It isn't just hanging in there like the late summer flowers, and it doesn't say 'it's about to get cold' like the holly berry. It has just popped up out of nowhere, because its favourite time of year has come round again. This phytolacca has self-seeded itself and grown up in a place which it likes to call home: the bone-dry shade of a yew. Unnoticed in a walled garden at Brooke Hall, even when in flower, it suddenly has all the charm of perfectly ripe blackberries, condensed into a chunky wand. No prickles, just rich purple and dark green. These colours need a dying light.
In case of any sniggering at the back: News from Nowhere is perfectly aware that in some places the lovely and majestic Phytolacca is known as the American Pokeweed. In a word: context.