I originally wanted to try this project with ficus nerifolia or some other suitable ficus, but was having difficulty sourcing enough starter material. I even obtained ficus seeds from various suppliers around the World, but had difficulty sprouting more than a few seedlings despite using all sorts of methods prescribed by sellers and experts online.
I finally decided I would use Trident Maples, and in December 2010 found a seller on eBay, kaedebonsai-en, that was offering seedlings in bulk. Turns out his name is Matt and he also has a website where they’re available. Shipping was very quick, and the seedlings were great. They arrived in a triangular FedEx tube, and looked like this:
Keep in mind that you’ll likely only get seedlings like this in the winter when they’ve lost their leaves and gone dormant. Of course, it would be very difficult to wire them up to a frame any other way!