Hmm, cant say I am too interested in sweetgums. How were the hornbeams? I am trying to gauge what kind of material is up for grabs, and how much I can expect to pay. It is getting into prime fly fishing season here, so I am trying to decide if it is worth the drive on Sunday to dig up some trees.
For whatever it's worth: I've never been to Nature's Way; but from the quality of materials I've seen Jim selling in different venues, and the quality of those of Jim's trees that I've seen, I would expect to find trees that are worth the effort of digging them.
As to what you can expect to pay, that I can't help with; sorry!
I think Bill has a good suggestion: contact Nature's Way directly, and ask your questions.
I can't speak for where your possible source may be but the local bonsai field nursery I go to, average stock normally averages between $20-50. Again though you get what you pay for and the better specimens will obviously have their cost reflect that.
Its worth going to Doyle's to collect! I am certainly not one of those people "Guessing". I have done it and have been privilege to visit with Jim and his wife often. I also recall seeing crabappless along with the American Hornbeams, Red Maples, Sweetgum and Corolopsis(may be spelling this wrong).
What will he charge who knows.. Mr Jim unlike many other vendors is not greedy. He is a very nice man and enthusiast. He is very price friendly.
I too think Jim is a great guy. I am fortunate enough to live less than 45 mins away from Nature's Way, and have been there at least 80 times! I have had the pleasure of taking several classes with Jim, and he has always been very courteous and a top notch teacher. I can't speak on the digs as of yet, as I will be attending my first this weekend, also. Hope to see you there!
Kabudachi is right about Jim being a man of his word and not being greedy. Last year at the spring show in D.C Jim had a specimen trident that had a price on it for $3000. He ended up selling it to some guy the first day of the convention for less than what the tree was marked. The buyer could not take the tree home until the next day. Many people throughout the day offered Jim full price if he would just sell them the tree, Jim said of course he would not and honored the deal with the initial buyer. Even though believe it or not the tree was not even paid in full yet?? Really nice guy and a man of his word, that goes a long way in this bonsai business.