The mint wall commemorates Mint Julep Month in Louisville. | Photo by Kate Likehart

Who knew mint could be so delicate?

When you’re looking to construct a living wall made completely of mint, you learn the hard way that it is, indeed, a sensitive little perennial — although creating a living wall out of anything is a challenge in and of itself.

That was the task brought to the local designer and wedding planner Jaclyn Journey by Louisville Tourism when the organization asked if she’d help create a live mint wall installation in the rotunda of the Muhammad Ali International Airport just in time to celebrate Mint Julep Month.

Jaclyn Journey | Courtesy

The mint wall was unveiled this week and will be on display through Derby for all the out-of-towners coming in for the big race and anyone who wants to get up close and personal with a plant.

Journey, owner of Journey & Jacobs Design Studio and Jaclyn Journey Weddings, says it took about 800 pots of organic mint to create the installation perfect for selfies, and the biggest challenge was coming up with a way to keep mint alive for at least six weeks.

“Mint has a very soft stem and doesn’t love being out of water, so we knew cut stems wouldn’t work,” she tells Insider. “After a month of brainstorming and testing out six different ways of building it, we decided to design a living wall with full mint plants rather than cut stems.”

Journey and her team will check on the wall at least three times a week to maintain it, a necessary task when working with a living thing. She says the sunlight in the rotunda, while ample, is proving to be a little tricky.

“Some plants get more exposure than others based on the location of the pot, so some have been growing wildly with new sprouts and others have gotten overshadowed and died,” she explains. “We have to occasionally replace a few plants here and there and are constantly learning as time goes on.”

The crew received, prepped and potted the mint about a week before the installation, and due to security reasons, they couldn’t load it in all at once. Many trips were required, Journey says, but the end result has been well worth the effort.

“By observing passengers who come up to the wall while we are watering, we’ve noticed they are blown away with the concept that we’ve used a real live plant on such a large scale,” she explains. “People aren’t used to seeing fresh greenery and expect it to be fake, so the surprise of people walking up and touching and smelling the mint is exciting for me.”

The mint wall is very delicate but selfie-ready. | Photo by Kate Likehart

Just like in her day business of planning weddings, the positive experience she can give someone through this exhibit is all the validation she needs.

“Many people said the scent (of the mint) reminded them of their parents’ or grandparents’ garden, which is the same for me, so knowing our art helped them relive a memory is very fulfilling,” Journey says.

After the installation is over, the mint will be donated to local community gardens.

Before she heads back to the airport to serve as an official mint manicurist, we asked Journey some very important questions …

They do, cherish you …

What was your first concert?  

98 Degrees. I cried tears of teenage boy-band obsession when they came out on stage. How embarrassing …

What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation? 

How to stay constantly inspired and curious.

What job would you be terrible at?

Barista. I’ve tried.

What is your favorite restaurant or bar?

Decca or Wiltshire (any of the locations).

What is something you think everyone should do at least once?

Spend time in a third world country and get to know the people and culture.

Yum! | Courtesy of Quills Coffee

Where would you direct a newcomer of Louisville to get a feel for the city?

Start the morning at Quills in the Highlands for a coffee, followed by a walk through Cherokee Park, lunch at Blue Dog Bakery, a visit to NuLu for shopping, have a second coffee and a treat at Please & Thank You, dinner at Mayan Cafe, dessert at Proof.

What keeps you here?

My family.

Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."