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Fill the leaf with black color, rotate to any angle, and then place it near the beginning of the branch.

Duplicate the leaf, move the copy to the end of the branch and reduce its size. Select both leaves, then go to Object> Blend> Make (Option / Alt + Cmd / Ctrl + B). Now go to Object> Blend> Blend Options or double click on the Blend Tool (W) icon in the Tools panel and set the appropriate number of steps. Go to Object> Blend> Expand , and then ungroup the objects (Cmd / Ctrl + Shift + G). In the Align panel select the Align to Key Object option, set 0px in the numeric field, then press the Horizontal Distribute Space button. Duplicate and reflect the largest leaf using the Reflect Tool (O). Increase the size of the copy, then place it as shown in the following picture. Using the technique, which has been described in steps 7-9, create leaves on the bottom of a laurel branch. Select all the created objects and save them as Art Brush in the Brushes panel. With the help of the Pen Tool (P) create a curved path similar to the one shown in the following picture. Apply Art Brush to the selected path.

I want to locate larger leaves on the outside of the laurel wreath. Double-click on the Art Brush thumbnail in the Brushes panel. In the opened dialog box, select the Flip Across option. Press OK button, and then Apply to Stroke in the new dialog box. Keeping it selected, go to Object> Path> Expand Appearance. Go to Object> Transform>Reflect …. In the dialog box, select the Vertical option, then press the Copy button. Move the copy a little bit to the right. Select the stem of the right branch, then go to Object> Path> Offset Path …. In the opened dialog box set 3px. Select the new object (for visual purposes it is painted in orange), and the stem of the left branch. Click Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel. Select the entire laurel wreath, go to Object> Compound Path> Make (Cmd / Ctrl + 8). Fill the resulting object with vertical linear gradient – mine consists of yellow and gold colors.