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

Vitis vinifera ‘Xeres’

This is possibly the Spanish grape usually known as ‘Graciano’, a red wine grape used in both Spain and the Languedoc-Roussilon region of France, primarily for blending with other varieties. It is unclear why this wine grape should be included among Vines for Table Only in the Camden Park catalogues. More research needed.


Added on June 23 2010

Blandfordia nobilis Sm.

Frost-tender rhizomatous perennial with finely-toothed, linear leaves, to 80cm long, crowded at the base, and loose racemes of up to 15 copper red to orange flowers, stained yellow, sometimes entirely yellow, in early summer. To 60cm.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on January 03 2010

Rosa ‘La Tourterelle’

A Hybrid China rose.  It was described as a Hybrid Bengal rose by Gore under the name ‘Parny’, its flowers middle-sized, regular, full, of a light uniform lilac.  Paul described its flowers as rose and dove-coloured, shaded with slate, cupped, large and full, on a vigorous shrub with a branching habit.  [Paul (1848)].  Thomas Rivers, writing in the Floricultural Cabinet, described ‘La Tourterelle’ in similar terms.  [FC p.241/1835].


Added on February 11 2010

Pyrus communis ‘Colmar Preul’

See Pyrus communis L. var. ‘Passe Colmar’ for a description and details. ‘Colmar Preul’ is a synonym of this pear.

Added on May 20 2010

Grevillea robusta A.Cunn. ex R.Br.

Frost tender, fast-growing upright to conical tree with fern-like leaves, to 30cm long, deeply pinnate, paler, with silky hairs beneath, and erect, one-sided racemes of golden yellow flowers, to 15cm long, in spring and summer.  To 35m.  [RHSE, Hortus, FNSW, Olde & Marriott].

Added on March 17 2009

Rubus idaeus subsp. vulgatus ‘Fastolff’

A Rubus idaeus L. subsp. vulgatus cultivar. ‘Fruit large, roundish-conical, bright purplish red, and of excellent flavour. A summer bearer.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.263/1860].


Added on June 04 2010

Gladiolus ‘Albert’

Camden Park hybrid.  Gladiolus x colvilli x Gladiolus x gandavensis hybrid.  Hybrid no.2 of a cross between Gladiolus x colvilli and G. gandavensis.  ‘Flowered first time in early 1846.  Large well shaped flowers, colour crimson scarlet with dark crimson blotches on the lower lobes.  Robust branching scape, 3-4 feet high with numerous flowers.  Not equal to “Hero” but very handsome.’  Fairly productive, by 1848 it had produced 7 large roots and 40 offsets.  [MP A2948-5].  It was referred to by Emily Macarthur in a letter to William, probably November 1848: ‘The gladiolus bed is thriving – “Priam” very handsome, “Prince of Orange” and “Albert” open – the latter comes next in beauty to “Priam”.’

Added on October 20 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


“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 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

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 - 05:11 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.