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

Rhododendron maximum L.

A tall shrub or small tree with leaves to 10cm long, and compact trusses of slightly fragrant, funnel-shaped, light rose-purple or white flowers, spotted yellow-green inside , in early summer.  To 3m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers’, Millais].

Added on June 18 2009

Fritillaria latifolia Willd.

Bulbous perennial with lance-shaped leaves, a stem to 30cm and usually single, bowl-shaped, pendant flowers, variable in colour but usually purplish with a darker chequered pattern.  [RHSD].

Added on January 10 2010

Ruschia maxima (Haw.) L.Bolus

Succulent shrub to 1.5m, leaves small, to 5cm long, half-moon shaped and 3-angled, flowers rose-coloured, 2cm across. [Hortus, Flowering Plants of Africa].


Added on February 11 2009

Hippeastrum x splendens Herb.

William Herbert describes his Hippeastrum splendens as ‘Bis hybridum, Rutilo-Equestri-vittatum. - Splendid Knight's-star-lily, twice muled.’ He then provides a detailed description. ‘In consequence of a confusion of labels I have some doubts whether the female parent of these mules was produced from Vittatum by the pollen of Reginae or of Equestre. Its flower was of a very bright scarlet with a white star, and having been deprived of its anthers and impregnated by the dust of Rutilum, it produced 50 or 60 seedlings, most of which have now flowered, varying a little in shape and colour, and some of them scarcely distinguishable from Rutilum, except by a little vestige in the mouth of the tube of the beard, which is derived from the two other species. The flower which is represented was amongst the brightest of the seedlings, but no painting can approach the splendour of the natural hue. One alone of them had the coroll considerably larger. The coroll of Mule Amaryllideae seems to follow the size of the male parent, which might indeed have been expected, since the coroll bears the filaments, and therefore belongs to the male portion of the flower. The strong scent of Vittatum is entirely lost in this second cross, all the seedlings having proved scentless, like Rutilum, with which they also conform in the production of an infinity of offsets, but the offsets are not blind or dormant, like those of Rutilum. They flower freely in a cool greenhouse, appearing to be as hardy as Vittatum, and will doubtless succeed well out of doors. The leaves are narrower than those of Vittatum, and they will bloom in a much smaller pot.’ [Herbert’s Appendix p.52/1821].In his Amaryllidaceae Herbert briefly reports in great length on the early hybridisation experiments with Hippeastrum. [Herbert p.141 and elsewhere].


Added on May 10 2009

Dendranthema x grandiflorum ‘Curled Lilac’

A cultivar of Dendranthema x grandiflorum Kitam. Incurving ranunculus flowered chrysanthemum.  ‘It grows tall, and flowers early, and is an elegant plant.’  [FC p.73/1833].  


Added on January 28 2009

Columnea schiedeana Schltdl.

Frost-tender trailing shrub or climber with dark green leaves, crimson beneath, and numerous long yellow-brown flowers, blotched and banded dark red, all along its stems, which tend to root at the joints.  [RHSD].

Added on August 28 2009

Schinus molle L.

Frost tender, usually broad-headed tree with slender, pendant branches, pinnate leaves, to 30cm long, composed of up to 41 narrow leaflets, and pendant panicles, to 20cm long, of tiny whitish flowers from winter to summer, followed by rose-pink fruit.  To 25m.  Although ostensibly tender it thrives in the Camden district.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].  The fruits have been eaten and sold as pink peppercorns.

Added on March 17 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


Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 3: Grape Varieties and Diseases

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters III and IV deal with grape varieties found suitable for New South Wales, and diseases of the vine.

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 01, 2010 - 05:24 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:16 AM

Thomas Harris (1885-1948)

Thomas Harris, born in Worcestershire in 1885, was a gardener at Camden Park from 1913 to 1938.

Published Aug 16, 2012 - 11:09 AM | Last updated Mar 16, 2015 - 02:12 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

Camden Park Nursery Group

We are a small voluntary group helping to maintain and preserve the historic Camden Park gardens. There are regular meeting days, currently Tuesday and Saturday but this can be varied, but most members contribute through Working Bees held typically every third Sunday.

Published Jun 27, 2010 - 04:16 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 04:32 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.