The Jackie Clarke Collection Heritage Garden has been internationally recognised, for a second time, by receiving Green Flag status. The Green Flag for Parks award is given to those public parks and green spaces that exemplify excellence in such standards as management and sustainability as well as providing beautiful settings for leisure. The Jackie Clarke Collection garden was praised for its attention to accessibility, safety, cleanliness, biodiversity, horticulture, education, and community involvement.
Careful consideration went into the planning and design of the refurbished garden area. The garden was designed by Axel Hens of Mitchell & Associates, landscaped by Anthony Munnelly of Kilcross Construction, and planted and maintained by Anthony Ruane of R&R Nurseries in Foxford. While preserving the Victorian structure and essence of the garden, Anthony also ensured that there were lots of native species planted and it contains many interesting features including an all-year round organic schools garden – with raised vegetable beds, herb beds, fruit trees and bushes.
The garden is a place of relaxation but also a place of exploration and education. The Education Programme, led by Sinead Brennan, engages younger children with nature, while Community Outreach, under Anne Marie Forbes, sees groups like Ballina Salmon Festival, Ballina Men’s Shed, the Ladybirds and Brownies taking ownership of the award-winning garden.
Having never had a garden herself, it was Anne Clarke’s wish that the Jackie Clarke Collection would have a garden that would be accessible for all. The Jackie Clarke Collection is open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm,
and admission is free.