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

Camellia sasanqua Thunb.

Fully-hardy upright to spreading shrub or small tree with elliptic leaves and fragrant, single, cup-shaped white flowers, 5-7cm across, in autumn.  To 6m.  Many cultivars exist in a range of colours.  [RHSE, Hilliers’].  

Added on July 05 2009

Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.

Tender herbaceous perennial with a dense rosette of up to 50 leaves. up to 1.5m long, the cone-like inflorescence becoming a swollen fruit, to 30cm long, the well known pineapple.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on April 01 2010

Tagetes coccinea [catalogue error]

Almost certainly an uncorrected error with Thunbergia coccinea intended. Included here to ensure that all catalogued plants are represented.

Added on October 15 2009

Sinningia speciosa (Lodd.) Hiern

Frost-tender tuberous perennial with rosettes of scalloped dark green leaves, flushed red beneath, and solitary or clustered, nodding, tubular, bell-shaped purplish flowers in summer.  To 30cm.  A parent of most of the modern gloxinias, it was originally called Gloxinia speciosa by the English nurseryman Conrad Loddiges and modern cultivars occur in a large range of colours.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on February 01 2009

Malus domestica ‘French Crab’

‘Fruit middle-sized, somewhat globular, about two inches and a quarter deep, and two inches and a half in diameter, perfectly free from angles on its sides. Eye small, almost closed, flat, surrounded by a few very small, angular, crumpled plaits. Stalk half an inch long, slender, deeply inserted, not protruding beyond the base. Skin rather thick, deep clear green, with numerous white dots interspersed; on the sunny side, shaded with a pale livid brown; but the whole becomes yellow with keeping. Flesh very hard, pale green, or yellowish white. Juice not plentiful, sub-acid, with a slight aromatic flavour. An excellent culinary apple, from November till the November following.’ [George Lindley – Orchard guide p.45/1831].


Added on April 15 2010

Stemona tuberosa Lour.

Frost tender, tall-growing twining plant with pointed, somewhat heart-shaped leaves and bell-shaped, greenish pink or yellow flowers in summer.  [RHSD].

Added on March 25 2009

Cupressus australis Low ex Gord.

A synonym of Cupressus sempervirens L.  See Cupressus sempervirens L. var. stricta for a description.

Added on August 02 2009


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


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

Rambles in New Zealand - part 3

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 - 01:11 PM | Last updated Mar 01, 2012 - 06:02 AM

Raising Tropaeolum tricolor from seed

If you have tried growing Tropaeolum tricolor from seed you have probably encountered difficulty and obtained a low germination rate.  This was certainly my experience before I took this advice.

Published Jan 01, 2010 - 02:33 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 03:38 PM

A Brief History of the Camden Park Gardens

William Macarthur, born at Parramatta, New South Wales in 1800, was the youngest son of the colonial pioneers John and Elizabeth Macarthur. He became an accomplished agronomist, horticulturist, viticulturist and gardener, but above all he was a plantsman. Although he certainly sought to create a pleasant gentleman’s garden at Camden his real interest was in growing useful, unusual, exotic and beautiful plants for their own sake as well as for their utility. He established his first garden at Camden in 1820. More than 3000 species, hybrids and cultivars were grown in the gardens up to 1861, all of them described in the Hortus. Many more were grown in the succeeding decades. Of course not all of these plants succeeded at Camden. William was an innovator and put much energy into determining which plants could be acclimatised and which could not and he became an authority on the subject, his expertise sought by such bodies as the Queensland Acclimatisation Society, founded in 1862.

The historic value of the Camden Park gardens is almost inestimable.  Many changes have occurred in the gardens in the almost 200 years since they were first laid out, but the basic framework of the gardens remains with many historically significant trees and shrubs surviving. Over the years the diversity of plants in the gardens has naturally diminished. This has occurred mainly since World War II, partly due to a lack of labour to maintain and replace the more sensitive species and varieties. The economic conditions of today make it very difficult to manage extensive private gardens but John and Edwina Macarthur-Stanham, the present owners, have done much to halt and reverse the post-war decline, and there is a very real desire on the part of the family to maintain and develop the gardens.

Published Jun 27, 2010 - 02:25 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 02:33 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.