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Beware: AI Gardening Content Has Taken Over, and We Should Be Worried

From pictures of plants that don’t exist to stolen recipes, everywhere I turn, I see AI content. As someone who has spent many years teaching people the love of gardening, it pains me to see how this misleads readers and hurts creators. Here’s what you can do to become more informed about AI gardening content online.

Ai generated garden

Ask any creator about AI, and they’ll emit the biggest groan, followed by a ten-hour speech about everything wrong with AI in our creative community.

Dr. Noam Chomsky recently told New York Times, “Let’s stop calling it Artificial Intelligence and call it what it is: Plagiarism Software. It doesn’t create anything, just copies existing works from artists and alters them sufficiently to escape copyright laws.”

I’m seeing this firsthand, as AI has greatly affected Garden Therapy and me as an author. And it’s getting exponentially worse.

I believe that AI could never truly replace our thoughts, and everything I’m seeing online is currently an example of that.

Let me show you how it’s affecting creators and what you can do to seek out reliable information created by real human thoughts and hands.

AI generated home
If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t.

The Growing AI Gardening Problem on Social Media

All over Facebook and Instagram, I’ve been seeing AI-generated images that fool everyone. Just look at this picture of a purple hosta with over 9,000 likes. Sure, it looks gorgeous and magical, but that’s because it’s not real.

AI purple hosta

What really concerns me is how many people cannot identify that it is fake. Only plant people will know that something like this doesn’t actually exist.

Or check out this image I found over on Facebook. Notice anything weird?

AI plants that repel mosquitos

I can safely say that’s not what a marigold looks like, and that’s not what lavender looks like. In fact, this whole Facebook page it came from, Little Shine Official, is nothing but AI gardening content. It has over 209,000 followers and gets regular shares from people, furthering the spread of misinformation.

This poor-quality AI content has taken over social media, and sadly, there isn’t much being done to stop it. Meta currently only has an honour system of labelling your content as “Made with AI,” which absolutely no AI page will do.

This is making big waves in the creator communities. And it will make people start to question what is even real. I’ve been talking a ton about it with fellow creators these past few months.

The only way you can verify that things are real is to follow the creators that you like and trust and look at the information they’re curating for you. Other than that, everything will just become increasingly more confusing as to whether it’s real or not.

Stephanie in the garden
In case you were wondering the face behind who’s writing this…Hi! I’m Stephanie.

Google Isn’t Helping the Cause

My views have plummeted here on Garden Therapy as I battle with AI. People used to find us on Google, click through and read our articles.

But now Google has begun to scrape content. When you search for something, Google will go through multiple articles and deliver the answer at the top when people are searching, so they no longer click on websites to find their answers.

We’ve seen our traffic drop to about 1/5 of its previous level, and based on those changes, we expect it to continue falling.

Google scraping info on cat-safe houseplants
Here’s an example of Google scraping info “From sources across the web”

But the unfortunate thing is that people aren’t getting the right information. With AI, there is no fact-checking happening, and everything that it spits out is super generic. You’ll find much better information when it comes from someone, who say, actually studied as a Master Gardener.

My personal goal has always been to share with you as if we are talking over the garden fence, as we gardeners do. So you will always know that what you read on Garden Therapy is 100% from a real person.

That’s not going to be the case with many websites. With AI, they can now produce infinitely more content, and those of us who handwrite all content can’t keep up.

cat and dog enjoying eco lawn
Keep an eye out for authentic photos, not stock images. This is my dog Ozzie and cat Magic enjoying my front lawn.

AI Made a Copy of My Book

The problem doesn’t just exist on social media, but everywhere content is involved. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this book that looks nearly identical to Garden Alchemybut it’s cheap, AI version.

AI made a copy of my book

Reading the description, you can see how they’ve rewritten the description (albeit poorly) and added in some very random things such as Ormus Gold, Survival Foods, and Electroculture Gardening.

I mean, huh?

AI book copy description

Everything about this is fishy…

  • The author’s name is Mr. Georg Malclm. Who would even spell it like that?
  • The author’s profile picture is a stock photo. I reversed-image searched it, and found it on Shutterstock to license and on many different websites. See more on that below!
  • The one review it has is also very suspicious. I assume it was written by another AI account.
  • The author’s profile presents a generic AI-written description of living a “holistic lifestyle”
  • All the other books by this author are weird and random colouring books that are clearly also AI-produced.
  • The book is independently published and not connected to anything outside of the Amazon listing.

It’s just incredibly disheartening as an author to have something like this happen to your work. I poured my heart and soul into this book, spending months and months coming up with the projects, photographing them, and writing them all down to share with you. Only to have AI scrape my book and produce a far inferior version of my book.

If you’d like to support me as an author, please visit my books page to see all my titles.

Garden Alchemy Books
Support authors whenever you can!

Tips for Spotting AI Gardening Content Online

AI is becoming increasingly difficult to spot. But I’ve noticed some patterns, and here’s how you can identify them.

  1. Pictures look overly smooth, as AI photos look a little too perfect. But pay attention to the hands, where they often look a little funky.
  2. Most AI profiles and websites use stock images. Try to look for pages that utilize their own photography.
  3. Always head to the About page on a website (even worse if they don’t have one). See if this information comes from a real person or trusted company…like this one! I always write in the first person (from my point of view). I’ve noticed that some AI is beginning to do this to sound more human, so identify if there really is a human linked to this voice.
  4. Can you contact the creator? Many Facebook pages and even websites don’t have a contact page to reach the author if they are AI-generated.
  5. All of their content is very clickable and shareable. The content lacks substance and is just meant to go viral. It always looks like a template.
  6. This one comes from my friend Kris Bordessa at Attainable Sustainable. “If they are sharing an entire recipe, either in the post or in the comments, it’s likely stolen.”
  7. Kris also suggests looking at the address listed. “Search Google, and they are actually dentist offices and construction companies. Or non-existent.”
  8. Do you see a wild, fantastical plant? A home that’s so out of this world cool? It’s probably AI-generated or photoshopped. Reverse-image search suspicious photos. You can do this right on Google.
AI generated plant
Another fake plant I’ve stumbled upon on social media.

How to Reverse Image Search on Google

First, save the picture you’d like to fact-check. To do this, right-click on the photo and click save. I’ll show you the fake author of the AI version of my book as an example.

saving photo to reverse image search

Next, go to Google and click on the camera icon to search by image. Then, select the photo you just saved.

how to google reverse image search

First, Google will show you some similar-looking photos (PSSST: This is a great tool for plant identification). Click “Find Image Source” to see more of that exact photo.

how to google reverse image search

Now you’ll see exactly what websites are using this photo. I can tell that many people have licensed this stock image for use, including as an “author” for the book. I can also see that it’s licensable from both Freepik and Shutterstock.

This is so handy for any suspicious photos or websites you’re not sure about. When in doubt, check it out!

reverse image search results

Together, we hope to find ways to continue to share as artists and real people in a world that is becoming saturated with AI-generated snippets. We’ll continue to support each other to avoid being elbowed by the huge companies profiting from it.

If you have more tips for others, please leave them in the comments below.

More Inspiring Gardening Thoughts

Comments

  1. I had no idea this was going on. I’m sorry about your book. I love your content and appreciate it so much!

    Reply
  2. Thank you for sharing info on these matters. Did not know about checking an image.

    We have to stay on top of all this, painful as it is.

    Reply

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