Tour a Disco Icon's Miami Garden: KC Lets the Sunshine In

Best known for turning records into gold, turns out Harry Wayne "KC" Casey of the Sunshine Band has quite the green thumb. Take an exclusive tour of the Boogie Man's lush Miami retreat.

By: Holly Aguirre
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Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Photo By: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Golden Voice, Green Thumb

Harry Wayne "KC" Casey admits that in the past he used to get down in the dirt a lot more often than he currently does. "My gardener Steve and I have found a unique balance and I get to relax in it a little bit more," he says. 

Bamboo Orchid

The bamboo orchid is one of KC's favorites and flourishes in his humid, tropical Miami garden. 

Garden Party

KC's tropical Miami oasis was designed specifically for the pop star where he has hosted many parties, birthdays and Christmas gatherings. 

Boogie Nights

For close to thirty years KC has hosted pool parties at his Miami retreat. He says that everyone cannot help but remark on the lush and tropical surroundings. 

Down the Garden Path

KC shares his garden with many creatures such as birds, squirrels, the occasional iguana and two golden retrievers, for which this path was created. "I don't know what they do back there but I am constantly replacing the plants that they either dig up or sit on," he laughs.

Friend and Fowl

Rocky the parrot came to permanently roost with KC about two years ago. He belonged to a friend who died in a car accident. 

Secret Squirrel

KC even provides treats for the squirrels that inhabit his Miami garden. "It is quite a menagerie back there of birds and animals and I wouldn't have it any other way," says KC.

Red Hot Cattails

Red hot cattails are just one of the lush plants that thrive in the Miami humidity. "The wet weather as well as the sunshine definitely plays an important part in what grows down here," says KC.

How Green is Your Grass

"We get a lot of rain so we have to be cognizant of what plants can take on a lot of water or plants will get a lot fungus on them from overwatering," says the music man and gardener. Golden hakone grass does well in his garden because it likes partial shade and hot weather. It also does well in planters. 

The Seeds of Love

No garden of KC's would be complete without sunflowers. "Every year there's something new to see and it's one of my favorite places to just relax," he says of his lush, tropical space.

On the Waterfront

KC's home is located in Northern Miami and the property backs up to a canal that is home to ducks, geese, fish and even four-foot-long iguanas. "They visit us from time to time and that's just fine," says KC. 

Duck, Duck, Goose

"I have one duck that I raised from an egg and rescued and now I have taken on the responsibility of feeding most of the ducks in the neighborhood," says KC. He's also spotted hawks, owls, egrets, Egyptian geese and many varieties of birds, like this Muscovy duck, visiting his Miami garden. 

When Life Gives You Lemons

KC grew up learning about gardening from his father who taught him how to grow vegetables. "That led me to loving flowering plants," says KC who has several tropical fruit trees on his Miami estate. 

KC's Choice

The orchid, like this Phalaenopsis orchid or moth orchid is KC's favorite flower. "They are unique. If anything shows God's creation those flowers do," he says. 

Dinner is Served

"Wild parrots have taken up residence along with a lot of other birds. It is quite a menagerie," says KC. Plenty of feeders hang throughout the garden just in case a hungry creature happens to drop by. 

Gonna Fly Now

At one point KC had many tropical parrots that inhabited his garden. Now there is just Rocky, who came to roost about two years ago. 

Blushing Bromeliad

Also called the crimson cup, this plant does well in the humidity and thrives in KC's garden. They should be kept away from his roaming Golden Retrievers, however, as the plant is toxic to dogs. 

Take off Your Boogie Shoes

KC loves to entertain guests in his Miami garden. Around every twist and turn and down every path is something new and exotic to see. 

Purple Rain

KC says that the biggest challenge in his garden is knowing what to plant where. The Cordyline terminalis, for example, can do well in full sun, but not all day long. 

Keep it Comin' Love

KC said there could never be enough orchids in his Miami garden. 

That's the Way

"Over the years my gardener Steve Blackburn and I have had lengthy discussions about the garden," says KC. "After all this time he has finally figured out what it is that I like and don't like." In 2015 Blackburn filled the garden with impatiens starting around November. 

Between Two Ferns

This red rain forest bromeliad sits nestled amongst shady ferns. The bromeliad can hold a lot of water and no doubt provides moisture for its neighbor. 

For the Birds

KC said that at one point there were so many tropical birds either living in or flocking to his Miami garden that they were constantly doing damage control. "They'd take out one plant and we'd replace it only to find it gone a few days later. It was hard to keep up," he laughs.

Gold for Green

"A lot of people get frustrated and say that they don't have a green thumb," says KC. "It's not that they don't have a green thumb, it just takes a lot of time and effort to figure out the fine balance of what your plants need." The music man has been gardening since he was a child growing up in South Florida. 

