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

Ornithogalum conicum Jacq.

Robust, half-hardy bulbous perennial with semi-erect, lance-shaped basal leaves which wither in spring and are followed by dense racemes of many cup-shaped white flowers, tinted cream or green at the base. To 1m.  [RHSD, Hortus, CECB].  Ornithogalum conicum is very similar to the true 'Chincherinchee', Ornithogalum thyrsoides Jacq., but with smooth- not hairy-margined leaves and usually longer flower stems.  [RHSD].

Added on January 09 2010

Corylus avellana ‘Cosford’

A cultivar of Corylus avellana L. ‘Husk hairy, as long as the nut, and deeply cut. Nut large, oblong. Shell of a light brown colour, very thin, so much so as to be easily broken between the finger and thumb. Kernel large, and well flavoured. An excellent early nut, and the tree is an abundant bearer.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.131/1860].


Added on April 25 2010

Paeonia species unidentified [2]

An unidentified plant, probably a form of one of the commoner species described elsewhere.

Added on January 29 2010

Camellia japonica ‘Pompone’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. ‘Pompone’ is a very variable camellia, with several different flower forms coexisting on the same plant.  The flowers are up to 10cm across, with 10-12, large outer petals in 2 rows, and smaller inner ones in an erect, irregular mass.  The petals are typically white, the bases tinged with rose, and with a small stripe in the centre.  Some flowers are quite deep red, or rose, or variegated. [ICR, Hortus].

Added on July 04 2009

Alstroemeria aurea Graham

Frost-hardy, tuberous-rooted perennial with bright orange or yellow flowers, streaked dark red inside, in summer.  Many garden cultivars and hybrids exist.  To 1m.  [RHSE, Hortus]. 

Added on January 11 2009

Lucuma obovata H.B.&K.

Frost tender evergreen tree with entire, leathery leaves, to 10cm long, and 1, 2 or 3 white flowers produced in the leaf axils, followed by roundish, dark green fruit, the size of a small orange.  [RHSD].

Added on March 06 2009

Dianthus caryophyllus Ely’s ‘Duke of Bedford’

For generic information on the garden carnation see Dianthus caryophyllus L.  Ely’s ‘Duke of Bedford’ is a crimson bizarre carnation.  ‘A beautifully marked flower; white pure and shape good.’  [Gard. Chron. 1843].  ‘Well formed flowers, not large, but clean, and well filled with colour.’  [FC p.254/1842].

Added on April 08 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

Letters on the Culture of the Vine. Part 1: Introduction

‘Letters’ is an important book in the history of wine production in Australia and this is, I believe, the first time that the full text has been made available outside the major libraries. The value of William Macarthur’s book compared with earlier Colonial publications is that it is written from the perspective of over twenty years of experience of growing grapes and making wine in New South Wales. He does include theory from the pens of European authorities but the bulk of the book is written from personal experience. He is in effect saying ‘this is what we have found to work here’.

‘Letters’ is reproduced in 10 parts, beginning with the Introduction, which provides information on the history of the book and gives a synopsis of early experiences of vine importation and wine production.

Published Aug 27, 2010 - 05:50 PM | Last updated Nov 24, 2011 - 02:57 PM

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

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.