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

Aphelandra aurantiaca (Scheidw.) Lindl.

Evergreen shrub with broad ovate leaves, wavy at the margins, and large orange-scarlet flowers.  To 90cm.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on February 25 2009

Ixia capillaris Thunb. var. aulica

Cormous perennial with up to 4 lance-shaped leaves, to 30cm, a slender flower stem, to 60cm, usually branched and bearing up to 7, lilac, pink, mauve, violet or red-purple flowers in spring or summer.  A variable species and descriptions in the literature are correspondingly variable.  [RHSD, CECB].  

Added on November 10 2009

Iris xiphium Desf. var. lusitanica (Ker-Gawl.) Franco

For a description of the type species see Iris xiphium Desf.  Lusitanica is no more than a colour form of the very variable Iris xiphium differing from the type by having almost entirely yellow falls, rather than blue with a central yellow mark.  

Added on November 03 2009

Tagetes patula L.

Half hardy, compact annual with feathery, pinnate leaves and solitary, often double flower heads in a colour range from yellow to red-brown, self-coloured or multi-coloured, depending on strain, born in succession from late spring to autumn.  To 35cm, sometimes taller.  There are many garden cultivars.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on September 17 2009

Juniperus sabina L. var. tamariscifolia Ait.

Fully-hardy, low growing, vigorous, evergreen shrub with horizontal tiers of spreading, short, sharply pointed, mainly juvenile leaves, borne in pairs or threes and bright green.  To 2m.  Tamariscifolia is a naturally occurring variety of Juniperus sabina from the mountains of southern Europe.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Added on August 03 2009

Reseda odorata L.

Fully hardy, erect to slightly spreading perennial, usually grown as an annual, with loose, conical, raceme-like heads of tiny star-shaped, highly fragrant, yellowish-green or white to reddish-green flowers from summer to early autumn.  To 60cm.  The flowers have been prized for centuries for their fragrance, which lasts for months, even when cut and dried.  It is still cultivated in France for the essential oils, which are used in perfumery.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on February 15 2009

Lophospermum erubescens D.Don

Tender evergreen climber with toothed, triangular leaves and rose-coloured flowers.  [RHSD, Hortus].  See also Lophospermum scandens D.Don.

Added on September 24 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 - 03:47 PM

Working Bee dates

Working Bee dates for 2012.

Published Jun 29, 2010 - 02:59 PM | Last updated Jan 10, 2012 - 04:19 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 - 01:58 PM | Last updated Jan 09, 2012 - 04:31 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

Raising Tropaeolum tricolor from seed

If you have tried growing Tropaeolum tricolor from seed you have probably encountered difficulty and obtained a low germination rate.  This was certainly my experience before I took this advice.

Published Jan 01, 2010 - 02:33 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 03:38 PM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine. Part 1: Introduction

‘Letters’ is an important book in the history of wine production in Australia and this is, I believe, the first time that the full text has been made available outside the major libraries. The value of William Macarthur’s book compared with earlier Colonial publications is that it is written from the perspective of over twenty years of experience of growing grapes and making wine in New South Wales. He does include theory from the pens of European authorities but the bulk of the book is written from personal experience. He is in effect saying ‘this is what we have found to work here’.

‘Letters’ is reproduced in 10 parts, beginning with the Introduction, which provides information on the history of the book and gives a synopsis of early experiences of vine importation and wine production.

Published Aug 27, 2010 - 05:50 PM | Last updated Nov 24, 2011 - 01:57 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.