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

Dahlia ‘Metropolitan Purple’

‘Moderate, but rather too starry’, suggesting that it was a semi-cactus type.  [FC p.27/1838].  I have found no detailed description.

Added on April 21 2009

Pyrus communis ‘Orange Bergamot’

‘Fruit, small; roundish turbinate. Skin, smooth, pale green, becoming yellowish green at maturity, with dull red next the sun, strewed with whitish grey dots. Eye, open, and set in a deep basin. Stalk, half an inch long, stout, inserted in a small cavity. Flesh, white, half-melting, juicy, with a sweet and musky flavour. A dessert pear; ripe in August.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.625/1884].

Added on May 20 2010

Oxalis flava L. var. lupinifolia

See Oxalis flava L. for detail.  O. flava is a very variable species, lupinifolia having up to 7 narrow leaflets, resembling a lupin leaf.  [RHSD].

Added on January 28 2010

Primula sinensis ‘Fimbriata’

A cultivar of Primula sinensis Sabine ex Lindl. See Primula sinensis ‘Purpurea’ for more information.  ‘Fimbriata’ is a form with fringed or crested flowers.  [RHSD].  Paxton's and Johnson's Dictionary both list fimbriata, with fringed petals, in both white and rose.

Added on October 14 2009

Jubaea chilensis Baill.

Hardy, large palm with a distinctive columnar, grey trunk, which may be 2m or more in diameter and feathery, spreading fronds.  It produces long spathes which split to reveal numerous small, whitish flowers follwed by distinctive orange fruits.  Both the fruits and the kernels within resemble small coconuts.  To 25m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Jones – Palms]. 

Added on February 19 2009

Crinum x augustum Roxb.

Again an uncertain identification, but probably Crinum x augustum Roxb., a dwarf species with up to 30 leaves to each bulb, to 10cm long, purple-tinged scapes, to 13cm high, bearing umbels of up to 30, long-tubed, funnel-shaped, fragrant, bright rosy-red flowers, white or paler pink inside, striped with pale pink.  [RHSD, Hortus, Baker Am.].  

Added on April 26 2009

Camellia japonica ‘Rosalind’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. Camden Park bred, seedling 69/52.  ‘Pale bright crimson, almost lake, good shape, not very double, several outer rows of petals large, inner smaller.  Tolerably good, colour very bright.’  William Macarthur.  [MP A2948-6].

Added on July 01 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 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

Colonial Australian Wines

The following article appeared in The Gardeners’ Chronicle of Saturday, November 25th, 1854. It includes a review of seven wines sent to the proprietors of The Gardeners’ Chronicle from Camden Park by William Macarthur, together with his notes on the wines, the vineyards in which they were produced and the economic conditions pertaining to wine production and sale in Australia. Macarthur’s brief notes, when read with the more detailed essay Some Account of the Vineyards at Camden, extends our knowledge of wine production at Camden but most importantly provides an external (but not necessarily unbiased) view of the quality of the wines.

Published Jun 30, 2011 - 02:12 PM | Last updated Jul 04, 2011 - 09:00 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

Thomas Harris (1885-1948)

Thomas Harris, born in Worcestershire in 1885, was a gardener at Camden Park from 1913 to 1938.

Published Aug 16, 2012 - 11:09 AM | Last updated Mar 16, 2015 - 02:12 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.