The group is currently working with the Parks Department to build fencing around the new gardens planted throughout the park.
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz awarded the group a $10,000 grant earlier in the year, and a bulk of the funding went to adding four new pocket gardens.
Over the course of seven Saturdays between May and July, volunteers and members of the group planted thousands of dollars worth of perennials, trees and shrubbery.
The Friends of MacDonald Park worked with the Florist Hills & Garden Center to choose a variety of suitable plants.
“After we were done planting, almost the next day people were walking their dogs in it,” said Stephen Melnick, president of Friends of MacDonald Park. “They’re on their cell phones and the dogs are 10 feet in front of them on a leash romping around in our plants, digging and urinating.
“It’s a public park for everyone to enjoy, but you’re supposed to respect the property,” he added, also noting that he too owns a dog. “There are plenty of light poles and trees and things that dogs can urinate on, don’t urinate on our rose bushes.”
Melnick added that many people cut through the park between the bus stop on Queens Boulevard and Austin Street, further damaging the plants.
Currently, the Parks Department is working to provide permanent fencing made out of organic materials to protect the gardens. The fencing will blend into the space, much like the fencing near the tables in the park.
In the meantime, the group has added caution tape around the gardens to prevent people and their animals from trampling them.
“It seems to be working,” said Melnick. “It’s so important to not have people go over the areas right now, because if the plants don’t root, let alone being smashed, it won’t take.”
In the first week since the beautification project was completed, he said that unsupervised toddlers stomping around in the gardens killed $150 worth of plants.
The group also recently bought a motorized landscaping edger for $800 which will help to keep the lawn and gardens neat. Funding from the grant will also cover artwork in the park done by artists Yvonne Shortt and Mayuko Fujino.
The Friends of MacDonald Park will continue to work on the park every Saturday this summer. Their next event is July 28 from 9 a.m. to noon.