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.

Plants in the Hortus

Many of the plants described here were listed in the catalogues of plants published by Sir William Macarthur in 1843, 1845, 1850 and 1857 and in an unpublished catalogue dated 1861. A large number of additional plants were identified from correspondence, gardening notebooks and other documents surviving in the archives. The Hortus attempts to describe all the plants grown in the gardens at Camden Park and those grown in horticultural enterprises such as orchards and vineyards and includes plants grown outside the gardens in the park-like environs of the Camden Park estate. The Hortus plants served a wide range of purposes in the 19th century household; as ornament, living fences, fibre, dyestuffs, medicines, food and drink from the garden, orchard and vineyard and many others.

Vitis vinifera ‘Verdot’

‘One of the “claret” grapes. Season, mid-season (3rd period). Merit, first class, although not so much perfumed as the Cabernet. Vine growth vigorous, spreading. Leaves medium-sized, longer than broad, when young covered with a characteristic silvery-white down; when full grown three or five-lobed, teeth uneven, sinus rather open and not very deep; upper surface smooth, uneven, of a paler green than Cabernet, underside downy. Fruit bunches small, shouldered. Berries round, small, dark purple, with several small green berries amongst the others; thick skin, large seeds.’ [Despeissis p.263/1903].



Vitis vinifera ‘White Grape No 2’

‘No. 2 – White Grape (No. 57/1, or No. 57 of Mr. Busby’s private collection, misnamed in the catalogue Malbec, which is not there). Tolerably well provided with saccharine matter, but very sharp to the taste, very early ripe, bears rather better than the preceding [Pineau Gris], and at an earlier age. Though of rather more vigorous growth, may be planted at the same distance as No. 1. Planted upon stony soils, it may contribute, mixed with others, to produce a fine wine, but should never, I think, be used alone’. [Maro p.22/1844]. 




Vitis vinifera ‘White Grape No 39’

This is grape no. 39 of Busby’s personal collection. I have no description at present.



Vitis vinifera ‘White Grape No 56’

This is grape no. 56 of Busby’s personal collection. I have no description at present.



Vitis vinifera ‘Xeres’

This is possibly the Spanish grape usually known as ‘Graciano’, a red wine grape used in both Spain and the Languedoc-Roussilon region of France, primarily for blending with other varieties. It is unclear why this wine grape should be included among Vines for Table Only in the Camden Park catalogues. More research needed.



Vitis vinifera L.

Climbing or scrambling deciduous shrub, leaves palmately-lobed, orbicular, the flowers insignificant, pale green, in dense panicles, followed by edible green to nearly black, globular or ovoid fruits. Individual stems to 35m. [RHSD, Hortus].

Vitis vulpina L. var. rubra

Vigorous, dioecious, deciduous, woody-based climber with ovate, coarsely-toothed, usually 3-lobed leaves, to 20cm across, and very fragrant flowers followed by purple-black fruits in female plants.  ‘Rubra’ is a variety with red, bronze-tinged leaves in autumn.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers’].  

Wachendorfia paniculata Burm.

Rhizomatous perennial with usually hairy, lance-shaped leaves, to 70cm, and lax to dense panicles of pale yellow to bright apricot flowers in spring.  To 70cm.  [RHSD, CECB].

Wachendorfia thyrsiflora L.

Tuberous rooted perennial with narrowlt lance-shaped, plicate leaves and stems bearing terminal panicles of yellow flowers.  To 60cm.  [RHSD, Hortus, CECB].

Watsonia aletroides (Burm. f.) Ker-Gawl.

Cormous perennial with sword-shaped leaves and mostly unbranched stems bearing up to 12 tubular orange-red flowers in winter or spring.  To 60cm.  [RHSE, CECB].  

Watsonia borbonica (Pourr.) Goldbl.

Cormous perennial warrowly sword-shaped leaves and branched spikes of up to 20 slightly irregular, purple-pink, rarely white flowers in summer.  To 2m.  [RHSE, CECB].  

Watsonia humilis Mill.

Cormous perennial with sword-shaped leaves and usually unbranched spikes of up to 12 tubular flowers, white with pink outside or pink with darker pink outside, in spring or summer.  To 30cm.  [RHSE, CECB].  

Watsonia hybrids

Undescribed Watsonia hybrids.

Watsonia marginata (L.f.) Ker-Gawl.

Cormous perennial with broad, to 50mm wide, sword-shaped leaves and branched stems of few to many tubular, mauve-pink flowers, rarely white or purple, with white and purple markings in spring and early summer.  To 2m.  [RHSE, Hortus, CECB].  

Watsonia meriana (L.) Mill.

Cormous perennial with sword-shaped leaves and branched spikes of up to 25 tubular, bright red, occasionally scarlet or white, flowers in summer.  To 2m.  Sometimes produces cormels at the leaf nodes.  [RHSE, CECB, Hortus].  

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