemes, to 40cm long, of fragrant purple or white pea-like flowers in summer and autumn, followed by 10-15cm long pods containing beans ranging from white to black in colour.  To 6m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on December 17 2009

Rosa ‘William Lobb’

A Damask Moss rose.  A tall-growing rose with scented, purplish flowers which fade to a greyish-mauve, in summer only.  To 3m.  Introduced by Laffay in 1855.  [Paul (1863, 1888, 1903), Amat].



Added on February 12 2010

Dendrobium gibsonii Paxt.

Frost tender, erect, evergreen orchid with racemes of up to 10 flowers, to 7.5 cm across, growing from the upper parts of the pseudobulbs, rich orange in colour, the lips bright yellow with 2 dark spots at the base, in summer.  [RHSD].

Added on January 25 2010

Callitris endlicheri (Parl.) Bail.

Frost-hardy, evergreen, columnar shrub or small tree with spreading branches.  To 25m.  [RHSD, Beadle, FNSW].

Added on July 29 2009

Tropaeolum azureum Miers

Half-hardy perennial climber with an ovoid tuber, 5-9 palmate leaves and short-spurred, sky-blue flowers with whitish cream or yellow centres in spring.  To 1m.  [RHSE]. 

Added on January 22 2009

Malus domestica ‘Beauty of Kent’

‘Fruit pretty large, three inches and a quarter deep, and three inches and a half in diameter, somewhat irregularly formed, with slightly prominent unequal angles, terminating in the crown, which is rather contracted. Eye small, closed by a short calyx, a little depressed, in a narrow angular basin. Stalk short, slender, rather deeply inserted in a funnel-shaped cavity. Skin a very clear yellowish green, mottled with dull red; but on the sunny side of a bright red, mottled and streaked with yellow, intermixed with russet round the base. Flesh firm, yellowish white, crisp, and tender. Juice abundant, and pleasantly acid. An autumnal dessert apple, from Michaelmas to Christmas.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.27/1831].

Added on April 16 2010

Rhododendron calendulaceum (Michx.) Torr. var. cuprea

Possibly a cultivar of Rhododendron calendulaceum (Michx.) Torr. but more likely to be a naturally occurring variety and treated as such here.  Figured in Loddiges’ Botanical Cabinet as Azalea calendulacea cuprea it has copper-coloured flowers:  ‘This is a native of North America, first introduced by Mr. Lyon, in 1806.  It is perfectly hardy, forming a large bushy shrub, flowering in May and June.  It may be increased by layers, which require two years at least to make sufficient roots.  It should be planted in a border, in half loam and half peat soil.  How admirable is the beauty of these flowers! how bountiful the Almighty Hand which formed them!’  [LBC no.1394/1829].  The Botanical Register figures Azalea calendulacea var. subcuprea, the ‘Copper-coloured Highclere azalea’, which, although somewhat similar to Loddiges’ plant, is probably distinct.  This Folio includes a long dissertation on the Highclere azaleas by the hybridizer, Mr. Gowen, with a long list of resulting named varieties.  [BR f.1366/1830].

Added on June 09 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


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

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

“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

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

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.