Hedgeley Dene Gardens in Malvern East is definitely a people's garden, judging by the people using them. Older couples, some with grandchildren, mothers with their children, dog walkers and even teenagers were among the people observed enjoying these wonderful gardens.
Hedgeley Dene Gardens is an irregularly shaped linear park extending along approximately 1.5 kilometres through a quiet residential area. It has a combination of open lawns, gardens beds, and deciduous and evergreen trees. A fine ornamental lake with an island, footbridges and rock grotto is located at the western end of the gardens. East of the lake, the garden opens onto areas of lawn cut across by a straight gravel path dotted with cast iron lamps (possibly c1930s).
Its wide, level sealed paths would be ideal for wheelchairs and the mobility challenged, giving them the opportunity to experience this unique setting. I first became aware of Hedgeley Dene Gardens about forty years ago during my career as a wedding photographer. It was one of the most popular gardens in Melbourne for wedding photography, so much so that the City of Stonnington has banned wedding ceremonies and photography in the gardens.
Adjacent to the lake is a densely planted area of trees and shrubs with several paths meandering through them. The gravel paths almost seem like a tunnel as the trees and shrubs act as an umbrella over them. It would be a very cool spot on a hot day.
The gardens run from Kardella Street to Malvern Road, crossing two avenues. Kardella Avenue is a no-through road and is not recommended for parking. Glenbrook Avenue has a small parking bay and Malvern Road has a dedicated parking lane, but will require a walk to the lake area.
Facilities are a toilet block, drinking fountain for both man & dog, and numerous park benches.
Hedgeley Dene Gardens is a very versatile garden. A picturesque lake with waterbirds, expanses of lawn to sit, picnic and play, on-leash dog walking, or just exercise with the long straight path along the gardens.