I started working on smaller trees around 1990. At that time I had kids at home and bills to pay. There was not much money left for things like good bonsai material. To purchase the kind of material I wanted would mean spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars for one tree. I found out that I could look for interesting material with 1 inch trunks that would show well and mature in a shohin size. A tree with a pone inch trunk that is 16 inches tall looks like a sapling, but a tree with a one inch trunk six inches tall looks like a mature rugged tree.
During this time I began buying better smaller junipers in the hopes of making a better shohin sized tree. In the size I was looking for I could get a pretty good specimen for under 50.00 bucks, and this fit my budget much better. I had to learn ghow to do everything I had learned on a much smaller scale. About this same time, I was introduced to trident maples. I was not much of a maple person as I had tried several species of Japanese maples over the years. My first experience with trident was very rewarding and I have kept many since.