Major Henry Broughton, who would go on to become the 2nd Lord Fairhaven, was the man responsible for founding Fairhaven. The South Walsham Estate was purchased by him in 1946, and it included not only the hall but also the woodland, the water garden, and the inner broad.
During World War II, the home and its formal gardens had been put to use as a convalescence home, while the woodland and water garden had been put to use as a training ground for the home guard. In order to prevent flying boats from landing in the inner broad, which was also surrounded by barbed wire, pleasure boats were sunk in the water there. Some of the tank bays can still be seen in the garden today; the garden was used to conceal tanks at one point. The garden had turned into a jungle, and the house had deteriorated into a derelict state.
The house was the primary focus of everyone’s efforts when they first started. In 1947, the family made their new home in South Walsham Hall. The second Lord Fairhaven was a dedicated and passionate gardener, and he was the one who was responsible for designing the garden. In order to assist him in removing the thick jungle that had grown up in what is now the main garden, he had a team of seven gardeners and two woodmen working for him. He began by gradually introducing plants that preferred shade and water, the most spectacular of which was the Candelabra Primula. During the months of May and early June, thousands of these colourful plants put on a show of their beautiful blooms. Other plants were brought in from different parts of the world, such as the camellias and rhododendrons from the Himalayas and the skunk cabbage (Lysichiton Americanus) from the United States of America. The garden wasn’t finished until after 15 years had passed.
Because of the large greenhouses and specialised tree nurseries, the majority of the plants were able to be grown from seed. In fact, more than ninety percent of the plants were grown from seed.
In 1966, Major Broughton was given the title of the 2nd Lord Fairhaven. This was due to the fact that his older brother did not have any heirs to pass the title down to. Lord Fairhaven died in 1973. He had made a request that the garden be placed in Trust so that it could be enjoyed by the general public. The mantle of Lord Fairhaven was taken up by his son, Ailwyn, who became the third holder of that title. Melanie Broughton is now serving as the Chairman of the Fairhaven Garden Trust after her predecessor stepped down earlier today. On April 18, 1975, the garden first welcomed visitors and became open to the public.