Tis' the season of evaluating and acquiring nursery stock material for bonsai! This year is clearly unique, and I imaging that local nurseries are seeing less foot traffic. This may play to our advantage. Before you head out to find your next diamond in the ruff, please check with the store to see what restrictions they have on shopping and visitation.
Quite a few RMBS members develop trees from nursery stock. Mike Horine is regarded as our local master in this regard. Mike often posts wonderful trees he has developed from this material, and he clearly has skill in evaluating a choosing appropriate stock. I will post a blog on my method for evaluating and hunting for this material next week, which is based heavily on Ryan Neil's approach to the same (as always thank you to Ryan and the Mirai team for the knowledge dissemination).
One thing to consider is that the fall is a great time to get stock, as a lot of places will heavily discount their remaining trees in anticipation of the next year's shipment.
To start with, I thought this might be a good place to rep some local nurseries that have been tried and true sources of local material with a couple notes. PLEASE ADD TO THE LIST BASED ON YOUR EXPERIENCES!
Local nurseries for stock material for bonsai:
City floral (Denver): I have found one or two good trees a year here. Not a hub for bonsai stock, but its close to me so I tend to find myself there. CF tends to be on the more expensive side (1/3 more than other places). They occasionally have half off stuff at the end of the year. Worth a look if you are in East Denver
Walmart (Anywhere): If you find one with a garden center, trees are cheap (especially if you get half off at the end of the year). Pretty standard stuff tho, nothing special. Easy to get junipers to learn to wire.
Home Depot, Lowes and the like (Anywhere): See Walmart above. Plenty of selection, but really nothing special. Good material to cut your teeth on and learn the techniques without dropping a bunch of cash.
O'tooles (Westminster): They had 40% off last year and I took a look around. Got a nice maple. They have good stock for bonsai, a cut above HD,Lowes etc... Definitely worth a trip.
I will leave some of the better nurseries for other to comment on, as I have not shopped there! (Nick's Garden Center, Togawa Gardens etc...)