Niche Gardens in Chapel Hill sells roses that perform well with no spray in our area. One of these is the rugosa hybrid 'Sir Thomas Lipton'. We bought this rose for my MIL for Mother's Day a few years ago and I rooted a cutting last year. Unlike many rugosas, this one is easy to root. It's quite a big rose and presumably got its size from R. rugosa alba. Helpmefind lists alba as getting to 5-7' in height. However, I have alba and mine barely tops 3 1/2 feet.
As it turns out, I have both parents of 'Sir Thomas Lipton' in my garden: rugosa alba and the polyantha 'Clotilde Soupert'.
I grew a half a dozen rugosa alba from seed 6 years ago. Alba doesn't seem to mind the hot sticky Southeast a bit. No disease, no problems at all except for Japanese Beetles chomping the flowers in June and July. The flowers of rugosa alba smell just like cloves.
'Clotilde Soupert' is about the most sumptuous and romantic-looking rose possible. It has many many petals (over 100 per flower), and a very strong sweet "old rose" perfume. I've heard people complain about the flowers balling in wet conditions, but no such problems here so far. It's quite a small rose too, hard-pressed to reach 3 feet, and thornless. One of my all-time favorites.
'Sir Thomas Lipton' is a fountain-like shrub with long weeping branches. Like 'Clotilde Soupert' it has a wonderful fragrance, and like alba it has a lot of thorns. The family resemblance is rather apparent when you see them all together. Still, STL and its parents reminds of one of those families with two small parents and a son over 6' tall.
It seems to me that in the summer the flowers have more of that rumpled quality that many rugosa
hybrids have, but in the spring and fall, the flowers have the beautiful form of Clotilde Soupert.