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

Rosa chinensis Jacq. var. purpurea

Dark crimson China rose.  Don describes Rosa indica purpurea as a garden variety referable either to Rosa indica Jacq. or Rosa semperflorens Curt., which see for further details.  The China roses, particularly those derived from Rosa chinensis Jacq., are repeat flowering.

Added on February 10 2010

Veronica orientalis Wender.

Fully hardy, woody perennial with toothed, usually lance-shaped leaves, and one-sided axillary racemes of pink or blue flowers in summer.   [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on February 18 2010

Lupinus sericeus Pursh var. sericeus

Perennial lupin with pubescent stems, palmate leaves with 5-9 leaflets and white to blue flowers.  To 1.2m.  [The Great Basin Naturalist vol.38, p.331/1978].

Added on October 03 2009

Rhododendron indicum ‘Optima’

Probably a cultivar or hybrid of Rhododendron indicum Sweet. Galle lists two azaleas named ‘Optima’.  The first is a late flowering amoena hybrid with large, deep pink flowers which may correspond the plant named Optima figured in Paxton's Magazine of Botany [MB p.55/1845].  The flowers are bright scarlet with deeper spots.  English bred, its parents are unknown.  This is similar to Azalea optima described in the Floricultural Cabinet: ‘Bright rosy-scarlet; flower large and showy.  the plant six feet by four.’  [FC p.137/1848], and: ‘Fine orange, with darker blotch on upper segment; flower large, good form, and very showy.’  [FC p.148/1850].  This is probably Macarthur’s plant.  Wilson & Rehder provide some information on the probable origins of this plant.  ‘Azalea “Optima” with dark scarlet flowers [and] Azalea “Prince Albert” […] were undoubtedly derivatives of R. simsii and representatives of the “Indian Azaleas” of to-day, and the first introductions into America [in 1847] as far as I can discover.’  [Wilson & Rehder p.48].

Galle’s second azalea is an old Ghent Hybrid with yellowish-white flowers, edged reddish-orange, and with a yellow blotch.  This is unlikely to be Macarthur’s plant.

Added on June 06 2009

Morus alba L.

Fully hardy, spreading tree with heart-shaped, sometimes lobed, leaves, to 20cm long, and ovoid, insipid-tasting white fruit, to 2.5cm long, ripening to pink or red, in late summer.  To 10m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Added on March 18 2010

Rhododendron indicum ‘Macranthum’

Probably a form of Rhododendron indicum Sweet.  I have no specific description but the name macranthus suggests that it had particularly large flowers. 

Added on January 16 2009

Rosa ‘Baronne de Hecheren’

Hybrid Perpetual.  The flowers were described by Paul as rosy pink, the petals large, cupped and double, a fine showy rose.  [Paul 1863, FC p.61/1855].


Added on February 12 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


Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 3: Grape Varieties and Diseases

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters III and IV deal with grape varieties found suitable for New South Wales, and diseases of the vine.

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 01, 2010 - 05:24 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:16 AM

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 - 02:57 PM

“The Blight” and the Camden Vineyards

Although the general heading of this collection of essays is ‘William Macarthur on Winemaking’ the two letters and two editorials from the Sydney Herald reproduced here are not from William’s pen. They concern the vine blight and its possible causes but also give an interesting perspective on the vineyards at Camden Park and on the esteem with which the Macarthur’s, particularly William, were held as vine growers as early as 1831. This makes them a worthwhile contribution to the story of the Camden Park wineries.

Published Jul 11, 2011 - 12:27 PM | Last updated Jul 17, 2011 - 05:31 PM

Rambles in New Zealand - Part 1

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 - 08:45 AM | Last updated Feb 29, 2012 - 03:08 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.