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here were listed in the catalogues of plants published by Sir William Macarthur in 1843, 1845, 1850 and 1857 and in an unpublished catalogue dated 1861.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.

Watsonia meriana (L.) Mill. var. fulgens

For a description of the species see Watsonia meriana (L.) Mill.  Fulgens is a variety with bright scarlet flowers.  [RHSD].

Watsonia species flesh-coloured

An unidentified Watsonia species or hybrid.  No description other than flesh-coloured flowers.

Weigela florida (Bunge) A.DC.

Fully hardy spreading shrub with arching shoots, tapered oval leaves, and corymbs of funnel-shaped, dark pink flowers, to 3cm long, paler inside, in spring and summer.  To 2.5m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Widdringtonia juniperoides Endl.

Frost-tender, graceful evergreen tree with sprays of linear, greyish juvenile leaves, to 2cm long and soft to the touch. Adult leaves are scale like, pressed to the stem.  To 18m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Widdringtonia nodiflora (L.) Powrie

Shrub or small tree with brown to grey bark, spirally-arranged, needle-like juvenile leaves and scale-like, dark green adult leaves.  To 6m, occasionally larger.  [].

Wikstroemia indica (L.) C.A.Mey.

Small tree or shrub, sometimes low and spreading, sometimes arborescent, with glossy ovate leaves, to 6cm long, and terminal fower heads of few greenish yellow to white flowers, followed by red, toxic fruits.  To 1.5m.  [FNSW, Flora Australiensis].

Wisteria frutescens (L.) Poir.

Fully-hardy tall climber with leaves composed of up to 17 leaflets, and racemes, to 15cm long, of fragrant, pale lilac-purple flowers with a yellow spot, in summer.  [RHSD, Hilliers’, Hortus].

Wisteria sinensis (Sims) Sweet

Fully-hardy, vigorous, twining climber with pinnate leaves, composed of up to 13 leaflets, and dense, pendant racemes, to 30cm, of pea-like, fragrant, lilac-blue to white flowers, in spring and summer.  To 9m or more.  [RHSE, Hilliers’, Hortus].

x Amarygia parkeri ‘Ameliae’

A cultivar of x Amarygia parkeri (W.Watson) H.E.Moore. In this case a first generation hybrid between Amaryllis belladonna, the seed parent, and Brunsvigis josephinae.

John Bidwill made a number of references to ‘Ameliae’ in his notebook.  In 1841/42, he wrote:

A. belladonna by A. Josephiniana.  This cross is easily affected – a much larger quantity of seeds are formed by A. belladonna when impregnated by A. Josephiniana or Brunsvigia multiflora than are ever produced in a naturally impregnated seed vessel – the seedlings are not very distinguishable from the pure ones of the same plants; there are however many different looking plants among the seedlings so that we may expect considerable variety in the flowers – some are at least 5 times as large as others – some have broad, some narrow leaves – Oct 20/42.  At this time their second hibernation is commencing, the bulbs vary from 1 by ¾ to 3 by 1 inch in size.  March 1847.  Flowered at Camden – see Amaryllis Ameliae p7.  [Bidwill p.4].

Later he gave a detailed description of the flowers:

Amaryllis Ameliae or Josephini-belladonna flowered in March 1847.  Named in compliment to Mrs James Macarthur.  Scape 18 inches high, section elliptic, spathe purplish green, rather persistent, peduncles 3¾ inch; germen triangular, angles [undeciphered] – corolla 4 inches – segments ¾  wide, 2 upper sepalous segments reflexed as in Josephiniana – colour purplish rose variegated with white, but turning dark after expansion – Stamens 1½ inch, shorter than segments of corolla, white at base, coloured at tips.  Anthers purple before bursting.  Pollen hardly [undeciphered].  Flowers disposed in a somewhat circular manner, but a little inclined to one side.  2 plants flowered as above a 3rd with 19 flowers on a shorter scape, the flowers shorter and wider & an almost spherical germen.  [Bidwill p.7].

No detailed description of the leaves is given.

