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 Floribunda’

Probably a hybrid or cultivar but I have found no description of this plant.

Added on August 23 2009

Phlox ‘Van Houtii’

It was described in the Botanical Register as a garden hybrid, possibly a cross between P. carolina and P. sauveolens, ‘leaving on a white ground a crimson evidence of its paternity.  The appearance of the plant is beautiful, far beyond anything yet seen in the genus Phlox; and we were almost going to say, beyond any thing among the hardy perennials in cultivation.’  It is a later flowerer, the plant figured having pinkish-purple flowers with white edges. the panicles were large and resembled a modern pernnial phlox. It grows to about 45cm.  [BR f.5/1843].


Added on February 28 2010

Dendranthema x grandiflorum ‘Old White’

A cultivar of Dendranthema x grandiflorum Kitam. Tassel flowered chrysanthemum.  Listed in the catalogues as ‘Old white from China’. ‘The first white flowered variety known in our gardens.  It is recorded in the Horticultural Transactions to have been raised from a sporting branch of [the Tasselled Purple], and, indeed resembles it in everything but colour.  It is a very graceful and elegant plant, and in warm situations its flowers are often more or less tinged and dotted with purple or blush colour.’  The ‘Tasselled Purple’ is described as ‘a very beautiful and rather early-flowering plant, of almost the middle size.  The flowers are very numerous, and gracefully drooping, and of middle size.’  [FC p.73/1833].  ‘Most of the [varieties] seem to be permanent; but some of them, we are told, are liable to change their colour from change of soil and situation; and the one here figured has certainly this tendency, and owes the rich colour of the inner petals to its having been planted in a warm situation, where it was exposed to a very burning sun; and may therefore be expected, under different circumstances, to return again to its original white.’  [BM t.2042/1819].

Added on April 13 2009

Prunus domestica ‘Lawrence’

A Prunus domestica L. cultivar. I have found no record of a plum called ‘Lawrence’s Orleans’ but it is probably ‘Lawrence’s Favourite’, also called ‘Lawrence’. ‘Fruit large, round, and flattened at both ends. Skin dull yellowish-green, streaked with darker green on the side exposed to the sun, veined with brown, and covered all over with thin grey bloom. Stalk half an inch long, inserted in a narrow cavity. Flesh greenish, tender, melting, and juicy, rich, sugary, and with a fine vinous, brisk flavour, separating from the stone. Shoots downy. A delicious dessert plum. Ripe in the beginning of September.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.245/1860].


Added on May 27 2010

Jasminum odoratissimum L.

Half-hardy evergreen climber with alternate, bluntish, pinnate leaves, with 3 leaflets, and fragrant whitish-yellow flowers.  [Don].

Added on January 20 2010

Brugmansia suaveolens (Willd.) Sweet

Frost tender open shrub or tree with elliptic leaves to 20cm long, and single or double, tubular-bell-shaped, night-scented, white, sometimes yellow or pink flowers, to 30cm long, in summer and autumn. The double form is more commonly grown.  To 5m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on February 27 2010

Pyrus communis ‘Louise Bonne’

‘Fruit pretty large, somewhat pyramidal, much in the manner of the Saint Germain, but more rounded at the crown, and not so slender towards the stalk, about three inches and a half long, and two inches and three quarters in diameter. Eye small, very little sunk. Stalk three quarters of an inch long, straight, rather obliquely inserted, with a curb or embossment next the fruit. Skin very smooth, of a pale green, becoming a little yellow as it approaches maturity. Flesh extremely tender, and full of an excellent, saccharine, well-flavoured juice. Ripe in November, and will keep till Christmas.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.400/1831].


Added on May 20 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


Colonial Australian Wines

The following article appeared in The Gardeners’ Chronicle of Saturday, November 25th, 1854. It includes a review of seven wines sent to the proprietors of The Gardeners’ Chronicle from Camden Park by William Macarthur, together with his notes on the wines, the vineyards in which they were produced and the economic conditions pertaining to wine production and sale in Australia. Macarthur’s brief notes, when read with the more detailed essay Some Account of the Vineyards at Camden, extends our knowledge of wine production at Camden but most importantly provides an external (but not necessarily unbiased) view of the quality of the wines.

Published Jun 30, 2011 - 02:12 PM | Last updated Jul 04, 2011 - 09:00 AM

“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

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 7: The Vintage (Continued)

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters IX, X and XI, reproduced in Part 6, dealt with the vintage, including the theory and practice of fermentation and preparation for winemaking. The vintage is continued in Part 7, letters XII and XIII giving a description of grape harvesting and crushing. The illustration used here is an excellent lithograph showing the grape harvest at the third vineyard at Camden Park in 1878.

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 24, 2010 - 05:07 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:14 AM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 10: The Wine Cellar

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letter XVIII, the final letter, describes the construction and operation of a wine cellar. Although Macarthur writes ‘I have not had so much experience practically in the construction of this description of buildings, as with the majority of the details, upon which, I have endeavoured to communicate information’ it seems likely that the building he describes in such detail is modeled on the Wine House at Camden Park, the remains of which survive. Indeed, in discussing the perfect site, he also writes that ‘such in fact is the description of site adopted at Camden’. The illustration used here is a photograph of the ruins of the Camden Park Wine House showing the brick and sandstone vats built in the cellar of this building 170 years ago. These are ‘of two sizes, which contain respectively, 900 and 1,700 gallons; and we use them, as well to ferment in, as to store the wine in afterwards.’ So well built were these vats that William Macarthur asserted ‘they will probably endure without repairs for generations’. He was certainly correct in this as, although they have not been used for more than 100 years and have been open to the elements for much of this time, three of these vats are still in good repair today. The other two are partly collapsed. In this final letter Macarthur also describes the construction of brick wine bins such as are to be seen in the cellars at Camden Park house. A photograph on one of these bins is given in Part 9.

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 Oct 03, 2010 - 03:00 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:10 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.