He was father to Nicci Gow of Fresh @ Burcot Garden Centre and was a writer for the horticulture trade press.
Her husband Neil Gow said: "While not known to many in the horticultural retail field of today the work John was doing back in the 1960's, 70's and 80's with growing plants in containers and at Bransford Nurseries set many of the trends still being followed today.
"He was a leading light in the agricultural and horticultural world, being NFU country chairman and setting up one of the first regional HTA groups with Mike Dunnett. Johns' innovative thinking, along with many others like Eddie Topping, Dave Gilchrist and Peter Seabrook still shapes much of what we know today.
"The processes of growing plants to a retail standard needed innovation as well as tenacity and often those processes required 'invention'. That was where Johns' engineering ability also came into play constructing things from four wheel nursery trailers to conveyor belts and sand beds to potting machines."
He wrote Container Plant Manual in 1980.