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

Verbena x hybrida ‘Wonder of Scarlet’

A cultivar of Verbena x hybrida Hort. ex Vilm., the Florists’ Verbena.  Scarlet.  ‘Wonder of Scarlet’ was included in ‘a selection of clean and rich-coloured varieties, forming fine single trusses of bloom.’  William Wood of Fishergate Nursery.  [Gard. Chron. 1848].

Added on April 24 2009

Camellia japonica ‘Crassinervis’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. ‘Bud large, scales yellowish; flower of a medium size, very double, irregular, cherry-red, No.3, sometimes of a clear red, slightly marked with white; petals generally roundish, and crenated at the summit; those of the centre rumpled, and deformed; stamens sometimes apparent, and at others demi-transformed.-Beautiful.’  [Berlèse Monography p.58/1838].

Added on June 21 2009

Lotus jacobaeus L.

Half-hardy, erect perennial with pinnate leaves, composed of 5 linear leaflets, to 4cm long, and axillary clusters of pea-like, chocolate to purple-brown flowers plus some yellow on the same plant, mainly in summer.  To 90cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on December 23 2009

Pachystachys coccinea (Aubl.) Nees

Frost tender, erect shrub with robust, simple or sparsely-branched stems, slightly wrinkled, heavily veined, elliptic leaves, and terminal spikes of tubular, 2-lipped scarlet flowers, with pale green bracts, to 15cm long, in winter.  To 2m.  [RHSE].

Added on February 22 2010

Clinanthus incarnatus (Kunth) Meerow

Bulbous perennial with umbels of up to 6 pendant, tubular, white, yellow, pink or scarlet flowers produced in spring, the strap-shaped leaves produced with the flowers but elongating to 75cm after flowering.  To 60cm.  [RHSE, Baker Am.].  

Added on May 27 2009

Rhus coriaria L.

Hardy, deciduous, small to medium-sized shrub or small tree with pinnate leaves, with up to 21 toothed leaflets. and greenish-white female flowers in loose terminal panicles in summer followed by brownish-purple fruits.  To 3m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Added on April 02 2010

Ixia maculata L. var. L. var. columellaris

A form of Ixia maculata with purple flowers with bluish spots.  [RHSD, Hortus].  The flower figured in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine has pinkish-purple flowers with a dark red centre.

Added on November 13 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 - 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


Memorandum from the Antipodes: Colouring of Grapes

The following Memorandum was submitted to The Gardeners’ Chronicle by William Macarthur in 1854. Although written in response to a particular problem aired in the columns of the newspaper some months earlier, it adds considerably to our understanding of commercial wine production at Camden Park, in particular the preferred grapes and the style of wine best suited to the colonial conditions. We are also given insights into the problems caused by ‘sudden abstraction of labour attending our gold crisis’, which caused considerable disruption of agrarian and other commercial activities in Australia for some years.

Published Jun 30, 2011 - 04:42 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:12 AM

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 - 03:41 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 05:30 PM

Camellias at Camden Park

Most of the camellias grown at Camden Park are cultivars of Camellia japonica L., the ‘Common camellia’, a native of China, Korea and Japan.  The first plant introduced to Britain in 1739, and figured in Curtis's Botanical Magazine [BM t.42/1788], is close to the wild type.  It bears single red flowers in early spring but is rarely planted now and was not grown at Camden Park.  William Macarthur was an important breeder of camellias and many of the cultivars described in the Hortus were bred by him.  Unfortunately few of these have survived.  

Published Mar 13, 2010 - 02:43 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:46 PM

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 - 02:11 PM | Last updated Mar 01, 2012 - 07:02 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.