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

Phlox x leopoldiana Paxt.

Paxton’s Dictionary describes Phlox Leopoldiana as a rose-coloured hybrid, introduced in 1847.  Its general colour is a bright rosy-crimson, the eye a rich deep crimson, and the throat white, making a striking contrast.  [FC p.28/1848].  The RHS Dictionary describes the flower as deep rose with a white eye and classifies it as a grandiflora type, growing to about 45cm.  

Added on February 06 2009

Malus domestica ‘Manx Codlin’

‘Fruit, large; conical, and slightly angular. Skin, smooth, greenish-yellow at first, but changing as it ripens to clear pale-yellow, tinged with rich orange-red on the side next the sun ; but sometimes, when fully exposed, assuming a clear bright-red cheek. Eye, small and closed, set in a small, plaited, and pretty deep basin. Stalk, three quarters of an inch long, more or less fleshy, sometimes straight, but generally obliquely inserted, and occasionally united to the fruit by a fleshy protuberance on one side of it. Flesh, yellowish-white, firm, brisk, juicy and slightly perfumed. A very valuable early culinary apple, of first-rate quality. It is ripe in the beginning of August, and continues in use till November.’ [Hogg p.131/1851].

Added on April 16 2010

Gladiolus cardinalis x (x gandavensis) [#10]

Gladiolus cardinalis x Gladiolus x gandavensis hybrid no.10 in Macarthur’s notebook no.5 in an entry dated 1847.  Slender scape, flowers middling size and shape, colour crimson scarlet, inside flower lobes partly yellow.  [MP A2948-5]. 

Added on October 22 2009

Malus domestica ‘Sharland’s Favourite’

I have found no description of this apple in the contemporary literature.

Added on April 16 2010

Lilium maculatum Thunb.

Lilium maculatum is a stem-rooting, dwarf lily with lance-shaped leaves, to 15cm, flowering stems to 60cm, bearing cup-shaped, erect, yellow, orange or red flowers, variably spotted, in summer.  It is unknown in the wild but was much cultivated in Japan and there are many named garden varieties.  Possibly a hybrid of Lilium dauricum Ker-Gawl. and Lilium concolor Salisb., L. maculatum has given rise to a large number of very showy garden forms.  See also Lilium dauricum Ker-Gawl.  [RHSE, Hortus].  

Added on February 16 2009

Salix fragilis L. var. russelliana

A large tree with wide-spreading branches, rugged bark and brittle twigs. the slender catkins appear with the leaves in spring.  To 25m.  It commonly grows with Salix alba L. and hybrids between the two occur naturally.  Intermediate between the parents they are called Salix x rubens Hort.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Added on March 26 2010

Martynia fragrans Lindl.

Tender annual with broad leaves, usually five-lobed, and racemes of fragrant deep purplish-crimson flowers.  To 60cm.  [RHSD, Hortus].  

Added on February 12 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


Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 10: The Wine Cellar

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letter XVIII, the final letter, describes the construction and operation of a wine cellar. Although Macarthur writes ‘I have not had so much experience practically in the construction of this description of buildings, as with the majority of the details, upon which, I have endeavoured to communicate information’ it seems likely that the building he describes in such detail is modeled on the Wine House at Camden Park, the remains of which survive. Indeed, in discussing the perfect site, he also writes that ‘such in fact is the description of site adopted at Camden’. The illustration used here is a photograph of the ruins of the Camden Park Wine House showing the brick and sandstone vats built in the cellar of this building 170 years ago. These are ‘of two sizes, which contain respectively, 900 and 1,700 gallons; and we use them, as well to ferment in, as to store the wine in afterwards.’ So well built were these vats that William Macarthur asserted ‘they will probably endure without repairs for generations’. He was certainly correct in this as, although they have not been used for more than 100 years and have been open to the elements for much of this time, three of these vats are still in good repair today. The other two are partly collapsed. In this final letter Macarthur also describes the construction of brick wine bins such as are to be seen in the cellars at Camden Park house. A photograph on one of these bins is given in Part 9.

The entire book is reproduced in the Hortus in ten parts. For background information and Macarthur’s Introduction to the book see Part 1.



Published Oct 03, 2010 - 03:00 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:10 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 - 03:33 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 03:38 PM

Edmund Blake - Gardener

Edmund Blake is important in the history of Camden Park gardens, where he was employed as a gardener from 1837 until probably at least 1867.  William Macarthur named three hybrid plants in his honour, Passiflora  ‘Blakei’, Gladiolus ‘Blakei’ and Erythrina ‘Blakei, testament to the high regard in which he was held.  Erythrina ‘Blakei’ has survived to this day. It is a magnificent shrub worthy of a place in any large garden.

Published Apr 03, 2010 - 03:35 PM | Last updated Aug 14, 2012 - 04:55 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.