Born in Americus, Georgia, Clarke became a socialite and married after graduating from high school. She was actively involved with the Junior League of Atlanta, which was established in 1914 to promote volunteerism for educational and charitable causes. Clarke published an article in the League’s publication in 1937 about her difficulties balancing family life and professional practice. In 1928 she co-founded Atlanta’s Cherokee Garden Club, which together with Atlanta’s Peachtree Garden Club established the Garden Club of Georgia later that year. As a member of the Cherokee Garden Club, Clarke was involved with such community service projects as the development of a garden at Egleston Hospital for Children, flower shows, and horticultural courses. She rapidly became a respected flower show judge and an award-winning flower arranger. In the 1930s and 1940s Clarke designed and executed an extensive garden at a home in Atlanta she and her husband had purchased in 1929.
After raising her daughter, Clarke attended began taking landscape architecture classes at the University of Georgia with Hubert Bond Owens in 1935, the same year her daughter enrolled there. She also took several courses at the Georgia Institute of Technology and spent two summers studying landscape architecture at Harvard University. Clarke served as the horticultural chairman for the Garden Club of Georgia in 1936 and 1937, during which time she wrote numerous articles for the club’s publication, Garden Gateways. She became recognized as a horticultural authority throughout Georgia. In the late 1930s Clarke worked with the landscape architectural firm of Newberry and Johnson, and in 1938 she formed a landscape architecture partnership with Perry Wheeler. In the 1940s she contracted polio, but continued to assist close friends and family members with their garden designs over the next twenty years. Clarke died in Atlanta at the age of 82.