I know what you mean. Actually I like both pics, first one for the color, second one for the tighter crop. Getting the entire leaf in the frame would probably result in a much less interesting view.
If you just wanted to emphasize the pattern, you did well.
The only problem is that the background is too sharp, which is a side effect of using a WA.
I would have tried to somehow throw the background out of focus, either by using a faster WA wide open or by use of a longer lens (if the situation allows to increase the shooting distance).
I guess the leaf was lying close to the ground, so lifting it a bit to increase the space between leaf and ground would have helped as well.
Another option would be to select the leaf in PS and replace the background but I don't know if this effect would be desirable for you.