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

Sinningia speciosa ‘Caulescens’

A cultivar of Sinningia speciosa (Lodd.) Hiern. A dwarf plant with small, bright purple, slipper-shaped flowers.  [RHSD, Fish]. This description is somewhat at odds with the description given in Loddiges’ Botanical Cabinet: ‘This grows with an erect stem nearly two feet in height’. At Camden Park there is a variety grown from Brazilian seed and simply labelled ‘Large Purple’ that is very similar to Loddiges’ description and to the figure in the Botanical Register used here.


Added on September 04 2009

Ixia Danae’

Probably a Camden Park hybrid but no description is extant.

Added on November 10 2009

Oxalis flava L.

Very variable, half-hardy rhizomatous perennial with up to 12, narrow leaflets per leaf, up to 20cm long, and solitary, bright yellow, white or very pale rose-violet flowers, to 2.5cm across, with a yellow throat, borne slightly above the flowers in spring and summer.  To 25cm.  [RHSD].  

Added on January 28 2010

Prunus avium ‘Black Eagle’

A cultivar of Prunus avium L. ‘Fruit large, growing generally by pairs or threes, many of which are flattened both at the apex and the base. Stalk long, slender. Skin deep purple, or nearly black. Flesh tender and bleeding. Juice very rich and high flavoured. Shoots very strong, with large leaves. Ripe the end of July or beginning of August.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.148/1831].


Added on April 22 2010

Pyrus communis Catillac’

‘Fruit very large, of a broad turbinate figure, somewhat in the shape of a Quince; usually about three inches and a half or four inches deep, and the same in diameter. Eye small, with a short neat calyx, placed in a deep and wide plaited hollow. Stalk an inch long, stout, curved, and a little obliquely inserted in a very small cavity. Skin yellow, and when well matured in a warm season, of a deep orange, with a red tinge on the sunny side. Flesh hard, with an austere juice. In use from December till April.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.412/1831].

Added on May 18 2010

Bouvardia ternifolia (Cav.) Schldl. var. splendens

See Bouvardia ternifolia (Cav.) Schltdl.  for a description of the species.  ‘Bouvardias are grown in the greenhouse and were once very popular.  Many of the old florists kinds are supposed to be hybrids.’  [Hortus Second].  Scarlet flowers.  [JD].

Added on February 04 2009

Lupinus species unidentified, German variety

Unidentified Lupin, no description.

Added on October 03 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

Rambles in New Zealand - part 3

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 - 02:11 PM | Last updated Mar 01, 2012 - 07:02 AM

Letters on the Culture of the Vine Part 3: Grape Varieties and Diseases

Letters on the Culture of the Vine and Manufacture of Wine by Maro, pen-name of William Macarthur. Letters III and IV deal with grape varieties found suitable for New South Wales, and diseases of the vine.

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 01, 2010 - 05:24 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:16 AM

Edmund Blake - Gardener

Edmund Blake is important in the history of Camden Park gardens, where he was employed as a gardener from 1837 until probably at least 1867.  William Macarthur named three hybrid plants in his honour, Passiflora  ‘Blakei’, Gladiolus ‘Blakei’ and Erythrina ‘Blakei, testament to the high regard in which he was held.  Erythrina ‘Blakei’ has survived to this day. It is a magnificent shrub worthy of a place in any large garden.

Published Apr 03, 2010 - 03:35 PM | Last updated Aug 14, 2012 - 04:55 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.