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

Lucuma sericea (Aiton) Benth. & Hook.f.

Frost tender shrub with ovate leaves, hairy beneath, and axillary white flowers.  To 3m.  [Don].

Added on March 06 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

Camellia japonica ‘Circe’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L. Camden Park bred, seedling 8/50.  ‘Bright scarlet crimson, perfectly regular, petals good form and substance, perfectly imbricated to very centre.  Small size, good.’  William Macarthur.  [MP A2948-6].  

Added on June 21 2009

Rosa ‘Hébé’

A Hybrid Provence rose.  ‘Hébé’ has flesh-coloured, large and full and cupped flowers, its habit erect on a moderate shrub.  [Paul 1848, FC p.42/1850].



Added on February 12 2010

Graptophyllum pictum (L.) Griff.

Frost tender, sparsely branched, erect shrub with elliptic leaves, veined or marked yellow, or entirely suffused deep purple, and short racemes, to 8cm long, of crimson to purple flowers with inflated throats, to 8cm long, in summer.  To 2m.  [RHSE].

Added on February 22 2010

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

Polygala virgata Thunb. var. speciosa Harv.

Frost hardy erect shrub with reed-like stems, narrow leaves and purple flowers borne on conspicuous racemes, to 15cm long.  The variety speciosa has purplish flowers with spreading pedicels.  To 2m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Added on March 22 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


History of the Florists’ Gloxinia

In the 19th century the florists’ Gloxinia was a very popular plant with hundreds of varieties under propagation.  Out of fashion today, these beautiful and easily grown plants deserve to be revived.  William Macarthur would not have recognised the large, multi-coloured flowers that dominate the show bench today but the plants he grew, predominantly of the slipper, or wild type, were equally beautiful.

Published Mar 14, 2010 - 01:56 PM | Last updated Jul 26, 2011 - 04:59 PM

Camden Park Roses

Roses were very important to the Camden Park gardens, 297 are listed in the Hortus, substantially more than the next largest genus, Camellia with 140 plants.  This brief review summarises the major types of rose grown and discusses the change in profile of roses over the decades from 1843 to 1861. 

Published Feb 13, 2010 - 03:27 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 11:02 AM

Camden Park Nursery Group

We are a small voluntary group helping to maintain and preserve the historic Camden Park gardens. There are regular meeting days, currently Tuesday and Saturday but this can be varied, but most members contribute through Working Bees held typically every third Sunday.

Published Jun 27, 2010 - 04:16 PM | Last updated Jun 27, 2010 - 04:32 PM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine. Part 1: Introduction

‘Letters’ is an important book in the history of wine production in Australia and this is, I believe, the first time that the full text has been made available outside the major libraries. The value of William Macarthur’s book compared with earlier Colonial publications is that it is written from the perspective of over twenty years of experience of growing grapes and making wine in New South Wales. He does include theory from the pens of European authorities but the bulk of the book is written from personal experience. He is in effect saying ‘this is what we have found to work here’.

‘Letters’ is reproduced in 10 parts, beginning with the Introduction, which provides information on the history of the book and gives a synopsis of early experiences of vine importation and wine production.

Published Aug 27, 2010 - 05:50 PM | Last updated Nov 24, 2011 - 02:57 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.