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 japonica ‘Myrtifolia’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L., ‘Myrtifolia’, the ‘Myrtle-leafed camellia’, has flowers to about 7.5cm across, deep rose when open, becoming paler, the flowers freely produced.  It was imported from China by Greville for Kew in 1806.  [Don, ICR].  The camellia usually grown as ‘Myrtifolia’ in Australia today is a later cultivar.

Added on June 30 2009

Pinus leiophylla Schiede ex Schl. & Cham.

Frost-hardy small tree with greyish leaves, to 10cm long, borne in fives, and ovoid cones, to 6cm long.  To about 10m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Added on July 20 2009

Veronica orientalis Wender.

Fully hardy, woody perennial with toothed, usually lance-shaped leaves, and one-sided axillary racemes of pink or blue flowers in summer.   [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on February 18 2010

Matthiola incana (L.) R.Br. var. graeca

See Matthiola incana 'Dwarf Stock' for a brief description of the type.  Summer flowering with white flowers.  [JD].  ‘There is a very distinct type [of Stock] known as Wallflower-leaved, which was introduced many years ago from the Grecian Archipelago, and which has shining deep-green leaves, not unlike a Wallflower.’  [Robinson - The English Flower Garden and Home Grounds 10th Edition, p.680/1907].

Added on October 02 2009

Pyrus communis ‘Morel’

Probably the pear ‘Morel’. ‘Fruit about medium sized, obovate. Skin yellow, thickly freckled with large russet spots. Eye half open, not depressed. Stalk an inch and a quarter long, stout. Flesh yellowish-white, crisp, juicy, and sweet, with an agreeable flavour. This in colour and flavour is like Hessle, but ripens in April, and is a good variety for that late season.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.201/1860].


Added on May 20 2010

Pyrus communis ‘Prince Albert’

‘Fruit medium sized, pyriform. Skin smooth, of a deep lemon-yellow colour, and frequently with a blush of red next the sun. Eye small and open, set in a shallow basin. Stalk an inch long, not depressed. Flesh yellowish-white, melting, juicy, sugary, and richly flavoured. An excellent pear, in use from February till March.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.206/1860].


Added on May 20 2010

Prunus avium ‘White Heart’

A cultivar of Prunus avium L. ‘Fruit growing in pairs or threes, middle-sized, heart-shaped, of a dull whitish yellow colour, tinged and mottled with dull muddy red on the side next the sun. Stalk two inches long, very slender, inserted in a hollow round basin. Flesh melting, juicy, of a rich and pleasant flavour. Ripe the end of July and beginning of August. [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.155/1831].


Added on April 22 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 - 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


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

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 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

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.