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

Achillea sibirica Ledeb. subsp. mongolica (Fisch. ex Spreng.) Heimerl

Fully hardy herbaceous plant with pinnatifid leaves and large flower heads bearing corymbs of white flowers on long, sometimes branching stems.  To 90cm.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on February 01 2009

Rechsteineria rutila Kuntze

Tall, hairy gesneriad with crenate leaves and solitary scarlet, tubular flowers emerging from the leaf axial.  To 1m.  [RHSD].

Added on February 01 2009

Nolana humifusa (Gouan) Johnst.

Half hardy spreading perennial with lilac-blue flowers with white, lilac-blue streaked, throats in summer.  To 15cm spreading.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on February 12 2009

Araucaria angustifolia (Bertol.) Kuntze

Frost-tender tree with somewhat descending branches, raised at the ends, spreading horizontally in whorls of up to 8, and with globose female cones to 16.5 cm. The lower branches tend to be lost early, the mature trees having tall, bare trunks topped with wide-spreading branches.  To 35m.  [RHSD, Hortus]. 

Added on January 24 2009

Camellia japonica ‘Portia’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. Camden Park bred, seedling 35/51.  ‘Crimson, two rows of outer petals, large, of thick substance, inner numerous and smaller like Paeoniflora but much darker and more regular.’  William Macarthur.  [MP A2948-6].

Added on July 01 2009

Viola odorata L.

Fully-hardy rhizomatous, semi-evergreen perennial with sweetly scented white or blue flowers in late winter and early spring.  Self-seeds readily.  Excellent for a wild garden.  There are numerous garden cultivars.  To 20cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on April 24 2009

Ismene amancaes (Ruiz & Pav.) Herb.

Bulbous perennial, the strap-like basal leaves fused at the base to form a false stem which produces a loose umbel of 2-6 scented, deep yellow flowers in summer.  To 30cm.  [RHSE, Baker Am.].  

Added on May 17 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


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

“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

A Few Words on Gesneraceous Plants

The family Gesnereaceae was an important contributor to the diversity of the colonial garden of Camden Park, with 97 plants described in the Hortus, mainly from the genera Achimenes and Sinningia. This short article provides a good overview of the history of Gesneriads as garden plants, and some very useful advice on their culture. Unfortunately I have lost the source reference, but the content suggests that it was written for an Australian colonial readership. The article is simply signed L.W.

Published Jun 26, 2010 - 03:01 PM | Last updated Jun 26, 2010 - 03:19 PM

History of the Florists’ Gloxinia

In the 19th century the florists’ Gloxinia was a very popular plant with hundreds of varieties under propagation.  Out of fashion today, these beautiful and easily grown plants deserve to be revived.  William Macarthur would not have recognised the large, multi-coloured flowers that dominate the show bench today but the plants he grew, predominantly of the slipper, or wild type, were equally beautiful.

Published Mar 14, 2010 - 01:56 PM | Last updated Jul 26, 2011 - 04:59 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.