Calendula, also called pot marigold, grows easily from seed. It’s even easier to pick up a pack of them at the garden center. They are also very cold-tolerant: they’ll bloom all winter in our mild climate. Colors range from yellow to pink to dark orange. There’s even a variety called ‘Citrus Cocktail.’ The flavor, by the way, is slightly peppery, which won’t work in every drink.
This is not the kind of flower you want to float in a drink—it’s too hefty for that. The individual petals make a nice enough garnish, but a drink with a handful of petals floating in it starts to resemble a salad more than a cocktail. However, the advantage of calendula is that it isn’t colorfast—so that bright orange hue will actually seep into vodka or simple syrup. (To make a simple syrup with anything from the garden, slowly heat equal parts sugar and water with a handful of flower petals, fruit, or herbs thrown in. Once the sugar has melted and the colors or flavors have been extracted, strain it, cool it, and use it as a mixer.)