The first thing that struck me was the unrestricted access. You can walk wherever you like and touch whatever tree you want. There are no "keep off the garden bed" signs here. In fact, the undergrowth in several sections of the gardens has been replaced with pebbles, the edging is flat and the low branches have been sawn off, so you are actually encouraged to walk in amongst the trees. I particularly liked walking in amongst the banksia trees whilst a handful of lorikeets were feasting on the bottlebrushes not far above my head.
The paths are all flat and gently meander through the gardens to give you a sense that the park is bigger than it really is. There are also two lawn areas within the gardens complete with picnic tables and park benches. These would make a lovely picnic spot on sunny days.
The water feature in the gardens is a Y-shaped constructed stream around 75 metres long that drains into a small pond. There are small cascades at the fork of the two branches and at the entrance to the pond, plus a little bridge in the middle of the gardens. From the pond, the water is pumped back underground to the top of each branch to flow back down again. You can walk through the water if you have appropriate footwear and even do some rubber duck or toy boat racing if you have young kids.
The water feature and one of the lawn areas with picnic tables
Botanically speaking, the gardens include stands of banksia, eucalyptus, tree ferns, native frangipani trees and kangaroo paws, amongst others. The diversity of species appears lower than other botanic gardens, but that is mainly because of the restricted space. To put it in context, Kingston Heath Botanic Gardens houses around 5,000 plants over an area of around 2 hectares, compared to the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne which consists of 50,000 plants over 38 hectares.
Only native and indigenous species have been planted at Kingston Heath. There are labels in front of many of the trees, but these appear to have all worn away. If you want to know the species name of each tree, bring a botanist or a "what tree is that" book/app with you.
You can take dogs into the gardens and there is a dogs off-lead area within the broader Kingston Heath Reserve.
To access the botanic gardens, it is best to enter Kingston Heath Reserve via the Farm Road entrance.