Photo by Tony Valainis
IT’S COMING up more than just roses at Willow and Star Flowers, a new floral design boutique in Nora, across from North Central High School. Owner Allyson Wells Podell’s affinity for flora started young, when she would pluck stems from her grandparents’ garden and arrange small bouquets for her family. In recent years, she enlisted her brother’s help to construct a mobile flower cart and brought the DIY floral arrangement concept to pop-ups at West Elm, Pottery Barn, Homespun: Modern Handmade, and Parkside Linen. That mobile cart lives on in spirit at Willow and Star Flower Bar, inviting shoppers to build their own in-season bouquets with carnations, lilies, leafy eucalyptus, and other locally sourced blooms. Gardening gurus can also pick up velvety alocasia plants and tools for spring planting—the shears crafted by Thai sword-makers are a real conversation starter. If plants in your care tend to sag rather than succeed, Willow and Star stocks home decor, beauty, and self-care products as well: lavender-scented eye pillows; floral-infused meditation oils; and Indiana-made gifts from Gravesco pottery studio, jeweler Katy Bell, and artist Lee Hermer, who creates foraged-flower prints. If you’re getting a bouquet for your significant other, also check out the candle-making kit for date night.