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 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.


When established in 2005 the Group had four basic aims:

·     To propagate plants which are close to the end of their natural lives to ensure their continuance in the gardens

·     To source, propagate and reintroduce to the gardens plants that have been lost. The Hortus is an important resource for this objective

·     To raise plants for sale to the public, particularly plants from the colonial era and species, cultivars and hybrids now rare or difficult to find

·     To organize and manage open garden days and provide assistance to organized groups wishing to visit the gardens.

The latter two objectives help to raise money to assist with the maintenance and refurbishment of these beautiful and important gardens. The Group aims, through these activities, to be self-funding.

We have adopted as our logo the beautiful flower of Erythina x bidwillii ‘Blakei’, a hybrid bred at Camden Park in the 1840s, the first hybrid woody leguminous plant raised anywhere. 


In addition to the four primary objectives we have taken on the task of restoring a part of the garden that was abandoned more than fifty years ago, about an acre (0.4 hectares) in extent. This was completely overgrown with Cat’s Claw (Macfadyena unguis-cati), Olive (Olea europea) and other weeds. An 1890 plan of the gardens shows this area as shrubbery, but it now has a quite different character. The whole area has been named the John Bidwill Garden in recognition of the great contribution that Bidwill made to the gardens in the 1840s and 50s. It already contained 6 mature trees of Araucaria biwillii, the Bunya Bunya Pine, and is now also planted with Brachychiton bidwillii and Babingtonia bidwillii as well as the two forms of Erythina x bidwillii, ‘Blakei’ and ‘Camdeni’.

This garden is also home to a collection of some thirty heritage apple and pear trees, all cultivars once grown here, and all the permanently planted areas are heavily under-planted with a wide range of bulbs. Five large nursery beds take up the rest of the space.

The Group is currently developing a large new Camellia garden to house the bulk of the Camellia collection, now being brought together from all over Australia. Again the intention is to reintroduce cultivars that were once grown here, and particularly those bred here.

We have good propagation facilities available to us, a heated greenhouse with bottom heat and misting facilities, and a large covered house with extensive staging, once the hot-house, called Stove on the garden plan. A third green-house is to be restored in the future. This was once an Orchid house called the Cool House.

How you can help

We are a small group and will remain so, but there is always room for volunteers across the full range of activities. However we are particularly seeking assistance in propagation and in maintaining the permanent potted plant collection.

If you think you would like to be a part of this group please email via the Comments box below and ask for further information.