Wow, nice one, better (cleaner) than my attempt!!
The patch is sooo ugly I dare not to post it.
To make them grow, this is what I did, first I made a branch, like you did, and than I figured out on what points to add the leaves, what slices of that branch are the points to attach the leaves. I used some rubish math to get them to the out side of a corner.
Next, just use an animated getslice, and you can let them to grow. I used an I (spreads) and on the ‘to’ pin I used LFO * Spreadcount. Than I send that I (spread) to 2 getslice nodes for XY of the rope. When the LFO * Spreadcount is bigger than the slice I want my leaves to attach, I started the leaves to grow.
Will try to figure this for you tonight.
For animating of the leaves, just wiggle the rotations and Size, since the connection to the branch is fixed it can look cool.