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

Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich. var. nutans (Ait.) Endl.

An upright tree with the trunk expanded at the base, a conical to columnar crown, and short- triangular branches. The variety nutans is deciduous, the shoots strongly erect at first, then with pendulous tips.  See also see Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Added on August 07 2009

Rosa ‘Madame Masson’

Hybrid Perpetual.  ‘An immense rose with most regular petals, larger and more finely formed than ‘La Reine’, but of the most splendid crimson lilac colour’, according to The Gardeners’ Chronicle of 1857.  ‘Too much can hardly be said, its doubleness and deep purplish crimson colour must ensure it a place in every collection’, wrote a correspondent in 1860.  [Paul (1863, 1888)].


Added on February 12 2010

Aronia arbutifolia (L.) Medik.

Deciduous shrub with elliptical leaves, to 8cm long, corymbs of whiotish flowers followed by red fruits hanging from the bush.  There are a number of garden varieties.  It has brilliant autumn foliage.  To 2.5m.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on February 05 2010

Rhododendron calendulacea Lee’s ‘Triumphans’

A cultivar of Rhododendron calendulaceum (Michx.) Torr.  Azalea triumphans was exhibited by Mr. Green, gardener to Sir E. Antrobus: ‘A pretty rosy blush, with dark crimson spots and blotch on the upper part.  It is a first rate variety. Flowers large, and the plant four feet by four feet.’

Added on June 08 2009

Hibiscus syriacus L. var. purpurea plena

For information on the species see Hibiscus syriacus L. var. alba simplexPurpurea plena is a form with double red to purple flowers.  [PD].

Added on January 13 2010

Fragaria x ananassa ‘British Queen’

A cultivar of Fragaria x ananassa Duchesne. ‘Fruit large, sometimes very large, roundish, flattened, and cockscomb shaped, the smaller fruit ovate or conical. Skin pale red, colouring unequally, being frequently white or greenish-white at the apex. Flesh white, firm, juicy, and with a remarkably rich and exquisite flavour.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.267/1860].

Added on June 06 2010

Cyathea australis (R.Br.) Domin

Tall tree fern, the trunk mostly covered by the persisten bases of the stipes, the fronds, to 3m long, with conical spines on the base of the stipes.  To 20m.  [FNSW, Beadle].

Added on February 10 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


Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 8: Fermentation of the Wine

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters XIV and XV describe primary and secondary fermentation of the wine. The illustration used here is a photograph of the cellars at Camden Park House.

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 Sep 30, 2010 - 05:11 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:14 AM

Vineyards at Camden

The vineyards of Camden Park are widely considered to be the first commercial vineyards in Australia. James and William Macarthur were certainly not the first to sell wine for profit or the first to export wine but were pioneers in the development of vineyards intended to produce a profit from the sale of quality wine. Prior to this wine was produced from small vineyards planted primarily for home consumption, with excess sold and sometimes exported.

The first vineyard was small, only one acre in extent, and largely experimental, but the second and third were on a much grander scale. As the closing words of this pamphlet demonstrate, James and William certainly had a vision of what was possible for Australian wine production, as they had previously for fine Merino wool.

‘Whether these Colonies can also hope to provide for the benefit of every class here at home, and at an equally moderate rate another exportable product, remains yet to be seen — so that even the tired artizan, in his hours of relaxation from toil, may not unseldom exclaim, “Go Fetch me a quart of (Australian) Sack.” ’

Published Aug 25, 2010 - 05:34 PM | Last updated Aug 25, 2010 - 05:51 PM

The Family Amaryllidaceae at Camden Park

Amaryllidaceae was a very significant family of plants in the history of the Camden Park gardens.  The following Essay provides a little background to these important plants.

Published Jan 01, 2010 - 04:11 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:54 PM

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

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.