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Our Passion is Native Plants

Our purpose and our mission has always been to promote the use of native plants in landscaping and land management.  We have never strayed from that mission.  For the past twenty years, WinterCreek has established itself as a “bleeding edge” company working to expand the knowledge of our customers and develop native plant landscaping as an essential segment of the landscape and nursery industries.

Our nursery has developed many of the propagation protocols commonly used in native plant production – often out of necessity because standards simply do not exist.  Our landscape designs and installation techniques often borrow from a variety of practices such as xeriscaping or restoration ecology, but apply concepts in new and unique ways to create environments that move beyond sustainability into regeneration of ecological processes. 

Native plants differ from most conventional nursery stock in genetic variability and adaptation, or their ability to acclimate to specific environmental conditions.  Propagating the plants we use in our own projects grants us the ability to know our plant material intimately.  Understanding subtle characteristics of each species and designing a truly functional landscape utilizing plants appropriate for the specific environment of a site results in landscapes that are remarkable in the resource savings they provide for our clients.

Our Clients

We’ve been fortunate to have many outstanding clients supportive of our work and willing to move in directions outside the norm.  Many of our most successful projects have been unique in the country, requiring our clients to balance the risks of trying something completely new with the potential rewards offered through a unique approach.  For example, one of our featured projects is a 15,000 square foot native plant green roof we co-designed and installed for the insurance company MODA.  This successful project is the first completely native plant green roof in the country, and has become a model for green roof design and construction in dry climates; an environment outside the normal range for vegetated roofs. More information on this amazing project can be found in the project description.

Although we take great pride and ownership in all of our work, the projects belong to our customers.  We typically work closely with our clients to balance elements of a project that make it ecologically viable with visions and goals of the property owner to create an environment that is both beautiful and functional.  Many of our projects have received national recognition for resource savings or environmental stewardship, and provide examples and support for similar efforts nationwide.


Our projects are inherently sustainable.  As a result, we are often involved in green building projects including commercial or residential properties working toward certification under Earth Advantage, LEED, Net Zero, or Living Building programs.  This has been a natural progression in our work.  WinterCreek continues to be, as one business advisor described, a leader on the bleeding edge of the landscape and nursery industry.



Karen Theodore

Owner, Wintercreek Nursery

Karen has been propagating high desert native plants since 1992.  She developed many of the propagation protocols currently in use for native plants, and continuously tests new species for adaptability to created environments.  Her extensive knowledge and enthusiasm for native plants creates a fun and educational visit for every nursery customer.

Karen makes annual trips around the western U.S. to collect seed and cuttings for propagation at her nursery.  She has been in Bend for over 30 years and is intimately familiar with the many unique habitats and environments throughout central and eastern Oregon.  She is an OSU alumna, earning a BS in wildlife biology with an emphasis in ornithology. She has long been a member of the Oregon Native Plant Society and East Cascades Audubon Society, and is a Central Oregon Master Gardener.


Rick Martinson, PhD

Owner, Wintercreek Environmental

Rick has been working in the environmental and land management field for more years than he'll admit.  His previous experience includes work as an ecologist, botanist, environmental scientist, and archaeologist in a variety of environments around the country. His speciality is the adaptive physiology of xerophytic native plants in urban landscapes, and he applies that knowledge in the planning of native landscapes specifically designed for resource conservation and sustainability. Many of his projects have received national recognition for their unique ecology-based approach to landscape design and construction.

Rick teaches courses in native plants, ecology based design, and applied ecology at Oregon State University and is a frequent guest lecturer at numerous organizations and conferences.  He is a long time member of the Natural Areas Association, Society for Ecological Restoration, Oregon Landscape Contractors Association, and other professional societies.  He is also a Central Oregon Master Gardener.