A plant from South Australia, sold to me as x Amarygia parkeri, first flowered in my garden in the autumn of 2004.  Its scape was 85cm tall, green, purplish-red at the base, bearing an umbel of 26 flowers, narrowly-funnel-shaped, up to 11cm long and 6cm across when fully expanded, very distinctly curved to present as a boat-shape.  The upper perianth segments were strongly reflexed when fully expanded, the lower hardly at all, the colour a very deep rose, paler at the base of the tube, slightly yellowish, the anthers distinctly purple before ripening.  Individual flowers were held almost horizontally on pedicels to 25cm long, although usually somewhat shorter, and purplish-green.  When the majority of flowers were open the inflorescence resembled a flat-bottomed sphere in shape.  The flowers were very strongly and pleasantly fragrant.  The leaves, oblong in shape with a rounded end, are similar to a broad-leaved Amaryllis belladonna but wider, the longest measuring 51cm and 6cm across at the broadest point near the centre.  It flowered again in 2005 with 34 flowers in the umbel.  In 2005 I had the opportunity of examining nine other plants in flower.  Although varying in size and height of scape they appeared otherwise identical, the inflorescences consisting of from 19-30 flowers.  Although different to ‘Ameliae’ in some respects, particularly length of pedicel, I have little doubt that this plant is of the same origin, i.e. a first generation hybrid of Amaryllis belladonna and a Brunsvigia species, probably josephinae.  The names under which it is often sold in South Australia, x Amarygia parkeri and Brunsvigia josephinae, are descriptive of this likely origin.  The differences between this plant and Bidwill’s ‘Ameliae’ are to be expected between individuals and clones in a first generation cross and were alluded to by Bidwill in his notebook and in a letter to The Gardeners’ Chronicle.  [GC p.470/1850].


x Amarygia parkeri ‘Blando-Josephiniana’

A cultivar of x Amarygia parkeri (W.Watson) H.E.Moore. I have seen no descriptions of this cross in flower.  As a first generation cross between Amaryllis belladonna L. var. blanda and Brunsvigia josephinae it would presumably have resembled other clones of this cross, ‘Ameliae’ for example, which see.  It perhaps would have resembled the ‘Kew Belladonna’ described in detail in the Botanical and Horticultural History section, although the origin of this cross, the type x Amarygia parkeri, is still not fully understood.  For illustration I have used a beautiful form of x Amarygia which grows at Camden Park and very much resembles the first colour depiction of x Amarygia of which I am aware, a water colour painted by Miss Fletcher at Camden Park in 1866. 


x Crataemespilus grandiflora Camus

Apparently naturally occurring Crataegus laevigata (Poir.) DC. x Mespilus germanica L. hybrid.  Frost-hardy shrub or small, broad-headed tree with ovate, occasionally lobed, hairy leaves, to 7cm, turning yellow-brown before dropping, and prolific white flowers borne in groups of 2 or 3, followed by brownish haws, resembling small medlars.  An apparently sterile hybrid found growing wild in France about 1800.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Xerochrysum bracteatum (Vent.) Tzvelev. var. album grandiflorum

Perrenial, often grown as an annual, with solitary flower heads in a range of colours, white, yellow, orange or red.  Album has white flowers.  To 90cm.  [RHSD, Hortus].  Grandiflorum is probably, as the name suggests, a form with larger flowers.

Xerochrysum bracteatum (Vent.) Tzvelev. var. monstrosum

See Xerochrysum bracteatum (Vent.) Tzvelev. var. album grandiflorum.  Monstrosum has pale yellow or pink double flowers.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Yucca aloifolia L.

Frost-tender, slow-growing, rounded shrub or small tree with a simple or branched stem, linear to narrowly lance-shaped, toothed leaves, ending in a stiff point, and, from summer to autumn, stout, erect panicles of pendant, bell-shaped, white, sometimes purple-tinged, flowers held above the foliage.  To 8m.  [RHSE, Hortus]. See also Yucca aloifolia L.f. var. draconis (L.) Voss.

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.

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