Verna Gates is acknowledged for her Creativity, Humor & Expertise.

Feel the Magic | Storytelling | Plants and Gardens

Feel the Magic!

Five years ago, Verna accepted a new challenge from Alabama Tourism: bring top-level travel journalists to Alabama to write nice things about us. The first year, she had trouble getting people to even answer emails or calls, much less get on a plane. Today, she has a waiting list. She marketed Alabama by celebrating our unique, authentic culture. To date, she has brought in Smithsonian, Vogue, Marie Clair, Toronto Star, Boston Globe, USAToday, London Tribune newspapers, BBC, and syndicated writers with more than 200 newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has deeply contributed to the renaissance of Birmingham as a place to visit.

How did she do it? Find out in Feel the Magic, a positive presentation focusing on what makes Birmingham and Alabama special. For a small population, Alabama and Birmingham have wielded tremendous power over the history of our country. From the first Mardi Gras to the Trail of Tears, to Civil War to Civil Rights: it all started here. Along the way, we developed a unique culture all our own with a rich culinary, music and art scene that is iconically American.

Learn how to improve your business and employee recruitment by hearing this presentation. She will be happy to show you and your prospects the same charming places! Click here to schedule Verna as a speaker for your organization!


CD coverSouthern Humor - From lies (Yankees call them "tall tales") to good clean humor, Verna can cause even the most grim-faced humor challenged folks to evoke at least a smile. She'll probably cause a few hearty knee-slapping laughs. The humor program can even be catered especially for churches or religious groups. Suitable for any age. If you would like a preview click here for MP3 recording. If you want the CD go to this page.

Plants and Gardens

Wildflower Folklore - In an old Indian legend, an eagle cut out a piece of the sky to make a flower. Today those bites can still be seen, helping people identify the chicory. Before general literacy, our ancestors needed ways to learn how to identify the plants essential to their survival. These ancient memory games are delightful stories that teach in the old tradition, through stories. Half hour programs to day seminars available. PowerPoint. Wildflower walk optional.

Biblical Wildflowers - In the Song of Solomon, God was called The Lily of Valley and the Rose of Sharon. This scripture uses symbolism to define God as pure (Lily) love (Rose).

The Bible is filled with flowers and plants, all rich in symbolism to the writers of the Bible. Increase your Biblical knowledge with an understanding of their meanings. Also, native plants associated with Biblical events. Half hour to day seminar. PowerPoint. Walk optional.

History of the World Through Flowers - Napoleon promised to return with the blooming of the violets. Jefferson was accused of treason for ordering chicory seeds from the British. The War of the Roses, the fleur de lis, the Scottish thistle - many historical events are associated with flowers. Half hour to a three-hour seminar. PowerPoint. Walk optional.

Language of Flowers - A rose may be a rose but depending on what color, the meaning could be the difference between love and war.

The Victorian messenger was the bloom of the garden. Through these lovely symbols they could talk of love, marriage, admiration, hate, envy and war. A good class to prevent a flower faux pas on Valentine's Day. Half hour to hour program. PowerPoint. Walk optional.

Gardener's Latin - Venus the Goddess of Love, rode a wave onto the island of Cyprus, leaving her tiny shoe. She also left a name on the lady's slipper, Cypripedium.

Learn Latin names the easy way with the stories that inspired the naming of the plants. Many Latin names relate back to Greek and Roman mythology - the stories these ancient botanists used to teach themselves plant identification. Half hour program to hour seminar. PowerPoint Walk optional.

Medicinal Herbs - Dandelions have been said to cure hangovers. Saint John's Wort is an ancient treatment not only protecting one from witchcraft, but also depression.

Traditional healers have used native plants for centuries. This program explores both ancient uses and modern findings on many popular medicinal herbs. Half hour to hour. PowerPoint. Walk optional.

Witching Herbs - Want the power of love? Pick violets during the last quarter of the moon. Cast a spell? You'll need the devilish mandrake. See lost souls? Turn invisible? Cause mayhem? There is a plant for that.

This program is a Halloween favorite. Half hour to hour program. PowerPoint

Edible Plants- Even without a garden, you can journey into your backyard and make one of the tastiest salads you've ever eaten.

Join Verna in a fun and informative talk and optional walk to discover the wonders of nature's bounty. Learn to make Poke Salat the safe way. Find out how to make candied violets and tasty fried dandelions. Half hour to a luncheon. PowerPoint, plant walk advised.

Is your organization interested in any of Verna's programs?

Please send an e-mail to and she will contact you promptly to discuss scheduling an appearance.