Here's another newbie question about bonsai material. Took a trip to a local bonsai shop and purchased a small maple - like pencil thin trunk small and maybe 12" tall. For a little guy he has nice nebari, but there was some sticker shock especially compared to what you get at a nursery or the stuff one can purchase at a big box store. Why spend $50+ for a pencil when you can get a 2 inch trunk for less? The bonsai tray they throw in makes the experience a little more fun but does little for the progression of the bonsai. Obviously the nebari will not be the same (not all the nebari at this top rate bonsai shop was up to snuff yet either on these young ones anyway), but if one needs to spend a good deal of time growing out the pencil, why not take advantage of having a larger specimen and work on the nebari from there? The purchasing options seem to be an expensive air layer with a modicum of nebari vs. a really cheap tree that is considerably larger and needs to be dug out of its pot. What am I missing?