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

Ixia ‘Parramattensis’

Probably a Camden Park hybrid but no description is extant.

Added on November 10 2009

Prunus persica ‘Royal’

A Prunus persica (L.) Batsch. cultivar. ‘Flowers small, pale red. Fruit large, 10 or 11 inches in circumference, of a roundish figure, rather inclining to oval. Suture deep, having the flesh swelled boldly and equally on both sides, with a slight depression on the summit, where there is usually a small, pointed nipple. Skin pale green or yellowish next the wall; but of a pale red, marbled and streaked with darker shades on the sunny side, cavity of the base rather small, flesh delicate, melting, of a greenish white, but red at the stone, from which it separates. Juice plentiful, and, in a warm season, highly flavoured. Ripe the end of September.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.260/1831].


Added on June 03 2010

Vitis vinifera ‘Muscat Noir’

‘Bunches small and short. Berries small, round, and grow close upon the bunches. Skin black, when fully exposed, and covered with a blue or violet bloom. Flesh tender; the juice of a rich vinous musky flavour.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.191/1831].


Added on June 23 2010

Morina longifolia Wall. ex DC.

Fully hardy, rosette-forming perennial with tiered, whorled clusters of waxy white flowers in spikes in mid-summer, the flowers turning rose-pink then red after fertilization.  To 90cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on February 11 2009

Pentas lanceolata (Forssk.) Deflers.

Frost-tender, erect or prostrate, woody-based, evergreen perennial with lance-shaped, hairy leaves, to 15cm long, and corymbs of long-tubed, pink, magenta, blue, lilac or white flowers, to 1.5cm across, from spring to autumn. To 2m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on February 08 2010

Calostemma purpureum R.Br. var. bronze

For details of the species see Calostemma purpureum R.Br.  No doubt a variety with bronze-hued flowers.  Calostemma purpureum is highly variable in flower colour, varying from very pale blush, almost white, to deep reddish pink.  Yellow forms also occur and these are also variable, verging on white in some plants.  See Calostemma purpureum R.Br. var. luteum and Calostemma purpureum R.Br. var. cunninghamii.

Added on April 06 2009

Callistemon salignus (Sm.) Sweet var. viridiflorus (Sims) F.Muell.

Half hardy, erect to spreading shrub or small tree with papery white bark, purplish-pink new growth, willow-like leaves, and greenish flowers in the typical bottlebrush spikes, to 5cm long, in spring and summer.  To 10m.  [RHSE, Hortus, FNSW, Hilliers'].

Added on January 17 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


The Fuchsias of Camden Park

The first fuchsia introduced to English gardens in 1788 was a variety of Fuchsia magellanica Lam.  This new plant soon attracted the attention of florists and, stimulated by the regular introduction of new species and varieties from South America, selection and hybridisation saw a rapidly increasing number of named varieties available through the nurseries.  The first record of a fuchsia at Camden Park is Fuchsia conica, which arrived on board the ‘Sovereign’ in February 1831.  By 1857 fifty-eight species, cultivars and hybrids had been recorded as growing in the gardens.

Published Mar 14, 2010 - 09:50 AM | Last updated Jun 24, 2011 - 02:45 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 - 01:43 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 02:46 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 7: The Vintage (Continued)

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters IX, X and XI, reproduced in Part 6, dealt with the vintage, including the theory and practice of fermentation and preparation for winemaking. The vintage is continued in Part 7, letters XII and XIII giving a description of grape harvesting and crushing. The illustration used here is an excellent lithograph showing the grape harvest at the third vineyard at Camden Park in 1878.

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 24, 2010 - 05:07 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:14 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.