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

Magnolia grandiflora L.

Frost hardy, broadly conical, evergreen tree with elliptic, glossy, leathery leaves, often reddish-hairy beneath, to 20cm long, and large, cup-shaped, creamy white flowers, to 25cm across, in late summer and autumn.  To 18m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Added on March 24 2010

Begonia fischeri Schrank

Frost-tender, shrub-like perennial with a woody stem, small, smooth leaves, crimson beneath, and very small, bright pink flowers, usually in threes, in spring.  A number of cultivars are available.  To 90cm. [Krempin].  This is the plant referred to B. fischeri in Australia today. 

Added on January 16 2009

Hoya australis R.Br. ex J.Traill

Frost tender, vigorous, twining, succulent climber with broadly elliptic, fleshy leaves, densely hairy beneath, and umbels, to 6cm across, of 12-40, star-shaped, fragrant white flowers, to 4cm across, with a red spot at the base of each petal and red coronas.  To 10m.  [RHSE, FNSW, Blomberry].

Added on February 26 2009

Thysanotus juncifolius (Salisb.) J.H.Willis & Court

Frost-hardy herbaceous plant with rush-like foliage and a slender, loosely branched inflorescence of a few purple, fringed flowers in spring and summer.  [RHSD, FNSW, Beadle].

Added on January 10 2010

Manettia cordifolia Mart. var. glabra

Frost tender, vigorous climber with lance-shaped leaves, to 8cm long, and tubular, brilliant red to deep orange flowers, to 5cm long, sometimes yellow-flushed at the lobes, borne singly or in leafy panicles from late winter to summer.  To 4m.  In the variety glabra the segments of the calyx are narrower than in the type.  [RHSE, Hortus, Don].

Added on February 08 2010

Verbena x hybrida Barker’s ‘Saint Margaret’

A cultivar of Verbena x hybrida Hort. ex Vilm., the Florists’ Verbena.  ‘A light scarlet-crimson, the centre being very distinctly tinged with the beautiful violet displayed in the flowers of the Cactus speciosissimus.  The trusses of bloom are large, as is also the individual flower, which is of good substance and excellent in form.’  [FC p.245/1847].  One of the first of the improved verbenas, with widened lobes, more appropriate for the show bench.  [FC p.30/1849].


Added on January 30 2009

Ficus carica ‘Nerii’

A cultivar of Ficus carica L. ‘Fruit rather less than the Marseilles, and more long in shape. Skin pale greenish yellow. Pulp similar in colour to that of a pomegranate. It is much the richest of its species; and there is in its juice a slight degree of very delicate acid, which renders it peculiarly agreeable to most palates.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.167/1831].



Added on April 24 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


History of the Florists’ Gloxinia

In the 19th century the florists’ Gloxinia was a very popular plant with hundreds of varieties under propagation.  Out of fashion today, these beautiful and easily grown plants deserve to be revived.  William Macarthur would not have recognised the large, multi-coloured flowers that dominate the show bench today but the plants he grew, predominantly of the slipper, or wild type, were equally beautiful.

Published Mar 14, 2010 - 01:56 PM | Last updated Jul 26, 2011 - 04:59 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 - 05:11 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:54 PM

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

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

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.