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

Pinus taeda L.

Fully-hardy evergreen tree with bluish young shoots, long, slender, flexible and slightly twisted leaves, to 25cm long, and oblong cones, to 10cm long.  To about 20m.  Cultivated for timber and occasionally naturalised around plantations.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers', FNSW].

Added on July 24 2009

Sinningia speciosa ‘Formosa’

A cultivar of Sinningia speciosa (Lodd.) Hiern, it has rich purple crimson flowers.  Listed in the Floricultural Cabinet as Achimenes formosa.  [FC p.194/1847].  Formosa means finely formed, handsome, beautiful.  [Stearn].

Added on September 06 2009

Rhododendron formosum Wall. var. gibsoni

The type Rhododendron formosum is a shrub or small tree with elliptic leaves, to 18cm, woolly beneath, and magenta-pink flowers with crimson spots and a basal blotch.  The form Gibsonii has fragrant, white, pink-tinted flowers.  To 5m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Millais]. The variety gibsoni is naturally occurring.

Added on June 18 2009

Noltea africana (L.) Endl.

Half hardy, evergreen, glabrous shrub with dark green elliptic leaves, to 7cm long, paler beneath, and axillary and terminal panicles of white flowers in spring.  To 3m.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on March 04 2009

Epacris purpurascens R.Br.

Stiffly erect shrub with ovate leaves and white flowers flushed with reddish-purple.  To 1.5m.  [RHSD, FNSW].

Added on April 02 2010

Anagallis linifolia ‘Splendens’

A cultivar of Anagallis linifolia L. Woody annual, to 45cm, with usually blue flowers, red beneath. [RHSD. Hortus].

Added on February 15 2009

Pyrus communis ‘Achan’

‘Fruit medium sized, obovate, flattened towards the eye. Skin varying from pale greenish-yellow, to dark greenish-green, and covered on one side with dull brownish-red. Eye open, set in a slightly depressed basin. Stalk about an inch long. Flesh tender, rich, melting, sugary, and highly perfumed. Ripe in November.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.150/1860].


Added on May 19 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


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

Rambles in New Zealand - Part 2

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 - 12:18 PM | Last updated Mar 01, 2012 - 07:02 AM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 4: Forming the Vineyard and Planting Vines

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters V and VI deal with the formation of the vineyard and planting the vines. The illustration used here is Macarthur’s Plate 1, a ground plan for a vineyard. This is probably based on his own third vineyard, commenced c.1830.

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 05, 2010 - 05:03 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:15 AM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 6: The Vintage

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters IX, X and XI deal with the vintage, including the theory and practice of fermentation and preparation for winemaking. The process of winemaking is dealt with in more detail in subsequent letters. The illustration used here is a wine label from the 1852 Muscat vintage. Follow this link to further examples of wine labels from this period.

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 15, 2010 - 03:53 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:15 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.