So today I visited the previously linked garden centres with my mom. It was lovely, although I continue to curse my inability to so much as walk around for 45 minutes without needing a meal and a nap afterwards :P
Magnolias, it seems, run about $200, more if I want someone to come and plant it all expertly for me. The shrub version is much cheaper - $70 - but I really like the trees. Biggish, fairly well-established dappled willows, on the other hand, are $20-$25.
One other thing that caught my eye was a hibiscus-rosemallow hybrid:
They are HUGE and very showy, with flowers as big as your hand, and they bloom around this time, which is awesome because everyone needs late summer colour. The question is whether I have anywhere to put one, since they need both sun and moist soil. Will have to ponder this question. These were seriously gorgeous plants, but enough so that I would be reluctant to bring one home only to have it die on me.
I did buy fall-blooming waterlily colchium, since I had been meaning to anyway, and a couple of monster "globemaster" alliums:
Mostly just because I can now, since I have both sun and shelter from the wind (being monsters, these are easily knocked over).