In the Air Tonight

"After learning all about vegetable gardens, I became interested in the way some plants, you can just break it off and stick it in the ground and it grows and others you start from the seedlings while others you can start in water," he says. "It's just amazing. And some of them you just lay on top of the ground and they root." This epiphyte or air plant is one he loves. 

What's Your Sign?

The custom KC signage is actually a planter for a hanging staghorn fern. "It fell after Hurricane Wilma so my gardener made this so it would have a forever home." 

Room With a View

Outside KC's kitchen window is a planter filled with his prized orchids. He has lived in his sprawling Mediterranean/Spanish style Miami home since around 1976. 

Paradise Found

KC's rambling Miami home was built in 1976 and the contractor designed the layout of the water feature and pond at the same time. "I've had many generations of gold fish born in that custom made pond. They don't even make that tile anymore. If it breaks I am up the creek," says KC.

The Earth Laughs

Ralph Waldo Emerson said that "The earth laughs in flowers." The major storms of 2014, however, were no laughing matter and destroyed most of KC's beloved orchids. 

We Go Together

"As you can imagine with all the different varieties of plants we have back there it can be extremely challenging to find a balance when it comes to watering, overwatering and all the different types of nutrients and soils we have to have on hand. You don't want to water the grass too much because then it will get fungus. Conversely, if you don't water something else enough it won't stay healthy. So there is a huge balance of where you have to put things and be cognizant of when and where things are watered. It's almost like putting a puzzle together," says KC.

Gardening at Night

While KC used to get down in the dirt more in the past, lately he usually lets Steve the gardener take care of the watering and pruning. "I like to sit back there, sometimes at night, and just sit and relax. There's always something beautiful to look at," he says. 

Golden Shrimp Cocktail

"You got to figure out the spot where your plants are happy," says KC. "Once you find their happy place everyone is happy." This golden shrimp plant is especially happy in KC's tropical Miami garden.   

Bamboozled

The bamboo in his yard has turned out to be a mess and gotten really out of control. "I've been threatening to tear it down and I just can't bring myself to do it. It puts leaves all over the gutters. They are beautiful but they shed really bad and they just spread," KC laments.

Live and Let Die

Whereas so many people feel like they have to pull out all the live vegetation and start over and put in a new garden every year, KC is just the opposite. "I let things grow as naturally and lushly as possible," he says. "We'll let everything run its course back there."

Balancing Act

KC knows flowers. "We get a lot of rain so we have to be cognizant of what plants can take on a lot of water or plants will get a lot fungus on them from overwatering. Sometimes the rain is just uncontrollable because during the summer we have these monsoons that happen every day."

Please Don't Go

KC loves hosting friends and family in his garden and the affairs take place all year round. "We've celebrated many Christmases back here, birthdays and several of my friends have even gotten married in my garden," he says. 

She Comes in Colors

In addition to KC's numerous orchids, these pink/magenta and white cosmos flowers, red begonias and a purple betony herb plant punch up the color in KC's garden. 

She's a Rainbow

KC's love of growing vegetables evolved into an appreciation and eventual love of flowering plants. He especially likes seeing what flowering plants work well together like these lilies, cosmos and hydrangeas. 

If You Like Pina Coladas

It just wouldn't be Miami without lots of beautiful shady palms and an abundance of tropical plant life. KC says his love of gardens started when he was a child and helped his father with their vegetable garden. 

KC Lets the Sunshine In

KC's garden is dotted with torches for a full-on tropical effect. "There used to be wild birds and macaws that flew around in there," says KC. "The birds certainly did their fair amount of damage and we had to replace a lot of the stuff that they ruined over the years, but I figured they had fun doing it."

Octopus's Garden

Boxwoods create a border between part of KC's garden with the canal that borders his Miami estate. He says that this is one of his favorite spots in the garden. 

Lady in Red

Red geraniums are just one of the countless perennials found in KC's garden. He said that in Miami they start choosing them around November and they thrive throughout the spring and summer. 

Mr. Softie

KC has a soft spot for the critters that visit his Miami garden. He has recused a duck, a parrot and feeds countless other animals like this hungry squirrel. 

Miami Green Machine

KC and his gardener Steve Blackburn have conversations about what he'd like to see in the garden each season. As it is Miami, many of the plants thrive year round. "Sometimes he will surprise me with new perennials that we hadn't discussed. So, it's always an adventure to walk through the garden and see what's new," says KC.  

Not Easy Being Green

KC says that the most difficult part of maintaining his Miami tropical paradise is finding the delicate balance of nutrients and water that all the different varieties of plants require.