If you are considering a “garden getaway” before the holiday rush, visit the Tulsa Garden Center in Woodward Park. Located near Philbrook Museum, the Park has a new feature worth visiting that has a strong Muskogee connection.

The Charles Faudree Memorial Pavilion opened at the end of May and is a stunning structure near the Center’s Rose Garden and Linnaeus Teaching Garden. Visiting the Pavilion now would be a fitting tribute as Charles died in November 2013. Tulsa Realtor Peter Walter was instrumental in bringing the Pavilion to fruition, keeping Charles' legacy alive. 

Charles was known internationally for his French Country design style. The classical architecture of the Pavilion echoes his love for traditional design and classic French themes, with Charles' distinctive flair for rich country accents. I was fortunate to grow up living two houses away from Charles and his family in the 900 block of East Side Boulevard. We became friends for life. In the mid 1990s, he wanted to write a book and asked me to help. We wrote three French County books together. 

Our interviewing style was humorous as Charles loved to laugh. I would ask him a design question. He would give me half an answer, then say “Oh, you finish it.” He was featured author, of course. Much as he loved all the charm of his design style — elegant furnishings, fabrics and unusual accessories — he also loved flowers and gardens. There was seldom a photo shoot of the homes he decorated without fresh, seasonal flowers perfectly placed in strategic settings — from entry hallways to grand pianos. Flowers were always in period vases from his vast collection. 

On a nostalgic tour of our books, I saw again how much he loved fresh flowers. In almost every photo, they star on mantels, dining room or entry tables, or placed in surprising or unusual settings. His favorites were roses, tulips, begonias, carnations, daisies, lilies and hydrangeas and baskets of ferns or ivy. Topiaries were perfect for front entries.

At one time, Charles and his sister Francie had Tulsa homes facing each other. The landscaping complemented both homes. Charles had two design themes — “Too much is never enough” and “If the exterior of a house entices, the interior must enthrall.”

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