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

Riedlea tiliifolia DC.

Frost tender shrub or small tree with toothed leaves and terminal corymbs of numerous small pink flowers.  To 60cm.  [Don].

Added on March 07 2010

Agapanthus praecox Willd.

Half-hardy clump-forming, rhizomatous evergreen perennial with long, strap-like leaves and rounded umbels of deep blue, trumpet-shaped flowers in spring. The species varies somewhat in flower colour and size, number of flowers to the umbel and in overall size. Not surprisingly there are now many garden forms. To 90cm.  [RHSE, Hortus, CECB].

Added on December 29 2009

Fragaria vesca f. semperflorens ‘White Alpine’

Low growing herb, the 3-lobed leaves forming a basal rosette, spreading by stolons, flowers white in 2-7 flowered scape. The edible fruits are usually a red berry, to 1cm long, the achenes (the seed-like fruits) evenly scattered over the surface. To 30cm. [RHSD, Hortus]. This is a white-fruited form.

‘Fruit white, conical; bearing through the summer and autumn.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.482/1831].

Added on June 06 2010

Gladiolus ‘Blakii’

Camden Park hybrid.  Gladiolus x colvilli x (Gladiolus x colvilli x G. carneus).  Bidwill described Blakii as ‘a fine dark pink with dark red spots, a very large flower – good shape’, in a letter to Edward Macarthur Bowman, 22nd November, 1844.  [MP A4297 p.23]. 

Added on October 20 2009

Rosa ‘Lane’

Hybrid Perpetual.  Paul describes the flowers as rich purplish rose, sometimes vivid, large and full with an expanded form, occasionally fine, on a moderate, erect shrub.  [Paul (1848, 1863)].



Added on February 11 2010

Rhododendron luteum Sweet

Fully-hardy, medium-sized deciduous shrub with oblong leaves, to 10cm, which turn to rich shades of crimson, purple and orange in autumn.  The strongly fragrant, yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers are born in a rounded truss in spring.  To 3.5m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers', Millais].  

Added on June 10 2009

Muscari neglectum Guss. ex Ten.

Fully-hardy bulbous perennial with semi-erect, almost cylindrical leaves and dense racemes of blue-black flowers with white mouths in spring.  To 20cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on January 07 2010


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


Camellias at Camden Park

Most of the camellias grown at Camden Park are cultivars of Camellia japonica L., the ‘Common camellia’, a native of China, Korea and Japan.  The first plant introduced to Britain in 1739, and figured in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine [BM t.42/1788], is close to the wild type.  It bears single red flowers in early spring but is rarely planted now and was not grown at Camden Park.  William Macarthur was an important breeder of camellias and many of the cultivars described in the Hortus were bred by him.  Unfortunately few of these have survived.  

Published Mar 13, 2010 - 02:43 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:46 PM

Australian native plants in the Hortus

Australian native plants were important to the gardening enterprises of Camden Park.  Even today Australian trees such as Araucaria species, Agathis robusta, Brachychiton populneum, Lagunaria pattersonia, Grevillea robusta and several species of palm very much define the landscape of the gardens.  Australian plants, particularly native orchids and ferns, were sent to England in large numbers in exchange for the exotic plants that were so much desired by Macarthur and his fellow colonists.

Published Mar 13, 2010 - 05:22 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:32 PM

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

Rambles in New Zealand - part 3

Rambles in New Zealand is the only published work of John Carne Bidwill of any length and an important document in the early colonial history of that country.
It is included in the Hortus for a number of reasons but mainly because, together with his letters to The Gardeners’ Chronicle, it completes the known published works of Bidwill. His importance in the history of the Camden Park gardens and the lack of any substantive treatment of his life and achievements make it appropriate to include all his published work here.
Rambles is published here in four parts:
Part 1 – dedication, Preface, pages 1-29
Part 2 – pages 30-59
Part 3 – pages 60-89
Part 4 – pages 90 -93, List of Subscribers


Published Feb 29, 2012 - 02:11 PM | Last updated Mar 01, 2012 - 07:02 AM

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.