Thanks for the book suggestion. I'll look for it. I've been thinking more about kusamono since the president of one of the clubs I belong to wants the members to do more 3 point displays, if possible. He said if you're going to be spending so much time and effort on your show trees you should have the same quality kusamono to accent.
When you mentioned the desert succulent paired with the Buttonwood, wouldn't it depend on the size, color, and shape of the leaf of the succulent? I bought a few a couple months ago that look like permanent blooming flowers, not a struggling succulent in a desert environment. On the Pacific coastline near Fort Bragg, CA there are succulents clinging to the side of cliffs with beautiful conifers up on the bluffs. It's a very lush, damp environment in places, not dry or sparse like a desert. So if I paired one of my succulents with a cypress or formal upright redwood, would it "make sense" to anyone but me?