I had not wanted to post my photographic auto-indictment, but I knew if I did it would help motivate me out into the garden to begin the work needed to reclaim those beds. Any job no matter how large or how small begins simply by getting started. So start I did.
Here you have it, another look down from above with at least a slightly improved version of my vision. Better, yes? Yes! That is my "start". Now, for the startling... As I was pulling out primrose by the hands full, I began to notice a few of these.
Altica litigata, and like me, they love them some primrose. Fortunately they don't bite or sting and frankly I think the way their metallic black backs glisten in the sun is handsome. Unfortunately in addition to their tasties for primrose they are reportedly inclined to move over to crepe myrtle trees to support their colonies. Which we have three of, fairly near by. Crepe myrtles, I mean.
No, Altica litigata, no thank you. No crepe myrtles for you!
I'm optimistic I can handle the beetles non-chemically, with a combination of removing the host plants (including leaf litter underneath) and spending as long as it takes knocking the remaining beetles into soapy water. These little fellas fly, but not far, and at this point I'm finding it fairly easy to knock them into a deadly soap bath to reduce their numbers. I don't like stepping into the beds and compressing the soil but at the moment it is a fair trade and what I must do to gain access.
There are several lessons to be learned from this, but one chief lesson here is to avoid letting anything this close to a monoculture get established, no matter how much I like weeks of pink blossoms in my gardens. Monocultures naturally encourage infestations, and my garden beds are currently proof of that.