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

Araucaria bidwillii Hook.

Frost-tender evergreen conical tree with whorled branches, becoming rounded as the lower branches are lost on maturing, flattened, spreading, lance-shaped leaves, to 5cm long, spirally arranged when young, to 3cm long, twisted and overlapping when mature, spherical female cones, to 27cm long, and smaller, cylindrical male cones.  To 45m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Blombery]. 

Added on January 24 2009

Lagunaria patersonia (Andr.) G.Don

Frost-tender, pyramidal to columnar tree, with lance-shaped leaves, to 10cm long, whitish-grey beneath, and a succession of pink, trumpet-shaped flowers, to 6cm across, mainly in summer, followed by ovoid seed capsules.  To 15m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on January 13 2010

Cercis siliquastrum L.

Fully-hardy, spreading, sometimes multi-stemmed, deciduous tree with inversely heart-shaped leaves, bronze when young, changing to blue-green, then turning yellow in autumn.  The clusters of magenta, pink or white flowers are borne before and with the leaves.  To 10m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Added on December 13 2009

Passiflora hybrid no.8

‘No.8.  Darker than Kermisina much better centre petals rich colour.’

Added on January 31 2010

Rosa ‘Duchesse de Montpensier’

Hybrid Perpetual.  The flowers are a delicate, satiny, glossy pink, edged with blush, of exquisite shape and very fragrant.  Rivers considered it to be an excellent rose but Paul thought it second rate.  Curtis was effusive in his praise: ‘We cannot perhaps convey to our readers so good an impression of this decidely beautiful rose by any description, as by calling it a blush Madame Laffay, with improved figure, greater pefume and better habit.’  [Henry Curtis p.29 vol.1/1850, Rivers (1854, 1857), Paul (1848, 1863)].



Added on February 12 2010

Thunbergia alata Bojer ex Sims

Frost tender, evergreen, perennial, twining climber, often grown as an annual, with bright orange or yellow flowers with black centres from summer to autumn.  A number of garden cultivars are available in a range of colours, sometimes without the dark centre.  Readily self-seeds.  To 2.5m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on October 15 2009

Gentiana septemfida Pall.

Hardy perennial with lance-shaped leaves and blue flowers, narrow to wide bell-shaped, spotted white inside, in terminal clusters.  Variable with many forms.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on February 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


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

Raising Tropaeolum tricolor from seed

If you have tried growing Tropaeolum tricolor from seed you have probably encountered difficulty and obtained a low germination rate.  This was certainly my experience before I took this advice.

Published Jan 01, 2010 - 03:33 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 03:38 PM

Rambles in New Zealand - Part 1

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 - 08:45 AM | Last updated Feb 29, 2012 - 03:08 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

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.