I find the hobby fascinating and I have been putting my amateur efforts into this little fig tree. It started out as a 3 foot specimen at a grocery store -- three years ago. Actually, there were three plants in the pot and this one seemed to have the most potential. That was, if it lived despite being hacked to a few inches tall. I have been pruning and bending it in accordance with my own mini-tree asthetic for three years now. If anything, it looks cool sitting on the table next to my 6 foot tall fig tree with a trunk the size of my calf. As you can see, I have tried to make sure the branches radiate in all directions when you observe the tree from above. I wire the branches with anodized bonsai wire to make them grow more horizontally, giving the appearance of an aged heavy branch.
It is a challenge to grow bonsai in the far north, because you are limited to tropical shrubs or trees (such as the fig) that live at indoor household temperatures year-round, unless you have a greenhouse or conservatory. The temperate climate trees -- such as maples and pines -- need some sort of cooler winter period, but could never survive outside in our harsh winters.
Are you a garden-blogger-bonsai-grower? Are there any northern growers with bonsai success stories?