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

Gladiolus (cardinalis x tristis) x (x gandavensis) [#1]

Three way hybrid, (Gladiolus cardinalis x G. tristis) x Gladiolus x gandavensis no.1, described in Macarthur’s notebook no.4 in 1847.  ‘Scape quite [word indistinct probably short] robust, flowers large, all open at once, petals long and pointed, upper of pale orange and scarlet, slightly striped, under partly yellow, tipped with lake and with dark purple feathered blotches.  Good variety.’  [MP A2948-4].

Added on October 22 2009

Stanhopea grandiflora (Lodd.) Lindl.

Epiphytic orchid with clustered pseudobulbs, each bearing a single, lance-shaped, plicate leaf, the flowers, usually 2, large, fragrant, ivory white, with a few purple marks.  In culture usually grown in baskets, the flowers emerging from the base or side of the basket.  [RHSD, Hortus, Pridgeon]

Added on January 27 2010

Camellia japonica ‘Peoniflora Rubra’

A cultivar of Camellia japonica L., ‘Paeoniflora rubra’ has Paeony-shaped deep red flowers up to 10cm across, with 10-12 large outer petals in 2 rows, and a large number of smaller, irregular petals in the centre.  It is another sport of ‘Pompone’.  [ICR].  ‘A vigorous shrub, has a tendency to grow tall, and requires to be pruned to give it a handsome form; leaves two inches wide, and two and eleven lines long, a little dentated, oval, acuminated, shining, of rather a deep green; bud large, rounded, scales green, flower four and a half inches in diameter, and sometimes larger, of a vivid rose, No.4, often of a cherry-red, No.2, full; petals flat in the circumference; in the centre large, and in form of a cornet, numerous, narrow, close, forming an elevated centre. –Superb.’  [Berlèse Monography p.68/1838].

Added on June 30 2009

Rosa ‘Géant des Batailles’

Usually classified by contemporary authors such as Rivers as a Hybrid Perpetual, it is a parent of the very distinctive race of Hybrid Perpetual roses bred by Vibert.  In 1888 William Paul classified ‘Géant des Batailles’ in a sub-group of Rosa indica which resemble ‘Gloire de Rosamane’, a Bourbon rose, and it is usually today classified as such.  In 1903 Paul classified it as a Hybrid Perpetual.  ‘Géant des Batailles’ has very large, double crimson flowers, shaded purple, expanded, on a shrub of vigorous growth, and was regarded by Rivers as the most bright and brilliant of all roses, and at the same time the most hardy and free-growing of all.  [Paul (1848, 1863, 1888, 1903), Henry Curtis p. 7 vol.1/1850, Amat].



Added on February 11 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

Juniperus species unidentified

Unidentified species, no description.


Added on August 03 2009

Dianthus caryophyllus Tolworthy’s ‘Isabella’

For generic information on the garden Carnation and Picotee see Dianthus caryophyllus L.  Tolworthy’s ‘Isabella’ is a light edged red picotee.  ‘The ground colour (is) good, edged (and) feathered with a peculiar dark crimson, a new variety of good proportions.’  [Gard. Chron. 1846].  ‘Light-edged, red picotee: pod only middling; petals pretty good; ground good; edging distinct, and well feathered with dark red.’  [FC p.78/1849].

Added on April 12 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


Memorandum from the Antipodes: Colouring of Grapes

The following Memorandum was submitted to The Gardeners’ Chronicle by William Macarthur in 1854. Although written in response to a particular problem aired in the columns of the newspaper some months earlier, it adds considerably to our understanding of commercial wine production at Camden Park, in particular the preferred grapes and the style of wine best suited to the colonial conditions. We are also given insights into the problems caused by ‘sudden abstraction of labour attending our gold crisis’, which caused considerable disruption of agrarian and other commercial activities in Australia for some years.

Published Jun 30, 2011 - 04:42 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 11:12 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

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

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

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.