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

Rosa ‘Joseph Decaisne’

Hybrid Perpetual.  ‘Joseph Decaisne’ has rose coloured flowers and was considered by Rivers to be remarkable for the elegance and perfection of its flowers, along with ‘Lucie de Barant’ and ‘William Grifiths’.  [Rivers 1854].


Added on February 12 2010

Rosa ‘Lord Palmerston’

Classified by Paul as a Bourbon Perpetual.  ‘Lord Palmerston’ has medium-sized, cherry red flowers, cupped in shape on a moderate-sized shrub.  Paul describes it as a very sweet and distinct, free-flowering rose.  He reports that it was illustrated in the Rose Annual of 1858-9.  [Paul (1863, 1888), FS p.100 vol.15/1864)].


Added on February 12 2010

Ixia species yellow and black

Unidentified Ixia, no description.

Added on November 16 2009

Habranthus tubispathus (L’Hér.) Traub

Half-hardy, upright, bulbous perennial with narrow, linear leaves and a succession of flowering stems, each bearing a small, funnel-shaped, coppery red, orange or yellow flower, in summer.  To 15cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].  

Added on May 08 2009

Salvia coccinea Juss. ex Murray

A quite variable, tender or Half-hardy herbaceous plant with cordate or ovate, toothed leaves, hairy beneath, and deep scarlet flowers.  To 60cm.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on February 09 2009

Rhododendron indicum ‘Formosa’

Probably a cultivar of Rhododendron indicum Sweet. ‘This species [Rhododendron simsii Planch.] grows in all the temperate parts of China and in south Formosa. […] It delights in rocky places, preferably cliffs, thin, dry woods and thickets, blossoms profusely, and its wealth of red flowers makes it one of the most conspicuous of all shrubs.  The habit is twiggy and much-branched with a maximum height of three metres, but averaging about half this height.’  [Wilson & Rehder p.46].

Added on June 18 2009

Flacourtia species unidentified

Flacourtia sepiaria Roxb., the ‘Hedge flacoutia’ has been particularly recommended for fencing and hedging.  Other species have also been used for hedging.  [Don].  Macarthur’s plant could well be such a species.

Added on March 16 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


Rambles in New Zealand - Part 2

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 - 11:18 AM | Last updated Mar 01, 2012 - 06:02 AM

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

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 - 02:00 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:10 AM

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 - 04:11 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:54 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.