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

Pyrus communis ‘Williams’ Bonchrétien’

‘Fruit pretty large, of an irregular, pyramidal, and somewhat truncated form, from three to four inches long, and from two to three inches in diameter. Eye seated on the summit, and never in a hollow or cavity, as in other varieties called Bonchrétien. Stalk an inch long, very gross and fleshy. Skin pale green, mottled all over with a mixture of darker green and russet brown, becoming yellowish and tinged with red on the sunny side when fully ripe. Flesh whitish, very tender and delicate, abounding with a sweet and agreeably perfumed juice. Ripe the end of August to the middle of September.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.350/1831].



Added on May 19 2010

Cordia sebestena L.

Frost tender. evergreen shrub or tree with entire, ovate leaves, to 20cm long and 12-45 flowered cymes of funnel-shaped orange-yellow flowers.  To 10m.  The wood is highly perfumed when burnt.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on March 10 2009

Ruellia macrophylla Vahl

Tender sub-shrub with pointed ovate leaves, wavy at the margins, and axillary panicles of bright scarlet flowers.  To 1.2m.  [RHSD].

Added on February 22 2010

Passiflora alata C.Curtis

Frost-tender, robust climber with sparsely-branched, 4-winged stems, broadly ovate, often toothed leaves, to 15cm long, and nodding, fragrant, bowl-shaped, carmine-red flowers in spring and summer, with purple, red and white marked coronas, followed by ovoid yellow fruit, to 15cm long.  To 6m or more.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Added on February 18 2009

Prunus armeniaca ‘Hemskirke’

A cultivar of Prunus armeniaca L. ‘Rather large, round, flattened on the sides. Skin orange, reddish, next the sun. Suture distinct, higher on one side than the other. Flesh bright orange, tender, rich, and juicy, separating from the stone. Stone small, pervious on the back. Kernel bitter. This very much resembles, and, according to some, equals, the Moorpark. The tree is certainly hardier than that variety. End of July and beginning of August.’ [Hogg – Fruit Manual p.39/1860].



Added on April 20 2010

Clerodendrum squamatum Vahl.

Frost tender shrub with oval leaves, entire or toothed, and terminal panicles, to 35cm, of fragrant, bright scarlet flowers.  To 2.5m.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Added on February 15 2010

Dendranthema x grandiflorum Pale Yellow’

A cultivar of Dendranthema x grandiflorum Kitam. Ranunculus flowered chrysanthemum.  This may be the plant listed as ‘Var. pale yellow’ in the catalogues.  Synonyms ‘Small Pale Yellow’, ‘Small Windsor Yellow’, ‘Aiton’s Yellow’. ‘Of short stiff growth, and early flowering, and of little merit.’  [FC p.73/1833].

Added on April 15 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


Rambles in New Zealand - Part 4

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 - 02:37 PM | Last updated Mar 16, 2015 - 02:13 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

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 10: The Wine Cellar

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letter XVIII, the final letter, describes the construction and operation of a wine cellar. Although Macarthur writes ‘I have not had so much experience practically in the construction of this description of buildings, as with the majority of the details, upon which, I have endeavoured to communicate information’ it seems likely that the building he describes in such detail is modeled on the Wine House at Camden Park, the remains of which survive. Indeed, in discussing the perfect site, he also writes that ‘such in fact is the description of site adopted at Camden’. The illustration used here is a photograph of the ruins of the Camden Park Wine House showing the brick and sandstone vats built in the cellar of this building 170 years ago. These are ‘of two sizes, which contain respectively, 900 and 1,700 gallons; and we use them, as well to ferment in, as to store the wine in afterwards.’ So well built were these vats that William Macarthur asserted ‘they will probably endure without repairs for generations’. He was certainly correct in this as, although they have not been used for more than 100 years and have been open to the elements for much of this time, three of these vats are still in good repair today. The other two are partly collapsed. In this final letter Macarthur also describes the construction of brick wine bins such as are to be seen in the cellars at Camden Park house. A photograph on one of these bins is given in Part 9.

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 Oct 03, 2010 - 03:00 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:10 AM

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 - 10:50 AM | Last updated Jun 24, 2011 - 02:45 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.