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This was a short story by (I think) sci-fi writer Kate Wilhelm, but that might be wrong.

It was set in a palace. A couple come down to a rose garden and smell a particular flower. They are surrounded by a wide plain, at the edges of which is "the horde"... a huge crowd of hungry, angry, people, coming closer all the time. To keep them away, they have to smell this flower. Its scent pushes the hordes back a little. But there is only one flower left... And the peasants are getting closer...

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    Almost certainly a dupe of scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/143703/… – Valorum Jun 21 '18 at 0:39
  • this was written by Roger Zelazney as a short story - cant recall the title and couldn't locate it to verify but a man and a woman in a castle garden setting, a timeless place where time kept trying to intrude, each instance of the horde getting closer resulted in the woman snipping another flower to push them back. At end 2 statues, man and woman. – Alan Jun 24 '18 at 11:30
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As Valorum noted in a comment, this is almost certainly "The Garden of Time" by J. G. Ballard, also the (almost certainly correct) unaccepted answer to this old question: Story about crystal flowers that stop time?

In this story a couple lives in a villa surrounded by a charging horde which starts at the horizon and advances towards them over time. When the man crushes one of the blooms of the "time flowers", time outside the villa jumps backwards for an interval, moving the horde further away. But never as far back as they started (two steps forward, one step back, as it were).

Each flower seems to be less effective than the prior one, and no new flowers grow.

When the last flower has been expended, the couple turn into statues, and the horde arrives at the long-derelict ruins of a villa.

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