Business that Blossoms: Grassy Knoll Florist

Grassy Knoll, a floral and interior designer in High Point, NC has a gift shop and expert in High Point.

The old adage says to “bloom where you are planted.” But for John Paulin, owner, florist, and principal designer at Grassy Knoll, he learned many years ago that sometimes you have to plant roots in order to bloom.  

“I’ve been here 46 years,” says John, a native Ohioan. After moving to High Point to be close to family, John discovered his love for the Carolinas, our mild but distinct seasons, and our friendly Southern neighbors. And it was here in High Point that John found the perfect place to grow another love: his love for florals. 

His start in the floral industry was back in the 1970s, during his high school years. Since then, John has always had a passion for florals. While his first job was with a wholesale florist, where his employer owned and managed six acres of roses grown under glass, John now specializes in the arranging, designing, and event coordinating side of florals.  

John Paulin, owner of Grassy Knoll and Alan Ferguson Interiors, is a florist in High Point, as well as an interior designer in High Point and events planner. He is standing in front of his florist work bench in his gift shop and boutique.

Once he relocated to the Home Furnishings Capital of the world, he soon realized that interior design and floral design go hand-in-hand. So when John started with Alan Ferguson Interiors, and began getting requests from clients to also design florals for weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, parties, and more, he decided to combine his passions to create one beautiful experience for his High Point.

Decor in the Grassy Knoll floral, interior design, and gift shop in High Point, NC.
A bouquet of flowers being arranged by High Point, John Paulin at Grassy Knoll.

Today, Grassy Knoll houses a wide variety of florals, gifts, décor, and more. Above the shop sits everything the Grassy Knoll team could use to turn any space into a wonderland. And in the back of the shop, kept under careful watch and with plenty of water, are the florals that John expertly crafts into beautifully designed works of art.  

And John has learned quite a few tips and tricks to not only make his arrangements beautiful but to give them as much life as possible.

“Once we were doing a wedding with French tulips, white hydrangeas, and white French tulips,” John recalls, “and I was so nervous they were going to wilt!”  

But an older woman who was working with him at the time, explained to John that submerging hydrangeas in an inch of water and cutting a tiny slit in the top of the tulip stem could extend the life of the flowers. 

John Paulin, owner of Grassy Knoll, a florist in High Point, NC, trims ends off of a boquet flowers.

“That’s when I got a little bit better at processing flowers,” John says. It was through these experiences that John also began to develop his personal style. While he absolutely refuses to choose a favorite flower – “There's just so many that are so beautiful, come on!” he says – John describes his overall style as “earthy.”  

“I like my arrangements very loose and open,” he says. He added that one of his clients described the style perfectly: “She said her mother always said, ‘If a butterfly I could fly through it, it was perfect.’” 

But whether it’s creating a full floral experience for a wedding, crafting the perfect centerpieces for a gala, or putting together a floral arrangement for a customer to share with a loved one, John knows flowers bring life into any space.  

“It’s great to be able to do something for people,” John says, “that makes them feel good no matter what.”  

After 46 years in High Point and 12 years in their uptowne location, John and his team at Grassy Knoll have been with their customers through some of the best – and worst – days of their lives.  

“You have it all,” John notes, having made arrangements for almost every kind of occasion. And for John, his customers aren’t just people buying flowers from him; they are neighbors who turn into friends who turn into family. It’s those family-like customers who especially trust John’s keen eye to craft the perfect piece for any occasion. 

“This morning, a customer just happened to come in and say, ‘I need a really beautiful arrangement for my wife, and I want it to be spring,’” John says. And because of his long-term relationships with his customers, John knows the preferences they have and the feelings they want the florals to capture that store-bought flowers can’t fully convey. 

“It’s more personal,” he says.  

Bouqet flowers in High Point, NC, sitting on the workbench at Grassy Knoll in High Point, NC. The flowers are being arranged by High Point florist, John Paulin.
High Point florist, John Paulin stands in his floral shop and gift shop, Grassy Knoll with his assistant, Lauren Carson in High Point, NC.
John Paulin and his assistant, Lauren Carson.

He points out especially when it comes to long-term events like weddings, the personal relationships he builds over time with his customers end up lasting long after the event is over. However, nowadays, John doesn’t attend many of the weddings or events he designs so tirelessly for.  

“First of all, I say you’re exhausted by that time,” John laughs. His assistant, Lauren Carson, jokes that when it comes to event set-up, she can hardly keep up with John. Alongside the other staff, Jane and Joe, the team moves quickly and furiously to make sure each event is designed, set, and executed to perfection.  

Even when he’s not in attendance of an event, preferring the attention to be on the bride and groom or party hosts, John does note that in spirit, he feels he is present through the transformative beauty of his floral creations. 

“You can transport those people into an environment that they're not expecting,” he says, “and they know you're there.” 

In his years of making High Point home, John has felt his community support and embrace him at every turn. Now he works to do the same thing for his adopted hometown. 

“The beauty of being here and doing what we do is that we touch so many people,” he says. Grassy Knoll has long since partnered to support events held by United Way, the Theatre Arts Gallery (TAG), and opportunities for schools. “It’s such a great opportunity to help people.”  

Helping the community and the city that helped him bloom is one of the things John loves best about his work. After all, John declares:  

“Grassy Knoll blossomed here.”


"Grassy Knoll blossomed here."

John Paulin, Owner of Grassy Knolly

A flower bouquet in High Point, NC sits on the work bench table of Grassy Knoll, a florist and interior design in High Point.

Discover our High Points, 

The HPD Team

Photography by Zander Betterton

Making High Point Discovered Possible

High Point Discovered is a 501(c)3 – a non-profit that exists solely for the growth and betterment of our city. Our staff of talented writers, photographers, and creatives works hard to tell the stories of our city so that you can connect to businesses that need you as patrons, non-profits that need you as givers, and – most importantly – neighbors that need you as friends. Our content is always free to our readers (that's you!) and free to the incredible entrepreneurs, artists, educators, and changemakers we feature. 
We exist to communicate the stories of our city to connect our citizens and catalyze economic growth. But we need your help to continue. When you give to High Point Discovered, you're giving to support citizens – just like the ones in this story – who are making the city we call home better.
If you enjoy the content brought to you by High Point Discovered, consider giving today.