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

Fuchsia Banks’s ‘Nonesuch’

Fuchsia ‘Nonesuch’, Banks, 1852.  It was described as crimson with a dark purple corolla, of good shape and a free bloomer, by C. Turner, the Royal Nursery, Slough, in an advertisement in The Gardeners Chronicle of 1852.  

Added on August 18 2009

Asparagus medeoloides (L.f.) Thunb.

Frost tender twining sub-shrub with leathery, ovate cladophylles and small, solitary or paired greenish-white flowers followed by red berries.  To 1.5m.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on March 20 2009

Aponogeton distachyos L.f.

Frost-hardy aquatic perennial with strap-like, oblong, floating leaves and small, hawthorn-scented white flowers held above the water from winter to autumn.  A reliable, mainly winter-flowering plant in my garden.  [RHSE, Hortus, FNSW]. 

Added on January 16 2009

Oxalis bowiei Herb. ex Lindl.

Frost-hardy clump-forming, bulbous perennial with large, long-stalked leaves composed of 3 rounded, shallowly-notched leaflets, rather thick and leathery, hairy and often purplish beneath, and loose, umbel-like cymes of 3-12, funnel-shaped, deep rose-pink flowers with yellow-green tubes.  To 25cm.  Late summer and autumn flowering in Australia.  [RHSE, Hortus, Beadle].  

Added on February 17 2009

Rosa ‘La Tourterelle’

A Hybrid China rose.  It was described as a Hybrid Bengal rose by Gore under the name ‘Parny’, its flowers middle-sized, regular, full, of a light uniform lilac.  Paul described its flowers as rose and dove-coloured, shaded with slate, cupped, large and full, on a vigorous shrub with a branching habit.  [Paul (1848)].  Thomas Rivers, writing in the Floricultural Cabinet, described ‘La Tourterelle’ in similar terms.  [FC p.241/1835].


Added on February 11 2010

Ritchiea arborescens [Macarthur]

I have been unable to identify a plant with the name Richiea arborescens.  The only plant of the genus Ritchiea listed in Paxton’s Dictionary is Ritchiea fragrans R.Br.  Johnston’s Dictionary lists both this plant and Ritchiea polypetala Hook. ex Hook.f., the latter in the 1875 Supplement.

Added on March 04 2009

Opuntia brasiliensis (Willd.) Haw.

Frost tender, scarcely spiny cactus with cylindrical stem, ultimate branches, flattened and almost leaf-like, and yellow flowers.  To 3.5m.  [RHSD, Hortus]. 

Added on March 02 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 - 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


Florists’ flowers

Floristry, in the 17th, 18th and 19th century meaning of the word, the growing and improvement of flowering plants for the sake of their beauty alone, has a long history in China and Asia but is of relatively recent origin in Europe.  From quite humble beginnings, the small scale leisure activity of artisans and labourers, it attracted the attention of the owners of the great pleasure gardens and botanic gardens of Europe.  Specialised nurseries began to appear to service great and small gardens, providing a means of disseminating the beautiful new varieties which the nurseries were both breeding and obtaining from enthusiastic amateurs.

Published Mar 12, 2010 - 02:41 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 05:30 PM

The Fuchsias of Camden Park

The first fuchsia introduced to English gardens in 1788 was a variety of Fuchsia magellanica Lam.  This new plant soon attracted the attention of florists and, stimulated by the regular introduction of new species and varieties from South America, selection and hybridisation saw a rapidly increasing number of named varieties available through the nurseries.  The first record of a fuchsia at Camden Park is Fuchsia conica, which arrived on board the ‘Sovereign’ in February 1831.  By 1857 fifty-eight species, cultivars and hybrids had been recorded as growing in the gardens.

Published Mar 14, 2010 - 09:50 AM | Last updated Jun 24, 2011 - 02:45 PM

Some Account of the 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.” ’

This short pamphlet outlining the Camden vineyards was produced to accompany samples of wine to the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851.

Published Jan 10, 2011 - 03:54 PM | Last updated Jan 10, 2011 - 04:07 PM

Camden Park Roses

Roses were very important to the Camden Park gardens, 297 are listed in the Hortus, substantially more than the next largest genus, Camellia with 140 plants.  This brief review summarises the major types of rose grown and discusses the change in profile of roses over the decades from 1843 to 1861. 

Published Feb 13, 2010 - 02:27 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 11:02 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.